The three year collaboration between the owners, one of whom is a landscape architect, and their architect began with a detailed site analysis of the four-acre site on the east side of Caulk’s Cove. Site considerations were carefully studied including the sun’s path from the rising sun to the setting sun, prevailing winds, primary and secondary views of the landscape and water, marsh boundaries, setbacks, drainage and approach from the street.
These site design elements were then combined with the owners’ program of spaces they desired to begin testing and refining design ideas to delineate the area for the house’s footprint. Each room’s function and their interdependent relationships with other rooms, the landscape and water were studied and soon a footprint began to emerge with the house being angled on the site to maximize water views from as many rooms as possible. The main floor center hall plan has a spacious entrance hall/circulation core with the front door diagonally across from the floating staircase with a tower enclosure topped with a sloped roof of skylights to filter sunlight into the spaces on both floors.
The entrance hall separates the open plan living-dining-kitchen-breakfast area- screened porch from the master bedroom suite and two guest bedrooms, a shared bath, powder room and laundry behind the three-car garage. The second floor has two additional guest bedrooms, two baths and a game/media/exercise room that spans the length of the rear waterside elevation.
Not surprising for a landscape architect, outdoor rooms were crucial to the program. The second floor has a corner rooftop terrace with comfortable rattan cushioned furnishings that has become a favorite family gathering place. The thin horizontal steel cable railing with a wood cap virtually disappears into the landscape and panoramic views of the water. The wrap-around terrace ends at the circulation tower with a partially roofed area that extends from the circulation tower to the stone chimney for a shady spot to stretch out on a chaise with a good book. The owner planted a mimosa tree at the corner of the terrace below and the tree provides both shade for the terrace and the view from above of its wide canopy and beautiful fragrant blooms.
The approach to the house begins with a curved gravel drive past a one-story guest house that the owners first renovated as their temporary home and now is a much coveted guest house. The owner carefully selected hardscape and landscape to enhance the existing site and for privacy from the street. I admired the transition of hardscape textures from the gravel drive to a meandering bluestone path to the front door. Prairie Grasses and Sweet Gum Silhouette trees edge the path. As a native Tennessean, I was pleased to see the large individual Tennessee stone pavers that led from the bluestone path to the lawn and water. At the rear of the house, large boulders edge a raised stone terrace at one corner next to a gravel terrace that wraps around the house to the outdoor fireplace area whose chimney soars above the second floor roof level and is positioned perpendicular to the circulation tower for clever massing.
The theme of materials, texture and color is incorporated into the exterior and interior. Stunning stacked stone walls surround the front entry doors and stone vertical supports for the floor to ceiling glass on the main level. The pattern of the stacked stone around the entry has random courses of thin stone to contrast with the primarily square stones that seamlessly fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. The outside corner stone pieces were carved into “L” shapes to eliminate a corner seam for a continuous wrap-around look.
Tennessee stone was repeated for the window sills and the horizontal cementitious siding in a warm true taupe color complements the colors of the stone and the slate blue metal roofing adds contrast. The composition of horizontal Prairie lines are combined with Modernist touches of the sloped rear wall of the second floor game room, single sloped roofs, cable handrails and the front entry doors. I loved how the entry wood doors’ five pairs of small glass textured glass filters sunlight in while maintaining privacy and the height of the glass seemed to be identical to the height of the wood treads on the floating stair.
The owners’ imaginative interiors are their own design and so many clever details, finishes and furnishings caught my eye. The stacked stone wall opposite the stairs to the second floor has three niches for display. The powder room has several wire baskets with mirrored bases that are attached to the walls not only for artistic effect but also for storage. One becomes a mirror over the lavatory with lavatory with its wood base and a thick stone lavatory bowl. The kitchen, strategically placed between the breakfast area and screened porch on one side and the living and dining areas on the other side has a delectable countertop with deep brown veins that reminded me of fudge that had just been poured and set. The owners enjoy finding treasures as accents and one piece of driftwood resembling a sailboat now has a new life as a clever light fixture over the dining table. I also loved the sinuous lines of the thick artisan wood bedframe in the master bedroom and the curvature of the upholstered Italian styled modular seating tucked under the floating stairs was quite inviting where one could witness all the action.
Wonderful collaboration of site, architecture, interior architecture and the owners’ creative interior design-Bravo!
Architecture by the Kezlo Group LLC of Annapolis, Principal Jason Winters, AIA, LEED BD +C, 844-495-3956 x 701, www.kezlo.com Landscape Architecture by SURROUNDS, Landscape Architecture and Construction, Sterling, VA, 703-430-6001, www.surroundslandscaping.com
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.