house proud, vol. 2 {life}

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A mid-century modern, on the water, with a granite wall running from the front path through the house all the way to the back deck? I'm sold. After photographing this gorgeous traditional that my friend Bill designed, we snuck over to get some shots of this quirky, mid-century treat. What a gorgeous home! Bill describes this experience as one where the couple was open to anything he threw at them; they pretty much let him have at it when it came to bringing a tired home back to life. The end result included a granite stairwell and wall, laid out in stunning bricks, that runs from before you reach the front door, through the entire length of the house straight out to the back yard. Built into the wall is a fireplace and three bookshelves, one of which (the middle) rotates to become a door, allowing access into the study. In the 10th photo above, you see the study and a painting hanging in the back of a bookcase. This clever trick gives party goers free range to the bar when socializing.

The wall grounds the house, but all is filled with light and air and views of the water. As Bill explains, the wall and its corresponding stairwell separate the private and public areas of the home. Off a soaring hall, perpendicualr to the granite wall, you find a study and guest rooms, and up the stairwell, perched alone with the finest views of the water, is the master suite.

Outside, the green of the house blends into the landscape while the red trim around the windows adds a vibrant pop of color, drawing the viewer's eye towards the interior of the home.

I think about all the mid-century houses I grew up running in and out of and how I never paid attention. What was wrong with me? Sometimes I think this era can tend toward cold and all sharp angles, but with this house it's been turned into something interesting and fun. Bill describes it as a fun project to work on, and you can tell. It must be a fun house to live in as well.

house proud, vol. 1 {life}


The father of my dear friend Rebecca is an architect. This means that whenever we get together at parties or cookouts or whatnot, I want to hang out with him, like a lot. It doesn't hurt that both of her parents are just delightful and super easy to be with, but talking with her dad about houses is something I could do all day long. He speaks my kind of house-speak, and he knows how to make it happen for people, sometimes on a grand scale. When we first started talking about architecture, I asked Bill if there was a typical "Norfolk" home, the way you see homes typical to Santa Fe or Charleston or Nantucket. He pointed me to this book, which now sits on my coffee table. Southern Vernacular. That's what we're talking about. Drawing from other traditions, but paying attention to the landscape.

Bill pays attention, and that's what's so great about talking about him. Homes are living, breathing things to him, and he thinks about what a family needs as he designs for them. Not just the sight lines and how the light falls, but how a family moves through a space and how the kids might run down the hall or the parents might need time to themselves. As we'd talked at pool party after pool party and BBQ after BBQ, I dropped shameless hint after shameless hint that I'd love to come and see some of the houses he's designed in town. Knowing Bill, and knowing the little I'd seen, I imagined they'd be pretty spectacular.

Well, you can imagine my excitement when they (his wife runs his architecture practice for him) called to see if I'd come photograph some houses for them. Christmas and Birthday all rolled up into one for me! It's quite possible that I danced a jig. I can't tell you the sheer and utter delight I felt at working with this lovely gentleman and finally having the opportunity to see inside some of his beautiful homes. This stunning riverside home was the first, and I'll have another for you next week. The family who lives here is downsizing, and they've asked Bill to help them with their new home, to make it fit their needs. As we walked around the house, the photography challenges I felt faded away as Bill showed me why he put a hall where he did, or how he carved an attic out of what was intended to be unused space. Living, breathing things, our homes are. He's constantly thinking about them.


Even when the houses are finished and about to be sold to a new family, he still is.