Cozy Off Grid Solar Retreat in Maine


Of all the beautiful homes in the most recent issue of Dwell, I must say this one made the greatest impression on me.  In “Worth the Wait,” Amber Bravo writes about The Porter Cottage in Ragged Island, Maine.  The self-sufficient home – roughly 480 square feet including a screen porch – is both off-pipe and off-grid and made with durable and green materials.


The owner, Bruce Porter, is a journalist and retired professor of Columbia University, while the architect, Alex Scott Porter, is the owner’s daughter.  Together with contractor Josh Howell, the team was able to see this tiny house to completion while including some innovative elements.

The Portage Cottage has four photovoltaic panels, large capacity batteries, a 525-gallon cistern, rainwater catchment, a graywater system, an outdoor shower, a composting toilet, a DC-powered solar refrigerator, and a on-demand water heater.

Aluminum covers the exterior and, when the owner is away, windows and doors can be protected with corrugated aluminum panels.  Clerestory windows provide natural ventilation and the standing seam metal roof is sure to weather several seasons.

Inside, the walls have unfinished northeastern wood, the cabinets are made with a recycled plastic laminate, and the hearth is made with local beach stones.  The interior is simple but not Spartan.  There are CB2 Lubi Daybeds, Arper Leaf chairs, and exposed CFL lights – complementary details that make the place seem worth the retreat.




[+] Read more about The Porter Cottage in Dwell.

Credits: Eirick Johnson; more at Alex Scott Porter Design.

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  • Nick

    I would love to have a home like this.

  • Limacatz

    What is the brand of pot belly stove and fridge you used? I like the look of both. And can you show the closet and bathroom areas. Did you use compost toilet? Solar water heating? Thanks. It’s a beautiful little home.

    • Joe Bentley

      Limacatz – the stove is a Morso brand, I think it’s a model 1410. They are a wonderful company that makes old fashioned wood burning stoves out of 98% recycled material.

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  • Jessica Janes

     This is a such a charming and efficient design.  Would love to have one in the mountains of Idaho. 

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