Nice issues can occur once you’re keen to maintain an open thoughts and discover new locations and potentialities. Diane and Paul Hemmersbaugh at all times dreamed of getting a house on the water. He grew up going to lakes in Minnesota, and he or she spent summers on the Maryland seashore. Over time, the pair, who’ve two daughters and stay in Potomac, had visited most of the common trip spots within the area, together with Lake Anna, Deep Creek Lake, the Delaware seashores and the Jap Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
After they bought critical about trying to find a second house of their very own, their prime priorities had been being close to a small city with quick access to retailers and eating places, and being on a sheltered inlet or creek so they may have a pier and a ship. They had been unfamiliar with the Western Shore of the Chesapeake, however Paul had some colleagues with properties there, so that they determined to think about it. With assist from a neighborhood actual property agent, they explored a number of cities and picked Solomons Island in Maryland. “We had been drawn to its attraction, in addition to the proximity to our main residence, which is simply an hour and a half drive door to door,” Diane says.
After they first toured the home that may finally grow to be their weekend retreat, they weren’t impressed. “We had been out and in inside about 5 minutes,” Diane says. The Nineteen Seventies split-level was in its unique state, with previous carpeting and darkish paneling, only a few home windows and little pure mild. On the drive house, they talked about what a disgrace it was that the place was in unhealthy form, as a result of the positioning was nice, a quarter-acre lot overlooking Mill Creek with an attractive water view from a lined rear porch.
They began to brainstorm about adjustments and enhancements they may make to the two,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bath home, and bought excited concerning the prospect of creating it their very own. In spite of everything, their house in Potomac had been a fixer-upper, and Diane realized loads concerning the course of by overseeing the room-by-room renovation. They introduced a trusted contractor right down to see the waterfront home, and he agreed that their concepts had been doable and reasonably priced. They made a suggestion, purchased the place, and the contractor set to work.
The primary and most essential order of enterprise was profiting from the water view. They eliminated two partitions on the primary ground, opening the small kitchen to the residing and eating areas. Then they put in two units of sliding doorways that result in the rear deck, primarily making a wall of glass overlooking the water. “We actually spend a lot of the day on the market,” Diane says. “It’s lovely to look at the native wildlife and the altering mild on the water.”
Diane served as the overall contractor on the venture and the inside designer. She’d at all times had a ardour for design, and several other years in the past, when the decorator she’d been working with on her Potomac home moved away, she completed the venture herself. Household and associates had been impressed, and he or she began to tackle jobs, finally changing into licensed via the New York Institute of Artwork and Design. She transitioned from a profession in public coverage and launched her personal firm, Theo & Co. Design, in 2019.
Her design aim for the holiday house was a heat, informal magnificence with a light-weight, cottagey really feel. Whitewashing the home inside and outside offered an on the spot refresh, and he or she used hints of blue in textiles and equipment all through as a nod to the waterside location. She invested in engineered hardwood flooring for the kitchen and fundamental residing areas, and upgraded to quartz counter tops. “After buying the home, we had a restricted price range for the renovation, so we saved some cash by doing issues like portray the present kitchen cupboards and bed room flooring white, moderately than changing them,” Diane says.
When the work was completed, the Hemmersbaughs had a snug place to spend stress-free weekends alone or with their college-age daughters. On a typical Friday night, they’ll watch for the Beltway site visitors to subside, then hop into the automobile and head down Route 4 towards Solomons. They spend afternoons cruising round Mill Creek or the Patuxent River of their 18-foot Sea Ray bowrider, typically docking at a close-by restaurant for drinks and dinner or heading again to grill and watch the solar set from their dock. “It’s a really low-key, laid-back life-style there,” Diane says. “It’s solely 80 miles away from Washington, D.C., however worlds away from the busy tempo.”
When Joan and Barry Rosenthal discovered the proper web site for a trip house, their first name was to their three grown kids, and the second was to their architect. The Rosenthals have an extended historical past with Stephen Muse. The couple first met the Bethesda-based architect after they received an hour of his time at a faculty fundraiser greater than 30 years in the past. They used the prize to have him redesign a small powder room of their Nineteen Thirties home in Higher Northwest D.C. They favored it a lot that they went on to do two extra, a lot bigger, renovations to the home below Muse’s course. “We belief him,” Joan says. “He will get us, and we get him.”
So when a home on a canal of their most well-liked neighborhood of Henlopen Acres, a comfortable enclave close to Delaware’s Rehoboth Seashore, got here available on the market, the Rosenthals invited Muse to go to and assist them consider the positioning and talk about the chances. All of them agreed that the home was a tear-down, and the positioning was worthy of a brand new customized house. After the Rosenthals bought it, Muse and a colleague spent a number of days there in an intensive work session, observing the situations and the realm, and devising an method to the venture.
The Rosenthals had been very clear concerning the goal of this home. They wished a spot for his or her close-knit household to collect for years to return. To accommodate the rising brood, it wanted to be massive. It additionally wanted to respect the historic character and scale of the neighborhood, so Muse designed the 4,700-square-foot house in two sections—a small construction on the road aspect and a bigger wing behind it, overlooking the canal. The 2 elements are related by a slender two-story part with floor-to-ceiling home windows that comprises the staircase. Muse refers to this part as a “glassy hyphen.”
Within the curiosity of togetherness, the kitchen, eating and residing areas are in a single large room. The first bed room suite is on the identical ground, so the householders have one-level residing when they’re there alone. The second ground is for friends, with 4 bedrooms—every with an en suite rest room—plus a enjoyable bunk room for the grandchildren. “On this home, you’re both with the household, in your bed room, or outdoors,” Muse says.
With the intention to make the 875-square-foot nice room really feel comfy, Muse divided it visually with architectural particulars. The ceiling beams are specified by a three-part grid sample overhead. Heat-toned, domestically milled hickory wooden covers virtually each floor—the partitions, ceiling, window trim and customized cabinetry. “It gave the house a heat feeling and colour with out portray the partitions,” Muse says. The ceiling is provided with small cable lighting, so there was no have to drill holes into the wooden for recessed cans. “With the massive expanse of home windows, the look of that room may be very open and modern,” Joan Rosenthal says.
With a number of folks coming and going, a low-maintenance home was one other prime precedence for the Rosenthals. In the primary room, Muse selected a sturdy ground manufactured from concrete and uncovered mixture stone in a colour that coordinates with the hickory. It stands as much as heavy foot site visitors, is simple to wash and stays cool underfoot in the summertime. It’s outfitted with hydronic radiant heating for consolation within the winter.
Summers are particularly memorable right here for the Rosenthals, their kids and 6 grandchildren, with the cousins convening for holidays stuffed with lengthy sunny days biking to the seashore and crabbing off the dock within the again. “The home simply works rather well for us,” Joan says. Muse can also be happy with the outcome. “It’s a superb feeling once you’ve completed a venture,” he says, “and what you wished to have occur, occurs.”
Like many native households, spending summers on the Delaware shore is a convention for Wealthy and Janet LaFleur. “We’ve been going to Bethany Seashore because the early Eighties, even earlier than we had been married,” Janet says. Within the years that adopted, the Potomac couple and their two younger daughters would spend a number of weeks every summer season in rented condominiums at Sea Colony. “Then 9/11 occurred, and it appeared like a superb time to search for a home,” Wealthy says.
They finally discovered and bought a 30-year-old, not too long ago renovated, one-story cottage in Middlesex Seashore, on the border of Bethany and South Bethany. The placement was good, a five-minute stroll to the seashore and only a mile from the shops and eating places of downtown.
Quick-forward 20 years and the kids are grown and married, the seashore home is now 50 years previous, and the LaFleurs had been spending loads of cash yearly on upkeep and upgrades. “We thought-about renovating it, in addition to razing it and beginning over,” Wealthy says. To assist them resolve, the couple scheduled a session with native builder Marnie Oursler of Marnie Customized Houses in Bethany Seashore.
She schooled them on adjustments to constructing restrictions in a flood zone after Hurricane Sandy. As an illustration, they may solely renovate as much as half the worth of the construction with out elevating the home. “That appeared like we’d be placing a Band-Support on it,” Wealthy says. “With a brand new construct, we wouldn’t be hamstrung by the previous footprint.”
The price of a serious renovation and getting an previous home as much as code could possibly be virtually as a lot as a brand new one, in response to Oursler. “Most of those homes weren’t constructed for year-round residing,” she says. “A 50-year-old home on the seashore will not be the identical as a 50-year-old home within the D.C. space. There’s a distinct commonplace of development.”
With the choice made to begin from scratch, they set to work on the design. Armed with a number of photographs for inspiration, the LaFleurs collaborated with Oursler and Aga Sokolow of Bernardon, an built-in design agency in Wilmington, Delaware. The couple wished a two-story home, outside residing areas and loads of room for his or her kids and their households. “We went from zero to a few grandchildren rapidly throughout COVID,” Janet says. “It’s given us new goal and gotten us fascinated about a brand new era.”
At 4,300 sq. toes, the brand new house takes benefit of the practically half-acre lot. “We don’t get a number of alternatives to construct on an enormous wooded lot,” says Oursler, who usually works on the seashore aspect. An inverted ground plan options the primary residing areas on the highest ground, together with the homeowners’ suite, an workplace, a screened porch, a grill deck, and an exterior staircase resulting in a rooftop deck. “It’s up within the bushes, and really peaceable,” Oursler says.
The intense and ethereal nice room is the guts of the house. The ceiling soars to 17 toes within the middle, due to a “mild monitor,” which is a raised portion of the roofline with clerestory home windows that flood the kitchen, residing and eating rooms with mild.
The 4 visitor suites are on the primary ground. “Ensuring everybody had some privateness was an enormous a part of the design,” Janet says. With three grandchildren below 2 years previous, the home wanted certainly one of Oursler’s signature bunk rooms, outfitted with a pair of built-in bunk beds with an built-in staircase. “The youngsters are too small for it now, however it is going to be an ideal place for them to romp round in a number of years,” Wealthy says. There may be additionally a den/TV room on that stage, so friends have a further place to hang around. “It’s good for people who find themselves awake at odd hours, with infants or little children,” Oursler says.
On the outside, Janet wished clear strains and easy shapes. A big spherical window and horizontal cable railings on the decks are nods to a nautical fashion. The home windows have crisp white trim as an alternative of conventional shutters, and Oursler specified an artificial shingle product known as NuCedar for the cladding. “It appears to be like like pure cedar, however is simpler to take care of,” she says.
Low upkeep means the LaFleurs can spend extra time stress-free, entertaining or constructing sandcastles with the grandkids. They spend as a lot time as they’ll on the new home, as soon as a month within the offseason and each weekend in the summertime. Within the coming years, they envision a house stuffed with family and friends. “We’ve put a number of coronary heart into the planning and constructing course of,” Janet says, “and it was price it.”
Carolyn Weber lives in Silver Spring and often writes about structure and residential design.