Home Design

This Modern Porch in Rockport Was Once a Crawl Space

Architect Will Ruhl offers a peek at his redesigned oceanside home.


Photo by Graydon Herriott

Will Ruhl purposely bought a ranch in Rockport knowing he was going to renovate it. But in between the time he and his wife made the purchase and started construction, Hurricane Sandy happened—and FEMA requirements changed. So, the architect lifted the house another 4 feet to meet regulations, he says, plus an extra 24 inches to create something new: a porch, carved from what once was the lower crawl space. “Porches have always been important to the original architecture of the area,” Ruhl says.

Used for entertaining and dining in the warmer months, the modern space features a cedar ceiling, built-in furniture including a 16-foot-long dining table made by a friend in New Hampshire, and pieces by Cane-line and Expormim purchased through Casa Design Group. The focal point, though, is a Penobscot Bay porch swing—a favorite of Ruhl’s grandchildren. Its cardinal hue was chosen for the architect’s late grandson, who loved the color red. “His spirit is still around in the space…and there’s a lot of joy [there],” Ruhl adds, even on days when the weather isn’t ideal. “It’s extremely peaceful most of the year.”