CASCO — Browse the real estate pages of any newspaper and you’ll see lots of homes advertised as “open concept.”
Usually this means the kitchen, dining and living areas are open to one another. Or that the rooms sort of flow into each other without doors.
But Scott Plummer designed his house in South Casco near Thomas Pond as an “open concept” residence in the most literal sense of the phrase.
You walk into the first floor and quickly realize it’s one room, about 60 feet long and 22 feet wide. There’s a bed at one end, then there’s the kitchen, and a couple of different living areas. There are a dozen or more windows, mostly on one of the long sides of the house, and at the two ends.
The only visible interior wall is the one that shields the bathroom from prying eyes. The room feels even bigger, because the ceilings are about 12 feet high.
The daylight basement, which has a bank of eight windows lining one wall, is also basically one big room. There is another bathroom at one end. So Plummer has 2,400 square feet of living space, divided into two rooms and two baths.
“I just think differently about things, I guess,” said Plummer, 53, who designed his house and was the contractor for it when it was built about five years ago. “I really wanted it open. I had lived in houses with small rooms, and I wanted something different.”
Plummer designed and sold kitchens for a living until recently, so he put his design skills to use on his house.
He’s also a big fan of the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and drew some inspiration from him. The low profile of the roofline, the banks of windows, and the little curved metal eyebrow at one end of the house are nods to Wright. So is the sleek, modern look Plummer achieved on one side of the house by using galvanized metal roofing panels as siding.
At one end of the living space is a nook that’s a little bigger than a sofa, with seven windows grouped together and a string of six tiny overhead lights hanging from a ceiling-high wire. Outside the house, the custom-made metal “eyebrow” — a low-profile arch, really — punctuates the nook.
Plummer, who is single and lives alone, knows the house he designed is not for everyone. But he hopes that if he ever tries to sell it, he’ll find at least a few like-minded buyers out there.
“It would have to be somebody who likes open space,” he said.
Plummer spent about $160,000, including the price of land, to build his house. The land wasn’t very expensive because even though he’s near Thomas Pond, he’s not on it or within sight of it. And Plummer is a lover of bargains and using things others might want to get rid of.
Because of his experience designing kitchens for Hancock Lumber, Plummer knows where to get good deals. Some of the materials in his kitchen, such as the cabinets, were custom-made but didn’t come out exactly to the customer’s specifications, so Plummer was able to get a good price on them.
So good in fact, that he has three sets of kitchen countertops and cabinets in his house. One is in his shed workshop and is used as a tool bench. One is in the basement, near the washer and dryer.
The other set is in his actual kitchen. That one has a stainless steel countertop that had been on display in a kitchen store.
“You can see where it got all scratched up from people running their rings along it,” said Plummer. “But I buffed it to the point where they are not that visible. It gives it character.”
Not to mention a reduced price for Plummer.
Plummer got much of his furniture for little or no cost. He picked up two very cool Art Deco-looking chairs, with rounded arms, for free because the upholstery was in tatters. He had them re-upholstered with car fabric, because he likes the look and finds it more durable and easy to clean. He has several other pieces done in auto upholstery as well.
The interior of the home is painted a light shade of gray called “rock candy” that is very easy on the eye. Besides the natural light, all the lighting in the house is soft and meant to light small spaces. There are no glaring overhead lights, but there are two shiny silver ceiling fans, which look vaguely like aircraft propellers, to draw one’s eye up high.
One of the light fixtures in the kitchen is a light and shade suspended by a refrigerator coil, which still has some very pronounced kinks. It looks a little like a sculpture because of that. Most of the lights are on dimmers. The double-celluloid shades on the windows let in some light when closed, but are great at keeping heat in.
In the basement, which has a lot of natural light thanks to a bank of eight windows grouped together, Plummer has a small office space. He’s using that space to study for his Certified Nursing Assistant certificate, and hopes to find a job at a nursing facility, where he can help people.
Over the years, Plummer has often traveled to take part in disaster relief efforts, specifically the clean-up after a tornado. He finds out who is heading relief efforts, calls, and then flies out to where the help is needed.
“The spirit of the people in places like that is incredible,” said Plummer, who says that sometimes he feels guilty about having such a large house all to himself. “I get so much out of working with those people.”
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: