A project 30 years in the making, this tiny off-grid retreat on a coastal island in Maine is almost entirely self-sufficient. Designed and built by Alex Porter for her father, the project features a shed roof and is wrapped in a distinctive blue-grey corrugated skin. Dwell recently profiled the home, which is the only solar-powered retreat on the isolated island – its sustainable power source actually makes life a lot more leisurely, as the family does not need to schlep in fuel to run a noisy generator. They didn’t give anything up, as they have all the conveniences of a regular home — but with a view you don’t get in an everyday residence.

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The house is situated on a tiny sleeve of rock tucked close to the water. The sturdy steel cladding was chosen for a good reason: the northern squall can be relentless. The cabin has a series of rolling storm panels that ward off the elements. When the sun shines, a small solar-electric panel mounted to the southern facing roof feeds 12v DC to the batteries, which in turn powers lights, a super efficient Sunfrost Refrigerator, and a small water pump. A large rainwater catchment tank provides more than enough water for the home, and a small on-demand water heater supplies an outdoor shower and the sink.

Photos by Eirick Johnson

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Given the remote location of the property and the site’s lack of power, the design made careful use of all materials so that everything is spaced on 24-inch centers. Most of the finishing materials were sourced locally and floated in. One big question remains — what to do when you need to use the loo? A Sun-Mar composting toilet does the job, transforming the waste into fertilizer. While none of the systems are ground-breaking, the design is a transparent example of how well off-grid living can work, and how we can live in nature without polluting it.

+ Alex Scott Porter Design

Via Dwell

Photos by Eirick Johnson