Damariscotta contractor C.J. Turner broke ground on a parade home in November 2020. He calls the sustainable dream house a “grand cabin” that will be completed and presented to the public next summer.
Turner describes the house as neo-rustic architecture – existing in harmony with its surroundings and blending into the trees. It combines the open feeling of the Montana “Big Sky” style with the aesthetics of paper white birch that he calls “Adirondack Antique.” He wanted to design a home that makes it feel “like you’re camping every day of your life,” he said.
Turner has more than 25 years of experience building high-end homes, including several that were featured in Parade of Homes events in Bozeman, Mont. That experience, along with the concept of parade homes, inspired him to conceptualize and construct his own dream house on a 12-acre property on Robinson Road in Waldoboro.
The first Parade of Homes occurred in Edina, Minn. in 1949. The “scattered-site” home tours featured “idea homes” and collaborations by builders that drew crowds of interested home buyers.
These days, Parade of Homes is a branded event sponsored by businesses associated with the remodeling and construction industries that showcases innovations in art of home building.
Turner is reimagining the concept by limiting the scope to the single building he is constructing. But like a Parade of Homes, the house will be made available for a public viewing on completion, and it does have sponsors. Sherwin Williams and N.C. Hunt Lumber provided paint and materials to Turner at reduced costs.
Coincidentally, the first Parade of Homes event in Maine will be held this October but Turner’s house will not be completed in time to participate.
Turner owns Alpine Contracting Services, LLC. He is a former pro skier who competed in moguls internationally. Skiing took him to Telluride in the 1990s, where he learned the building trade, and then to Montana in 2004, where parade homes are a popular concept.
Turner retired to Maine in 2013. He thinks the value of the house he is building – on completion – will be approximately $500,000, but he does not plan to sell it. Turner plans to live in his “grand cabin” and make Waldoboro his permanent home.
Turner’s primary design focus is sustainability and reuse. The frame and siding will come from trees selected and harvested from woodlands on the property. Rocks found near the house will be repurposed in the construction of the fireplace. And the landscaping will be based on a xeriscape, or drought-tolerant, design that minimizes water usage.
Turner even altered his initial plans after being offered four older Marvin patio doors with transom windows from a remodel in South Bristol.
He wound up designing the whole house around those doors, adding 10 feet to the front of the house. They will be placed on the east gable end, illuminating the primary living spaces of the home.
The house is nestled in an east-west orientation into a stand of trees on a high tract of land. Its placement on the property addresses drainage issues, exposes the front of the house to cooling breezes and morning light, while trees protect the back of the house from the heat of the afternoon sun.
There is no air conditioner in the plans. The house will be heated by a small on-demand propane system which Turner said is very compact and cost effective. Tight layers of insulated panels will line the walls and roof and control the temperature within the home. Large doors and windows will allow the house to breathe.
The floor, made of acid-stained concrete etched with grid lines to make it look like large tiles, has a state-of-the-art radiant technology in-floor heating system.
“It’s cool on the feet in the summer and warm for winters,” Turner said.
Rainwater is collected in gutters and filtered and piped approximately 75 yards to a 1,300 gallon underground cistern. Turner said he believes the system, which costs about a third of the price of digging an artesian well, will fulfill the water needs of the property.
“If we manage it well, Mother Nature will take care of us,” he said.
Inside, the stairway uses one massive log for the stringer to frame 4-inch wide oak steps that lead to the loft area.
“There’s no posting, no secondary stringer. It’s like a stair in the air,” Turner said. “It’s a cool feature that you don’t see very often.”
Turner planned many details of the house to be different from the norm. “There’s no drywall in the house. It’s all natural wood,” he said.
The unstained interior walls will be coated with linseed oil “to make the color incredible.” The ceiling will be crafted from light-colored wood with a pickled, or white-washed, finish. A large birch tree found on the property already lines the inside of the roof ridge.
From the outside, the house will look like a log cabin sided with large pieces of slab hemlock painted a flat “park brown” to protect the house from weather. The chink detailing between the slabs will be a buff color and the trim on the house will be white with forest green accents.
To emphasize the old school rustic look, the wood is circle sawn. Turner said he is fortunate that there are still circle sawmills in Lincoln County, and he emphasized that sawyers Zach White of Waldoboro and Willis Libby of Nobleboro have been integral to the process of getting the house built.
Turner said he has a really good core team of independent contractors involved with the project.
“I’m super fortunate to have people into this and excited about it,” he said.
White and his son Josiah are the lead carpenters. Ken Smith is his “mechanical guy” who takes care of the wiring. Dan Roy of Whitefield did the computer-aided design, or CAD, work for the building, based on Turner’s design.
But Turner calls his Bobcat the “MVP”. “We use it every single day, moving 500-pound timbers, shoveling material.” He even adapted it for use as a lift.
Turner lives on the property now, in a Davis Tent, a durable and weather resistant canvas wall tent that will remain a permanent fixture for future use as a guest house. Being on site allows him to “roll into the day.” He’s limited other projects to give his attention to this one. “It requires a focus. You can’t be fragmented,” he said.
Turner enjoys watching his vision of sustainability come to life. “I love looking at it from the meadow, the east gable end, with its soaring height and beautiful windows.”
He likes the wild flowers, the thriving forest. He said he found his cattle dog, Lucky, “chatting in the field with a deer one morning.”
“I feel very fortunate to have stewardship of this property,” he said. “It’s perfect. I just want to hug my house.”