Collection by Kelly Dawson

A Traditional Facade Hides A Light-Filled Modern Delaware Renovation


Modern additions and a restoration transform a 2,930-square-foot home.

When a Washington lobbyist sought a vacation house in the small coastal city of Lewes, Delaware, he wanted to relax and entertain in a modern dwelling. As soon as a centrally-located address went on the market, one that had the added benefits of being close to shops and the shore, he took it. But, the house contrasted with his vision: it was a historic, 19th century eyesore. So he turned to architect Robert Gurney and his namesake firm to balance the old with the new. “I feel very strongly that modern architecture can co-exist with traditional architecture,” Gurney said. “In fact, the juxtaposition can make you appreciate the positive attributes of both.” Gurney and his client wanted the original two-story structure to be a prominent feature of the renovation and they agreed on a design that built four new pavilions around the old structure. The pavilions are unquestionably modern—glass and stainless steel are reoccurring elements—but accompanying classic lines soften their details. Now, this home has the best of both worlds, including a brand new swimming pool.

“The existing house was an important house in the heart of the historical district,” architect Robert Gurney said.
“We were required to keep the existing wall, floor and roof framing in the historical house.
Pietra Serena tiles unite the living room, dining room, and kitchen under a mahogany ceiling.
“The client wished to more that double the size of the house,” Gurney said.
A Douglas fir ceiling in the screened porch and red bricks are accented by blue Arizona modular outdoor seating by...
Aside from the master bedroom, there are three additional bedrooms in the house.
This custom glass structure by Ilex Construction allows for an abundance of light during the day.
“In this project, the interior walls and ceilings in the existing historical component are white, and the walls and...
Italian Calacatta Gold marble tiles in the bathroom match an equally pristine Duravit bathtub.
Outdoor lounge chairs by Richard Schultz sit on brick floors.
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