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To The Island

A comfortable and low-key camp on Moose Pond

By Regina Cole

Photographs by Jeff Roberts

When you set out to build a house on an island, things that may never have occurred to you take on primary importance. For example, just getting materials and workers to and from the site becomes a major logistical challenge, especially during those months when the lake is not frozen.

Portland architect Will Winkelman and his crew resolved that and other challenges to create a low-key, but comfortable camp on a small island in Moose Pond, which is actually a lake in the southwestern part of Maine.

“I was talking to builders, and when I told Henry Banks that the builder would have to construct a barge, his eyes lit up,” said Winkelman, describing his conversation about transportation with Banks, whose firm, H.B. Wood Company, handled the construction. “That’s how I knew that he was the right builder for this project.”

Banks ended up building a custom-designed barge that easily carried people and supplies back and forth.

At a little more than three acres, Wood Island is the only island on Moose Pond in Oxford County. When Winkelman’s clients bought the property, it came with a small boathouse on the mainland, a short boat ride away.

They had a wish list for the project. They wanted a summer camp with a remote and undeveloped feel, but they did not want to go camping. They wanted to leave the island’s large oak trees as undisturbed as possible. The house had to be big enough to provide comfort for friends and family, but they abhorred making a statement with anything that did not look like an unpretentious Maine camp. They wanted it to feel rustic, but they also wanted light and warmth.

“And, the house has to generate its own electricity, since there are no power lines going out to the island,” Winkelman said.

The island, which is heavily wooded, is at the less developed end of the pond, he explained. The owners wanted to make sure that the buildings blended with their surroundings, and they did not want to clear big view-scapes.

“A few trees were taken down to build the house” he said, “but they did not want the house to be baking in the sun.”