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The design strategy for this weekend retreat on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay was driven by one simple request from the owner: every room must have a view of the water. The site, a small peninsula that projects out into the bay, allows for fully unobstructed 360-degree views.

A single large gable presides over the long rectangular form of the house, which is flanked on either side by porches, and parallels one’s dream of leading a simple existence by the water. The many windows fall into a playful composition of dark and light shadows and give a sense of permeability sensitive to the changing weather and landscape.

The plan is arranged to provide increased privacy as one moves up through the house. The kitchen holds reign as the hierarchical central space of the first floor, and is surrounded on either side by large rooms for different types of entertaining. The second floor is entirely devoted to the more secluded master suite, but also continues the side porches for ideal views. On the third floor, two bedrooms maintain a more remote existence, but are given ample sight to the exterior landscape through windows of various sizes.

Although an entirely new construction, the house’s simplified shape, shingles, extensive porches and window openings are true to its architectural roots in summer homes of an earlier era. Yet even though it speaks to its predecessors, this striking form makes a modern statement on the waterfront, sitting delicately on the land, and embraces the beautiful water that encompasses and protects it.

Weekend House

Talbot County, Maryland

A new private residence on the waterfront.

Photography: ©

Completed: 1999

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