Project

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St. Mary's County, Md., Residence

Muse Architects

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Project Description

2004 CHDA
Custom Renovation / Merit Award

Adapting a historic home to contemporary standards is always a delicate balancing act. It is all too easy to overwhelm an older building with additions sized to our current, more expansive age. This addition to a prominent 18th-century Maryland manor house gracefully avoids that pitfall, greatly improving the house's livability without diminishing its soul. New rooms—a kitchen/great room and master bedroom suite—are linked to the old house only by a narrow entry hall. They proceed in a sequence of volumes, each subordinate to the original building, on an L-shaped footprint that creates a number of useful outdoor spaces. The addition adheres strictly to the materials, scale, and style of the gabled original, down to the chimney details and dormer proportions. But architect Stephen Muse had the confidence to dip further into the period vernacular, introducing hip roofs at the bedroom wing and an octagonal pool house.

The interior strays from strict period style, especially in the great room, with its cathedral ceiling, painted-wood roof trusses, and the six-leaf pocket sliding glass door that opens onto the screened porch. But molding details and the brick floor that unifies the great room and screened porch suggest an update of an older building rather than ground-up new construction. Our judges commended the architect and builder on a “nice job of maintaining the character of the original. They managed to make it bigger without destroying the scale.”
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