At Home on the Water

an old oyster-processing plant becomes a weekend retreat

Situated on a narrow spit of land that curls gently into the Chesapeake Bay, this stellar weekend retreat occupies the footprint of an old oyster-processing plant.

Project Type:
interior and exterior renovation and additions

Distinguishing Fact:
house is secured by 105 wood pilings driven 35 feet into the earth

steel bracing, terne-coated steel roof, cedar shingle siding, hurricane-rated glass, mahogany railings

At once both contemporary and industrial, the dramatic structure is securely in place thanks to 105 wood pilings which were driven 35 feet down into the earth. The critically-acclaimed house is divided into two spaces — one public and one private — which are connected by a glass bridge. A shed-roofed pavilion featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls holds the public spaces. The home’s other half contains the bedrooms and is topped by a pitched roof with a clerestory.

In order to ensure stability and protection even in the most extreme weather conditions, the house was constructed of durable, long-lasting materials including steel bracing, terne-coated steel roofs, cedar shingle siding, and hurricane-rated glass. Exposed rafter tails and steel chimneys lend a utilitarian, industrial look, while luxurious touches such as mahogany railings and mitered cabinetry infuse richness and warmth. Blue-tinted LED upright lights dramatically illuminate the exterior at night.

Local regulations stipulated that additional buildings be located at least 100 feet away from the coastline, so the home’s two garages create an unusual entryway to a 375-foot-long access bridge that traverses wetlands and a shallow tidal pond before arriving at the house. For those visiting by boat, a five-slip dock is connected to the house by a boardwalk.

River's Edge

a stately 19th century colonial becomes a light-filled getaway

Transformed Virginia Winery

an expedited renovation in time for the next wine season