Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc. (DBF), teamed with Susan C. Wigley Architect to design this custom home outside Bethany Beach, Delaware for husband and wife architects. While the home is located on the lower Delaware bays, it serves as a permanent residence for the couple who had enjoyed vacationing in a summer home for a number of years on the same property. The original home had begun to fall into disrepair, and the couple sought to build a permanent home that better captured the inherent beauty of the property and its nearly 360 degree vistas.
The home was designed to meet the goals of the owners to have a place they could call home, while also serving as a location for their older children and future families to visit – in this respect offering a number of bedrooms, bathrooms and the often requested “bunkroom.” There was also a desire for the home to be designed and built with sustainability in mind, for peace-of-mind during inclement weather events that this coastal area is often subjected to. The house received a Silver Performance Level designation through the National Association of Home Builders and their National Green Building Standard program. Several sustainable design practices were incorporated, including geothermal heat pumps, LED light fixtures, low-VOC products and, perhaps most notable, the “de-construction” and salvage of the original summer home. De-construction involved the systematic removal of all salvageable building products, including cabinets, furniture, appliances, fixtures and lumber. Rather than these items burdening a land fill, they instead have been re-used at other construction sites.
Paramount to the home’s design ultimately was to capture incredible views: a pond to the east, the bay and Ocean City skyline to the south and, perhaps most photogenic, the bay, wildlife preserve and sunsets to the west. All rooms were designed to capture at least one of these vistas; only fenestration facing north being minimized to better protect the home from northeast weather events. The L-shaped footprint of the home splays slightly outward: conforming to adjacent property lines, but also widening site lines. Exterior siding is predominantly western red cedar, while the interior’s flooring is mostly of white oak paired with off-white walls and trim – a conscious selection to better display the couple’s often colorful art collection. Cherry cabinetry, granite countertops and a variety of interior details compliment the home’s casual elegance.
In addition to providing architectural co-design services, DBF also provided surveying, civil engineering and structural engineering. DBF also managed the National Green Building Standard submission on behalf of the contractor of the home.