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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
June 2013
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: A Summer Home in Historic Watch Hill, RI

Architectural Firm of the Month: Michael McKinley and Associates, LLC

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Devonian pool patio CA Welcome to the June issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with interesting and informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is a project you would like to share with us, please feel free to contact us and tell us about it. We might feature your project in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter. To learn more about our "high-end" cut-to-size Glacier Blue® Devonian Sandstone products, please click here to visit our website.
Architectural Firm of the Month: Michael McKinley and Associates, LLC

McKinley 1
Photo courtesy Kindra Clineff

Michael McKinley & Associates, LLC is an award winning residential architectural firm located in the seaside village of Stonington, CT. The firm specializes in exceptional coastal homes in seaside communities such as Stonington, CT, Watch Hill, RI , Charlestown, RI, Shelter Harbor, RI and Vero Beach, FL.

The firm offers numerous architectural services including residential architecture, sustainable design, home renovations, coastal property analysis, and permitting. Interior design services include lighting, finish and furniture selection.

Principal Architect, Michael McKinley is a registered architect licensed in: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Florida.
For more Information:

McKinley 2   
Photo courtesy Kindra Clineff


The charming coastal village of Watch Hill, Rhode Island is known for its summer homes and their unique brand of shingle style architecture referred to as Watch Hill Shingle Style. When architect Michael McKinley was asked to renovate an historic home that had been built in 1886, he discovered after a lengthy process of examining the original structure that it would be best to completely rebuild the house instead.

McKinley explains, "The new home was very much inspired by the existing historical home which had been in the family for about sixty years. The original house had undergone a series of changes for the worst which disguised the 1800's shingle style building that was there. Most of its architectural charm was hidden behind aluminum siding and storm windows. The interior had some merit as far as a renovation, so when we first started the project we measured the building pretty carefully and decided that we would do a major renovation inside and out, but that we would keep the structure of the building and the foundation and add to it. As we took the building apart and looked at it through the design, we found that things had been altered so much and were so poorly put back into place that the idea of renovating it would have been much more costly than building it new. Interestingly enough, the old inspired the new with the general feel of the traditional room sizing as opposed to an open plan. That was also the client's preference."

Although McKinley used the plans of the existing historic house, there was no intention of replicating the design of the original structure to create the new one. "That's not something that I set out to do," explains, McKinley. "We haven't set out to do historical architecture and in fact that's not what we want to do, but I think that Watch Hill is a very inspirational place. There are no special requirements or regulations, which is surprising for an area that's on the National Register of Historic Places. We had the freedom to do anything we wanted, so we chose to design the house by putting together a highly orchestrated composition of the best elements of the Watch Hill Shingle Style."

"We found a lot of value in the timelessness of our approach and it turned out to be the next chapter for the house, although it's entirely different on the exterior from what was there. Other than the fact that it is a shingle style house and has very much of a coastal feeling, it really is completely different from the original house. The new home has a lot of second level porches that were set up off of bedrooms to get the magnificent ocean views. One could say that it's connected to the original house. The owners always tell me that people come around and talk to them about it and ask if it's a renovation or if it was an existing house. They ask how long it has been there and they expect to hear maybe eighty or a hundred years, but it's only been there ten years and we take that as a compliment."

One element that is unique to the new house is the circular bay on the far end of the building. McKinley explains, "That took an enormous amount of effort to construct. The builder was drawing on his knowledge of woodworking to build it in a manner where it would not come undone in five years. And that particular element worked very well because we had in shingle style fashion a massive central triangular form of the main house that I think is curiously balanced to one side by the attention that that bay window generates. We used something small, like a very high quality diamond that sparkles and balances the size and complexity of the main house."

Another interesting feature on the exterior of the new house is a deck on the second floor that is held up by two very thick stone columns. McKinley explains, "We wanted to create a protected entertaining space outside that's off the living room. The columns are sizable and massive and pretty much carry forth the monumentality of the main house. The views from the second floor off the master bedroom are extraordinary. The owner goes up there with his telescope where they can see a lot of ocean traffic up and down Long Island Sound. It's a glorious lookout. In the foreground the water line is absolutely beautiful because the house is on a hill and as you look down you see the tidal marches, salt ponds and all the coastal ecology. Then you see the beach. If you're at the level of the beach you don't really see it, but from this deck you can see the coastline and we intentionally wanted to give the owners that perspective."

The design has been very well received by the discerning Watch Hill Community. The "third generation" oceanfront residence was published in Watch Hill Style, a book on the best examples of Watch Hill architecture.  
Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) 

The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), a Knowledge Community of The American Institute of Architects, is committed to the promotion of all residential architecture based on architectural content irrespective of style. For more information visit:  

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community

The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit: 


Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit: 


Architectural Record Continuing Education Center

Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture 

CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit: 

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit: 


The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.





Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

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