Located at the southern tip of the DelMarVa peninsula in Cape Charles, Virginia, this stunning piece of property on the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay has a history that goes back to the 17th century, when the first Colonial settlers here and across the bay in Williamsburg were building homes with brick that had been used as ballast in ships coming over from England.
The owners of this new home wanted a design that was firmly rooted in the Virginia tidewater tradition, settled into its land as if it had been there from the beginning. We looked for inspiration in the area’s historic buildings. Unlike “urban” settings such as Williamsburg, waterfront homes were usually one room deep to allow for ample cross ventilation in the warmer climates; they had porches for shade, and high ceilings for the hot air to rise.
We incorporated all these elements—in addition to traditional trim and molding inside—for our clients who desired a retirement home after careers traveling the globe for a multi-national corporation. They had collected furniture and art on their travels for more than 25 years, so they worked with designer Barry Dixon to incorporate it into the interiors, while we designed a main central structure made of brick, with side “additions” in wood siding so it would like the home was expanded over time.
As another nod to Colonial times, we constructed a detached brick chimney on one of those extensions. Back then, detached chimneys were necessary in the event of a chimney fire so the house wouldn’t burn down. Today, it makes for a lovely architectural detail.
Finally, we sited the house among the trees, creating a filtered view of the water on three sides, so the home feels like it evolved along with the property. Now this couple is proud to have their children and grandchildren here for the long summers, creating a new history of their own on this storied peninsula.