Inspiration for this riverside retreat began with a dog-eared photo of an old shucker’s shanty—a simple structure typical of the watermen’s homes and boat sheds that populated the Chesapeake, Md., tidewater region in the 19th century. “It’s your basic Monopoly [board game] house with board-and-batten siding and a gabled roof,” says architect Wayne Good. The contemporary residence that now graces this waterfront lot is an evolution of that aesthetic.
Respect for historic antecedents is particularly apparent on the home’s north façade—a conventional composition of solid whitewashed walls, punched double-hung windows, and pitched roofs. For symmetry and balance, Good specified shutter widths that align with vertical batten siding and the standing seams of a lead-coated copper roof. Tall, skinny windows of the same width connect the front elevation’s two primary volumes with muntin bars spaced 12 inches apart to look like a seamless continuation of the siding.
The same ordered geometry continues in back, although the south elevation flips the solid-to-void ratio, using liberal amounts of 1-inch thermal glass to dissolve the lines between indoors and outdoors. On the first floor, 10-foot-tall glass panels (some movable) flood the interiors with natural light and—thanks to the home’s elevated profile—create the illusion of living spaces that flow right out onto the river’s edge.
Panoramic views up and down the river are further enhanced by a projecting tower structure that creates three distinct experiences. At its base, the tower provides an open, covered pavilion that spills onto a broad ipe deck. Above that, it houses a quiet, enclosed sitting area off the master bedroom. Up top, it’s a crow’s nest (accessible by ladder) affording 270-degree views.
“We wanted to preserve the view on the second and third floors, but we also wanted operable glass in the tower, so we used butted glass corners, but in the center inserted double-hung windows,” Good explains. Continuous use of similar design elements inside and outside furthered a feeling of transparency. Crisp interior millwork meant to resemble the batten siding extends up a central stairwell inset with gridded window panes.
That the shorefront side of the house—and the tower in particular—creates a glowing light box effect at night is no accident. It was designed in homage to the nearby Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, a historic landmark that has served as a maritime beacon since 1825.
CATEGORIES: Home of the Year; Custom one-of-a-kind, 6,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet (grand)
ENTRANT/ARCHITECT: Good Architecture, Annapolis, Md.
BUILDER: Winchester Construction, Crownsville, Md.
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: O’Doherty Group Landscape Architecture, Annapolis