Project Summary

Location: Mayo, Maryland

From a charming small cottage to a bigger home! Our client eventually wanted to make this home as their primary residence, so it needed the practicality and functionality for everyday living and as a gathering spot for long weekends and holidays.

The Project

What started out as a renovation project adapted into the construction of a new home. Our clients wanted to modernize a small cottage in Edgewater Mound, outside of Annapolis. The cottage, situated on a lane where other family members also lived, needed an upgrade that would make it useful without making it look out of place. They loved coming here to enjoy the water, and for sailing their boat. Though charming, the cottage was too small. Despite having made some previous updates, they found it wasn’t a place they wanted to stay, even for a weekend, and after using it simply to get changed or lounge after sailing, they would inevitably elect to drive back home rather than sleep overnight there. Their dream was to use it as a weekend vacation spot for a while, but eventually make it their primary residence.

Originally, we planned to renovate the existing structure. But as we discussed it with the clients, and reviewed how they wanted to use the house, our ideas started to change. Rather than serving solely as their residence, they used the cottage as a gathering spot during long weekends and holidays. It was a retreat, on the water, where they kept a sailboat, and enjoyed entertaining guests. They wanted to be able to dock their boat and bring their guests inside, or to host large holiday celebrations. Making it look like part of the landscape was important, while preserving its lovely views of the water.

The Challenge

As we learned how they were going to use the home, we determined that a renovation really wouldn’t bear the practicality they sought. What the property needed was a fresh start, replacing the cottage with a bigger home.

We discussed how it could best blend into the landscape, accommodating for the home site’s slope down towards the water. It would be ideal to keep a very low profile from the front, with more expansiveness on the water-facing side, for a Cape Cod feel. Within this design, they wanted an open floor plan, with the kitchen opening seamlessly to the waterside porch, giving themselves and guests a luxurious indoor-outdoor space. They sought to tie both the exterior and the interior to the landscape through the use of natural materials. The clients also wanted to be able to bring the boat right into the house in the wintertime. They loved sailing and working on the boat.

The Solution

To accommodate the inclined lot, we designed a 5,200-square-foot home. Its front is a low-slung single story while the water side is three stories of glass, with sloped rafter tails to give the roof a softer, curved appeal. The kitchen opens to the back patio, overlooking the water and the glass doors, with zero floor transition, made it a focal point- a great way to have guests and sunlight outside and inside at the same time. By using natural materials like stone, we were able to complement the environment. As a solution for the sailboat, we installed a track system to pull it up from the dock and we actually built a sort of boat garage underneath the house, incorporated into the structure.

In addition, the house got tankless water systems for energy savings. Being ecologically mindful not to create any additional runoff into the bay, we used rain chains and gutters and installed a high-traction but porous driveway material, to carefully route and absorb rainwater.

The End Result

As you pull up to the house, you don’t get the impression that it’s over 5,000 square feet. Rather, it snugs into its environment. But inside, it has all the space they need and all the rooms on the three stories facing the water ensure gorgeous views. That’s really what they were looking for. The project turned out very well and accomplished everything the client sought. Now they can sail their boat and dock it right under their beautiful new home.

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