Mother Earth Living


Yankee Ingenuity: A New England Home

An alternative-energy home in Maine showcases a New Englander’s sense of beauty and self-reliance.



A roaring fire in the living room supplements the home’s in-floor radiant heating. “We love the warmth and atmosphere of our wood fireplaces,” Sally says.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink
Tony and Sally Grassi’s house blends New England tradition with cutting-edge green technology. Run entirely by renewable energy, it fits beautifully into Maine’s coastal ecosystem.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink
Tony and Sally’s antique colonial furniture—including the 18th-century horse weathervane—contrasts with sleek 21st-century steel beams, windows and opaque-glass walls. The hardwood floors are FSC-certified Brazilian cherry with a natural oil finish.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink
Tony and Sally display their collection of early 19th-century whirligigs against an opaque glass wall.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink
Though nestled into the trees, the Grassi house offers gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean. “I love living in a house where looking out at the forest and ocean is part of our daily existence,” Tony says.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink
Maine stonework and firewood from the Grassis’ property give local, country flavor to the modern, energy-efficient kitchen. The countertops are stone, chosen because they’ll last longer than synthetics and can be reused in another home someday.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink
The stable’s sloped roof is the perfect location for photovoltaic panels, which generate much of the electricity needed to power the home’s geothermal pumps and other electrical needs.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink
“We like the design tension between the traditional and the contemporary,” architect Matthew Elliott says. “The glass is a beautiful counterpoint to the home’s historic elements.” The eagle above the dining table is a stern board from an 1830s ship.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink
Hot water for the efficient, tranquil and modern bathroom—with paper-free gypsum on the walls—is supplied free by the geothermal system.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink
Windows on the project room’s southern and eastern sides provide illumination for Sally’s quilting and rug-hooking projects. The Shaker-style storage cabinets are crafted from formaldehyde-free plywood with FSC-certified poplar frames and doors.
Photography By Brian Vanden Brink





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