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Collection by Kelly Dawson

Splashes of Color Enliven an Abstract Painter's Crisp White Home

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Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.

For more than 20 years, a small French Colonial fell short of its potential on a secluded Maryland estuary known as “Solitude Creek.” It didn't take advantage of the waterside views just beyond its door, and if anything, the water had the upper hand: previous floods had rotted wood and spurred the growth of mold. But despite the property’s disrepair, a couple saw what it could become. They partnered with Robert Gurney, FAIA, and project architect Kara McHone to construct a house that better suited its surroundings. First, the architects had to meet the most prominent code violation: the new home had to be built above a base-flood elevation. “We were required to build on the existing rectangular-shaped foundation,” Gurney says. “If we altered or increased the size of the existing foundation, we would have not been able to build near the water.” Gurney and the team scrapped the original structure and increased its base height by two feet. Then, the architects brought in windows—lots of them. The owners asked for light-filled spaces where they could display artwork, since one is an abstract painter. But they also wanted to take in the setting as it always should have been seen.

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