A HOMEBUILDER’S HOME. Set on Friendship Long Island in the heart of Maine’s best kept coastal secret, Muscongus Bay: an elegant architect-designed island home built in 1946 by finish carpenters out of local pine, spruce, and fir. Well maintained for 70 years before being discovered and purchased by a period home builder for his own use. Six years of renovation later, this already spectacular island cottage is proudly winter-tight, enjoys the benefits of a house-sized autonomous solar power plant and septic system, and is even more beautiful than before. In keeping with its original low-profile design, its expanded systems allow self-sufficient, low-maintenance island living.
This is a home that professional builders construct for themselves, built by and for fine home carpenters. Every room is filled with finish carpentry detailing. Built-in beds, cabinetry, wall and bed drawers, and bookshelves make every space personal, functional, and considerately elegant. Light, door, cabinet, and window hardware are high-end architectural antiques from Old House Parts. A built-in stereo with multiple-room speakers and hidden wall wiring fills the home with music. The kitchen stove and appliances are restored antiques that perfectly match the home’s interior design. Stained glass windows enhance the sunlight that fills the house.
The home is located two miles by boat from Friendship (population 1,152), a traditional Maine lobstering village at the end of a ten-mile peninsula that juts into Muscongus Bay. Facing westward and perched on solid granite, the home has spectacular 180-degree views of the Bay with its many lobstering fleets, seabirds, and marine wildlife.
The 1,510 sq-ft residence has eight rooms on two levels. The main living room looks over the granite ledges and ocean and is backed by a fieldstone fireplace. In the winter, the home is amply heated by a super-efficient Ideal soapstone and steel woodstove, providing interior warmth all day from a single load of wood. Two bedrooms, kitchen, living room, mudroom, and a full bath are located downstairs. A third bedroom, sewing room, and storage room are located upstairs.
Behind these finish details, the home has also been renovated with modern systems that provide for autonomous electrical power and hot water, wastewater management, mooring and docking for large boats, and comfortable year-round living. The solar system contains photovoltaic panels, house batteries, a commercial Outback charge control system, and a hot water heating system. All of the elegant antique light fixtures have been retrofitted with low-consumption LED lights. The flush toilet is gravity-fed for low maintenance and runs to a newly engineered septic field. The roof, stone chimney, house siding, and insulation have all been renovated or replaced within the last few years.
The property also contains a shop and woodshed, a new boat slipway (for boat storage and storm protection), wooden boardwalks and stone walls, raised-bed gardens with an electric fence (to prevent deer foraging), a composting outhouse, and a stone well with 300 gallons of potable water storage.
Backed by a state land trust, the home’s island location contains miles of foot paths and is home to many wildlife species, including osprey, eagles, deer, mink, porcupines, and foxes. A private stone beach is adjacent to the home. A few minutes away lies a historic granite quarry, now a freshwater summer swimming hole, that provided the stone for Grant’s tomb and New York’s Prospect Bridge.
MORE ABOUT THE LOCALE. Muscongus Bay is a spectacular island-speckled coastal seaway that may be the last remaining unspoiled Maine bay-sized estuary. This is where Captain George Weymouth first made American landfall on May 17, 1605 (15 years before Plymouth was founded), leaving a cross on Allen Island before sailing further down the coast to Cape Cod.
Muscongus Bay is prime Maine lobstering territory. Being well protected and geographically isolated by neighboring peninsulas from Casco and Penobscot Bays, it is off the beaten tourist path despite its proximity to Portland, an hour and a half south. (Acadia is another two hours north.) Muscongus Bay is home to more than 80 islands, including Monhegan, a year-round lobstering and artist community. It also houses the Audubon Society’s natural history educational center, Hog Island, as well as Audubon’s premier puffin restoration site, Eastern Egg Rock. Muscongus Bay lies in the middle of the famed 375-mile-long Maine Island Trail, awarded the “Best Sea Kayaking Trail in the Nation” by Outside Magazine. Unlike other parts of the Maine coast, lobster boats plying the Bay’s waters vastly outnumber recreational vessels.
Friendship, the nearest mainland town, lies in the heart of Muscongus Bay and is a vibrant fishing village that was settled in 1750. Its residents are primarily independent lobster fishermen, though the town also is home to painters, sculptors, and musicians. Authors John Cheever and John Gould lived in the village; Maine writer Elisabeth Ogilvie and the Maine Wyeth family lived in Cushing, the neighboring town.
The property for sale is represented and MLS listed by realtor Kim Newby.