Featured, Maine Dream Homes, Shelter & Design

A Savage Crescendo

This 1890 Northeast Harbor cottage stuns with the art of cloak and reveal.

By Colin W. Sargent

FM19-HIGH_FermataWaves carry music and memory. Harold Randolph was just 29 years old when he commissioned architect Fred Savage to design Northeast Harbor’s “Fermata,” which denotes a break in a piece of music. Virtuoso pianist Randolph was a master of such dramatic silences. On December 20, 1902, he swept the audience away at Boston Symphony with his rendition of Tschaikowsky’s Pianoforte Concerto No. 1, in B-flat minor. Imagine being there:

“Have you seen his ‘Fermata’ in Maine?” a concertgoer whispers.

“I haven’t just seen it,” her friend replies behind her fan. “I’ve had the tour.”


Now you can, too. Fermata is on the market for $4.3M. The mansion is quiet as you approach it from the street. But when visitors enter 65 Harborside Road for a social gathering, the music gathers and booms on the shore.

“The understated exterior presentation doesn’t ‘tip the hat’ to what lies beyond the front door,” says local architect Gregory Scott. “The use of the jerkin-head dormer further diminishes the apparent height and pretense of a large cottage beyond.” It also keeps the house neatly tucked in, safe from the harbor’s high winds.

Talk about prelude to a thrill. “The strategy of ‘cover and reveal’ is what we refer to as ‘compression and expansion.’ It’s an old design technique–the ceiling height expands by either stepping down several risers or raising the ceiling several feet,” Scott says. “Fermata does the former very successfully—stepping down into the space… providing clarity and unobstructed views to the harbor beyond” through windows and vertical echelons of porches: “A perfect and powerful setting for any and all human emotion; from contemplation to celebration and everything in-between.”

Two kitchens, seven bedrooms, and seven baths spell luxury. A treetop bald eagles’ nest at window level puts wildlife theater on stage. A soaring granite fireplace enchants, while the salon engages the sea with such immediacy it leaves you breathless.

Fermata is a tour de force. 

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