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House on Tilghman Creek
Claiborne MD

Situated on a remarkable Chesapeake Bay site with water on three sides, this house occupies the exact footprint of a previous house which fell victim to fire and deterioration.

The new house was permitted to maintain the original, now disallowed, minimal setbacks from the water only if it conformed precisely to the old foundation.

The clients asked for a weekend/retirement house that would first and foremost take advantage of the constant breezes that cool the site.

The house opens fully all around to take advantage of these breezes, and folding glass walls can disappear entirely on the Eastern face, directing the view to the largest expanse of water.

When those walls open, recessed screens 10 feet beyond can drop to make the entire house into a screened porch. The result is a convertible house that allows for several degrees on enclosure depending on the weather: closed house/open porch, closed house/screened porch, open house/screened, or open entirely.

Substantial overhangs at two levels allow windows to be kept open so air conditioning is not used. Geothermal wells provide heating through radiant floors, and 11,000 gallons of water collected from the roofs and stored in 11 large cisterns in the basement provide for most site irrigation needs.

A strategically placed collection of zinc-clad roof monitors provide daylight from above the otherwise shading overhanging roof.

Exterior colors and materials were chosen to recede into the wooded site, and make little statement to passing boats.