Remote Maine Retreat

June 28, 2022

An off-the-beaten-path Maine home makes an idyllic spot for fishing and soaking in the sunsets.

Text by Lisa H. Speidel    Photography by William Abranowicz/Art + Commerce

An online search led Pat and Jodi Maley to architect Michael Imber, but Google couldn’t have predicted how much they’d have in common. Home base for all three is Texas (Austin for the Maleys, San Antonio for Imber). And they all view Maine as a special retreat (Imber has a place in Vinalhaven, and the Maleys were looking to build a vacation spot in Greenville).

When Imber visited the property, 150 acres on Moosehead Lake with 8,000 feet of shore frontage, the magic of the remote location was quickly revealed. “Pat took me salmon fishing, then we went back to an old camp on the site and discussed their vision over a bottle of Caymus,” remembers Imber. “I spent the night there with the windows open, the
sound of the waves lapping at the shore, and had the most peaceful sleep I’ve
ever had.”

Pat sums up the couple’s vision succinctly: “We wanted a lake lodge that blended into its surroundings and complemented the property.” Imber and project manager Mac White obliged with a 4,250-square-foot house inspired by old coastal camps. On approach it reads as an intimate single-story house clad in white-cedar shakes with a low-slung roof. On the lakeside, the lower-level walk-out fabricated with stone excavated from the site hunkers into the hillside. Inside, exposed reclaimed oak and ash timber framing, butternut walls, and local-stone flooring in the foyer reinforce the aesthetic.

Executing this level of craftsmanship was no easy task—note that the horizontal grooves in the interior paneling align perfectly throughout the house. Builder Nate Holyoke not only delivered on that front but also deftly handled the challenges that come with a far-flung location: navigating a four-mile dirt road to reach the property and dealing with mud season and temps that dip to minus seventeen in February. It became common to bring in crews and materials via floatplane or snowmobiles. Holyoke estimates that his crew built thirty percent of the house at his shop—“It’s like Santa’s workshop, on steroids,” he says—and then trucked it to the site.

The serene escape the Maleys now enjoy belies all of this behind-the-scenes work. With crisp Scandinavian-inspired interiors designed by Jodi, and a beautiful wraparound porch that captures stunning sunsets, there are many special places to enjoy a glass of wine—and, perhaps, a dinner of locally caught salmon.

Project Team
Architecture: Michael Imber, Mac White, Michael G. Imber Architects
Builder: Nate Holyoke, Nate Holyoke Builder

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