Grand Award

Category Custom home, 3,500 to 6,000 square feet
Entrant/Architect Robert M. Gurney, Washington, D.C.
Builder Shelter Associates, Charlottesville, Va.
Interior designer Baron Gurney Interiors, Washington
Landscape architect Campion Landscape Architecture, Annapolis, Md.
Photographer Maxwell MacKenzie

Before the client approached Bob Gurney about building a home on his rural Virginia property, he had already built a barn for his horses there. “He put the barn where I would have put the house,” admits Gurney, describing the challenge of siting a home so it had great views of rolling pastures and woods. The client liked modern but was also fond of the farm vernacular of the Virginia countryside. Gurney responded with a modern, abstract farm house. Familiar forms are present and accounted for, but traditional details are rendered with large glass windows, cement board siding, and yes, a metal roof. The absence of trim sets the house firmly into the modern category, and the past-and-present mix continues in the interior, with quarter-sawn white oak flooring, walnut cabinets, a white marble mantelpiece, and large glass windows (using standard-sized ones helped offset the cost of the millwork and marble).

The traditional-modern combination is one of the most striking aspects of this home, but style isn’t a subject Gurney broaches in initial talks with clients. “We start by asking how the house will be lived in,” he says. “They know they’re getting a modern home, but how it will end up is as much of a surprise for them as it is for me.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.