Potomac River House
This house, sited on a wooded bluff overlooking the Potomac River, was designed and intended to be built in two stages, with over a decade between.
The first stage included all the normal spaces for family life — living, dining, kitchen and bedrooms. Organized around three pavilions—one for family living, one for sleeping and one for a significant library, the house presents a low profile to the street, tucked behind a stone wall, and steps down with the terrain to open the glazed pavilion ends to the wooded river view.
The second stage, recently finished, is a library for 10,000 books.
This room occupies the center pavilion of the otherwise completed three-pavilion house and was left as a clean dark shell in the first build. The family lived around it in anticipation of, and during the planning for, the second stage.
Now, a carefully detailed and constructed three-level library opens to views over the Potomac River below.
The first two levels of the library open and connect directly to the main spaces of the house, completing the original design and providing formal living, dining and work spaces.
Floating above all this, accessed by a two-story spiral stair, is a glass-floored suspended aerie. Used as a small reading nook by the owners, the aerie accesses a small outside balcony, floating 30 feet above the ground.
After over a decade of design and construction, the centerpiece of the project is complete, and the house finally made whole. Patience indeed has its virtues.