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The construction was sensitive to the cottage's environment, so waste had to be kept to a minimum, and few changes were made to the house's exterior. Most of the renovations were designed to keep the house within the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) flood code. Vents had to be able to handle flood waters by equalizing water pressure all around the structure, wood had to be rotproof and all electrical services had to be installed at least 3 feet off the floor.
Of course, the potential for flooding made choosing furniture difficult as well. Simple pieces with limited upholstery proved to be the best bet. To stay within the budget, the concrete floors were stained instead of covered with tile, timbers were left unfinished and the existing stone walls were simply cleaned.
An iron rod around the living room roof was installed to secure the roof to the walls during rough weather. "A structural necessity became an opportunity for a modern decorative element," says Nelson.
Paintings: Kim Villard; pillows: On Board Fabrics
FEMA requirements made the design and practicality of these main downstairs living spaces especially complicated, forcing Knickerbocker Group to get creative with materials and installation.
The clients wanted larger, more private bedrooms — a big change from the home where they raised their seven children. These rooms were kept simple and light, with antique furniture that reflects the home's roots. White linen bedding looks crisp and clean against the rough stone walls.
Bed: Maine Cottage; shade: Creative Canvas
Few changes were made to the surrounding property, since rough weather could potentially destroy any landscaping. Nelson and his team did make some enhancements to the rock formations around the house, though, creating stone terracing, stairs and a bonfire pit with boulder seating.