Tulip HIlls Residence
This house, designed for a couple with two young children, occupies a site along the sweep of the Potomac River. Perched on a steeply sloping site, it takes advantage of the views up and down river, while affording privacy from its immediate neighbors of predominately 1960's ramblers.
The program included a dining room, kitchen, family room, mudroom, laundry, screened porch on the main living level, with four bedrooms and an office on the second floor, and a lower level living room and recreation room.
The house is a simple bar, separated by a glazed slot into two pieces. The up-river portion is devoted to the adults and the down-river portion to the children. The adult side includes a screen porch and intimate scaled office, which makes reference to the Owner's desire to have a workspace perched in a tree house. Interlocking double height spaces connect the public levels of the house, while the more closed requisite elements of the plan provide a buffer from the street. A generous open kitchen and family room enjoy views down river and are linked to the rear terrace by an exterior stair. In the morning, sun streams into the family room as the family gathers at the start of a new day.
The butterfly roof makes a gesture to the tree canopy, while the warm tone of the natural cedar echoes their leaves. The combination of dark manganese brick and the light split face and ground face block emphasizes the horizontal plateau on which it sits. Materials, such as bamboo, stone, and stainless steel express their natural properties. In the evening, when the sun sets over the river, the ceiling of the main living space reveals a celestial pattern of LED stars that provide a balance at dusk, while the gentle flow of the water from the fountain reminds you of the water flowing over the rocks below.