The Castle Street Cottages were born of their context. Situated on a hill looking out to the harbor and up to the main street to the west, the cottages draw their inspiration from both the workers’ cottages and the grander homes of this “Hill and Harbor District”. They represent an appropriate, but extremely creative solution to the challenge of situating a multi-unit project in an historic neighborhood of single-family cottages. Added to the intrinsic efficiency of compact units, and a relatively high density, the inclusion of 2 units deed-restricted to people with low and moderate incomes ensures this is affordable to many.
Because much of the site was elevated from Castle Street, the most prominent theme of the site design is the grand steps which lead up to the shared courtyard. These steps solve the grade issue while providing a fitting and impressive “address” on Castle Street for this pocket neighborhood. Contrasted with the monumental scale of the steps is the intimate scale of both the cottages themselves and the beautiful courtyard they share. Taken together the outdoor kitchen, perfectly-scaled gathering spaces, and front porches of the highly efficient homes themselves, make a place where neighborliness is not taken for granted.
The landscape of the Castle Street Cottages creates an ambiance of timelessness and community. From hardscape materials to plant selections all of the elements create a welcoming mood of quiet elegance. Within the private garden courtyard six themed “mini-venues” are arranged for use individually or combined for social gatherings. First among the “mini-venues” is a fully equipped summer kitchen that includes a very special pizza oven. Overhead, the roofed pergola allows for using the kitchen facilities even when a thunderstorm happens by. Adjacent to the summer kitchen and dining area is a fireplace and TV positioned for afternoon and evening viewing from chairs placed on cooling turf.
Across the central circulation path from the fireplace lawn a curved bench circles around an ‘Emerald Vase’ Elm to provide a shady gathering spot for meeting casually. And next to that is a nautically-themed sunken conversation pit just right for reading the Sunday paper and sipping a flavorful coffee.
Heading back toward the summer kitchen, Adirondack chairs invite sitting around an unusual “fire urn”, a new take on a traditional fire pit. Finally, the cocktail table – protected by a broad umbrella – is just the spot for discovering and absorbing all of the surrounding details.
Trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers have been chosen to respect the intimate scale of the area while providing four-season color and textural interest. The informal landscape of the Castle Street Cottages is intended to enrich a relaxing lifestyle befitting owners who value a refined but carefree standard of living.
As the gardens of the Castle Street Cottages mature, Owners will realize an oasis-like value for the whole property as well as for each individual resident.