3 Great New Homes

February 10, 1991|By YOLANDA GARFIELD

The home on the cover of the Sun Magazine Maryland Home section Feb. 10 was misidentified. The home is in Bethesda, and the architects are Travis and Jeanne Price.

WHAT MAKES A HOUSE GREAT? FOR ONE PERSON, IT'S BEAUTY, FOR ANOTHER, IT'S BUDGET, FOR YET another, it's how a house works -- and maybe it's all three. The houses featured here all work for their owners in surprising, and dramatically different, ways. Yet the manner in which they work may be translated into the architecture of other homes. We hope their ideas work for you. LAST YEAR, THIS ALL-ELECTRIC BETHESDA HOME cost its owners a total of $1,022.72 in combined utility bills -- an astoundingly low figure for a house that boasts over 7,000 square feet of heatable space. The classically modern home was designed by Travis and Jeanne Price, a husband and wife architectural team, and principals of Price & Partners, Architects, a Takoma Park firm. The Prices are economy- and ecology-minded planners, known for their key design concept -- they use direct sunlight as much as possible, not only for passive solar heating but also for clear aesthetic delight.

Their clients expressed a strong desire for a very modern house, full of light and simple in design. At the same time they had a strong affection for the symmetry and order that comes with classical Georgian architecture. According to Travis Price, "Our charge was to mix three main ideas, that of sunlight, modernism and historical classical order -- the pastoral feel of Monticello. The result is a harmonic collision of sunlight, not modern or solar, but a unique thing."

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The superinsulated passive solar home was constructed by Glen Brake and Sons, a Damascus, Md., contracting firm. The house uses a central fireplace that climbs through three open living levels into a large surrounding skylight. This creates a thermal sun-shaft of light that also may be opened to let out hot summer air from the top. The new owners expected to save money because of lowered utility bills, and they expected light to bounce through the house during the day. To their pleased surprise, however, the sun-shaft also admits the brightness of moonlight, which illuminates the house on cloudless nights. The unusually close cooperation between the designers, builders and owners of this Severn riverfront residence resulted in a home of exotic grace and beauty. Built by Bertliner Construction from a design by Fred Fishback of Weller Fishback Bohl, Architects, with interior design by Liz Saunders of E/I Design Associates, all of Annapolis, the house is oriented toward the water and finished with natural cedar both indoors and out. Exterior tiered decking provides a number of view options.

Yet instead of having a rustic appearance, the house is highly sophisticated in design. The cedar has been pickled, then washed a warm pale gray. Outdoors, it has a weathered, smooth look, while indoors it reflects the water and serves as a textural transition between indoors and out.

Details within the home include 5-inch-wide golden oak floorboards in the foyer, and a bargeboard, which functions as a heavy contemporary crown molding, very effective as a softening detail that subtly emphasizes the architecture and balances it with the interior design.

A dramatic design element within the home is the unusual main staircase, which was designed by one of the owners. Her background and continuing interest in art enabled her to contribute to the architectural and interior design of the home. Throughout the house, background colors were kept neutral in order to highlight the silk Oriental rugs, Italian furnishings, antique accessories and other art. The great number of custom-made built-ins have been lacquered so that they would blend with the background. The result is a beautifully designed home of rare and infinitely livable harmony.

When planning a new home, it's not easy to think of everything. However, the owner of this suburban Baltimore home came close -- and then some.

His wish list for the house, built by Griffith-Brilhart Builders Inc., included an indoor-outdoor swimming pool with exercise area, an ultra-sleek Eurostyle kosher kitchen, an expansive and secluded master bedroom suite, and an expandable in-law suite, not to mention a children's and nanny's bedroom wing. The owner stressed his desire for a design flexible enough for entertaining on a large or intimate scale. He favored Mediterranean styling, but nothing complex or surreal.

Baltimore architect Neal Kitt, a friend of the owner, translated the owner's desires into a design that expresses a tailored, contemporary vision with Mediterranean overtones. The broad red-tile roof of Monier Roof Tile and the arched veranda, as well as the Dryvit stucco exterior finish recall Mediterranean design. Inside are touches of pure modernism, such as the curved glass-block wall that separates the entrance hall from the kitchen.

The kosher kitchen features top-of-the-line double dishwashers, ovens and cook tops. One cook or many cooks, the kitchen accommodates them all. Generous granite counter tops and a )) convenient placement of cabinets, cookware and appliances ensure that holiday dinner extravaganzas as well as intimate suppers for two are a breeze to prepare. A home office/command center is tucked into a well-lit corner. The kitchen leads to a connecting family room. Here, the ceiling soars to cathedral height, emphasized by a hand-cut Tennessee stone fireplace and chimney.

The formal living and dining rooms work exceptionally well together, thanks to the owner's decision to place the fireplace in the dining room. It was elevated for the benefit of both diners and people relaxing in the living room. For large gatherings, the ,, dining room table can be expanded to seat 20, then rotated so that it stretches into the living room.

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