The Winslow Homer Studio has been selected by the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts as a Build New England Award Winner.
From 1883 until his death in 1910 Winslow Homer spent his days in a studio overlooking the sea in Prouts Neck, Maine. Homer commissioned John Calvin Stephens, a friend as well as one of the most innovative and talented shingle-style architects of the period, to create a habitable home. Stephens re-sited the small building, formerly a carriage house, to an overlook about 150 yards from the open ocean and added a covered “piazza” at the second floor that commanded sweeping views of the rocky coastline and the sea beyond. While living and working in this carefully crafted home and studio during all seasons, Homer created such inspiring masterworks as “Early Morning After a Storm”, “Fox Hunt”, “The Gulf Stream”, and “Weatherbeaten”.
The Portland Museum of Art purchased the Winslow Homer Studio in 2006 after it had experienced decades of varying degrees of neglect. Mills Whitaker Architects was hired to provide design services while Marc Truant & Associates provided preconstruction and general contracting services.
Special care was taken with the historic fabric of the building, from the removal and replacement of each floorboard to the careful preservation of Winslow Homer’s “graffiti” and window etchings. Local craftsmen and vendors provided world-class preservation work, as well as custom-designed details and locally-sourced materials to recreate the Studio as it was when Homer stood at the window of his painting room, looking out at the sea. Modern electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and extensive security and communications systems had to be integrated into this iconic structure without distracting from its history. This was achieved by using a thin steel structure that mirrored the existing roof, creating an interstitial space to conceal the modern systems.
The Winslow Homer Studio restoration was completed with zero hours lost to injury and no accidents. This 100% safety record is a testament to the project team’s dedication to their common goal – restoring Winslow Homer’s presence to a National Historic Landmark and an icon for the art community, and giving visitors a chance to stand at the same window where Homer stood looking out at the power, beauty, and peril of the sea.