Designing for Privacy and Views
In a dense neighborhood, a small, modern home embraces a secluded outdoor space.
My firm’s client, Joan, owned a small 70-year-old cottage in Bethesda, Md., that was slowly deteriorating. Although the suburban lot was narrow, toward the back it had great views to the northwest of the parkland that runs along the Potomac River. The view to the northeast, however, was not as pastoral. Joan’s neighbor had built the tallest house in the area, and Joan literally felt overshadowed.
At first, our discussions centered on the idea of remodeling the existing house, but the more we talked, the clearer it became that it would be easier just to start over. The new house would take advantage of the parkland views and would use a two-story bedroom wing as a privacy screen for a secluded backyard.
Joan’s requirements for the house were modest: In addition to the requisite living spaces, she requested two bedrooms and a ground-floor office that could be converted…