The Shepherdstown weekend home of a DC couple, burned down one weekend two winters ago. Fortunately nobody was hurt. The owners decided to rebuild a modern home on a different portion of the lot, which would provide a nicer view. A family friend came up with a basic floor plan but had little knowledge of building codes or construction techniques. I was given her conceptual drawings by the builder, Steve Harris, and had to figure out how to actually design the building to get the interior spaces, and the outdoor aesthetic, that the homeowners wanted.
Many of the design decisions here (such as the multiple columns inside, the window and door sizes and locations, the kitchen layout, and the window in the chimney), were made by the family friend. Sometimes my role in the project process is more practical, less creative -- in this job I was the person who came up with solutions to design problems that didn't meet building codes. Ultimately if the homeowners are happy then I did my job correctly. And these homeowners are very happy with the final product. They spend lots of time on the upper deck which overlooks the slope toward the tennis courts and the Potomac River beyond.
Every time these clients sent me new photos of their custom home under construction on the Shenandoah I gave myself a mental high-five. I designed this home based on two pictures of timber-framed homes they liked, plus a very conceptual floor plan sketch they'd done just to figure out which rooms were adjacent to each other. It's come together beautifully and I will be adding more "after" photos after I see it for myself, all furnished and decorated. Rustic elegance.
"During" photos, spanning a year of construction
Timber-framed homes are expensive, but these clients wanted to duplicate this look on a budget. I designed these timber accents for a few of the house gables. Michael Taylor built them in his shop, along with those load-bearing brackets you saw on the tower, for the balcony. Here are their halves, ready for hanging.
A few "after" photos (more to come)
This home was designed for a retired couple in Shepherdstown and their two sweet dogs. The husband is a chef, so there are pocket doors between the formal and informal zones, practical for dinner parties. Main living space is all on the first floor, while guest bedrooms and baths are in the daylight basement. Plentiful sheltered outdoor living space combined with long lines of sight make this home feel much larger than it actually is.