Launch Slideshow

River Approach

River Approach

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    Architect Wayne L. Good used rustic materials—stone, cedar siding, metal roofing—and a grown-over-time design sensibility to link the riverfront Thompson residence to the summer colonies that dotted the Chesapeake tidewater area in the ’20s and ’30s. A ca

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    Knee braces, board-and-batten siding, and cedar tongue-and-groove details are repeated inside to reinforce the notion that the Thompson residence has evolved over time.

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    Good Architecture

    First floor plan

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    Good Architecture

    Second floor plan

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    Throughout the house, steel windows—done up in orderly grid patterns—reveal and frame views of Valentine Creek and the forested parkland that surrounds the house.

Although it combines varying rooflines and a mix of materials—natural stone, board-and-batten siding, cedar tongue-and-groove siding, and zinc-coated steel roofing—there's nothing jumbled about this house. The peninsula-like building site dictated the shape of the floor plan, “which was basically very long and skinny,” says Good. One of the plan's primary design features is the tight sequence of arrival, entry, and the unfolding of both water and woodland views. “With waterfront homes, I like to choreograph how you get to the ultimate thing, the water view,” says Good. “It's been described as a kind of burlesque treatment, where you slowly reveal the payoff.”

From the auto court, that sequence begins with passage through a narrow dogtrot bookended by two single-car garages that resemble stylized machine sheds. It emerges onto a long, light-washed boardwalk. At the front door, a 10-foot expanse of steel and glass, visitors get a glimpse of the pool out back, but it's not until you turn left into the living room that the full, panoramic sweep of the river view is revealed.

The family's more public spaces—the living room, kitchen, and a generous screened porch—are clustered at the river end of the house. The less public rooms—the dining room, media room, a guest bedroom and bath, and a mudroom—are lined up along the long boardwalk, which is made of Brazilian walnut Ipé. Upstairs there's a game room, a play space, a master suite (with sitting room), three bedrooms, and three baths.

In the tradition of summer camps, which often encompassed huts, sheds, and other use-specific outbuildings, there's a separate two-story structure at the southwest corner of the site that has its own special function. “When we were designing a bathing facility for the pool area, we came up with the idea to give the family a little gazebo on top,” says Good. “The two boys were avid chess players, so it became known as the chess tower and became a place for them to play chess.” How apt that such a rigorous game would play a role in this tightly controlled home.

project:
Thompson residence, Crownsville, Md.

architect:
Wayne L. Good, Good Architecture, Annapolis, Md.

general contractor:
Winchester Construction Co., Millersville, Md.

project size:
8,400 square feet

site size:
3.7 acres

construction cost:
Withheld

photographer:
Celia Pearson