Located in Rappahannock County, Virginia, near Little Washington, the site has
sweeping views of the surrounding mountains - most notably the Blue Ridge Mountains in
the Shenandoah National Park. Other mountains are visible - especially if viewing is from
an elevated position. The Owners purchased the property primarily for its unobstructed
panoramas. The existing house, to them, needed many improvements.
After developing preliminary designs to fix the existing house and some cost analysis, the
Owners determined they would get more for less if they built a new residence in order to
meet their goals.
Instead of filling a landfill with construction debris, the Sperryville Volunteer Fire
department were offered the building as a donation to use as live training for the
firefighters. The fire happened on a weekend night with a number of Owner’s friends,
neighbors and fire fighters witnessing the spectacle.
The Project Solution:
The design of the new house takes cues from historic local structures (including slave
houses, barns, lookout tower and nearby Montpellier), the surrounding mountains, the
existing pool and the climate. Two rectangular forms, one floating perpendicularly and
overhanging the other on 3 sides - form a new 1,600 sf house. A carport is created on
the east side and a people-port is created on the west side. A slim modern veranda to
the south connects the two ports and transversely connects the kitchen to the pool. Both
ports and the veranda provide shade in the hot summer and cover during inclement
The most dramatic view is down the meadow towards the Hazel River and further to the
Blue Ridge Mountains with Skyline Drive. The view is obscured from the entry drive - and
is only revealed once inside the house or at the people-port.
A wood and steel rail single stringer stair (recalling the materials found on well-groomed
trials) ascends to diverse and elevated views of the surrounding mountains and terrain at
the second floor hall, sleeping areas, baths and den.
Simple, economical and sustainable concrete board lap siding clad the structure and
recall materials found on many of the historic structures of the region.