Earlier this year I wrote about how the architectural firm Atelier 11’s development projects began the revitalization of the East End. Their first venture was the design and construction of their own architectural office on an Aurora Street vacant lot. Since that time, at least seventeen other new or renovated properties, either of their own design or residents’ investment in their properties have built upon that revitalization that continues today.
Atelier 11 designed and built two new houses on lots near their building to knit the streetscape back together and this charming house was one of them. The house’s length faces the street to maximize the rear yard area and the main floor is set several steps above the sidewalk for privacy. Brick paved off-street parking is a plus in this urban neighborhood of narrow one-way side streets. Glass block inserted into the brick faced foundation wall adds light to the basement and the vertical board and batten siding accentuates the height of the house, broken by a trim band at the second floor level and the cornice board below the eave. At each gable end, the lap siding replaces the board and batten for greater architectural interest.
I was very impressed with the variety of spaces to enjoy the outdoors. A brick path leads from the parking area and first passes the gate in the fence to the open flagstone terrace. The brick path continues to the steps up to the main floor deck that then connects to the screened porch overlooking the rear yard. The second floor deck above the screened porch offers a bird’s eye view of the property and the pergola framework gives a wonderful sense of enclosure to the deck. I loved the detailing of the decks’ railings with the upside-down arrowhead design of vertical slats with a circle inserted for a contemporary flair. At the main floor level, the railing incorporates a wrap-around seat; at the upper deck, the railing provides seated privacy.
Like many of its older neighbors in the Historic District, the house is one room deep with windows on all sides that creates interior rooms filled with daylight throughout the day. Most of all, I loved the masterful play of light on the second floor deck. The railing with minimal spacing between the vertical slats casts shadows of circles and thin lines on the deck floor, the horizontal beam supports cast diagonal shadows on the house’s rear wall and the horizontal framing members above the main pergola joists add their layer of shadow on the house’s rear wall with its slight jump over the vertical board and batten siding whose dimension adds another layer of shadow.
The floor plan works very well with the stairs to the basement and the upper floors located at the rear of the house to create minimum hallways to maximize the living area on each floor. The main floor has a living room at one end and the kitchen-dining at the other end with the powder room and closet separating the spaces. Both the living room and the dining area have wrap-around windows for broad views of the rear yard. The second floor has the master bedroom and another bedroom at each end and in between is a large bath and third bedroom. The third floor is one splendid open space filled with light from windows on all four walls, from round windows inserted into triangular dormers, two other windows in a shed dormer and single windows at each gable. The sloped side ceilings meet in the middle flat area below the collar beam for great interior architecture that would inspire myriad uses.
Great design with more outdoor spaces than most urban houses of its size, charming architectural style that complements the neighborhood’s older houses, a floor plan for today’s lifestyle. Design matters-bravo to the architects!
For details about this property, contact Kelly Showell with Benson & Mangold, LLC at 410-822-1415 (o), 410-829-5468 (c), email@example.com, or bensoldandmangold.com/agents/kelly-showell, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.
Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.
Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.