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Matthias Residence


Rockville, Virginia

The owners of this residence wanted an informal open plan with a style reminiscent of a small southern cottage.  Of particular importance was the utilization of energy-saving techniques. The massing of the house consists of the main living spaces topped by a steeply-pitched hipped roof which is surrounded by a lower-sloped “skirt”.  The roof overhangs with the exposed rafter tails are deep in order to block the sun from the windows.  The steeper roof is punctured by gabled clerestory windows which allow light to flood into the main living spaces below.  The extensive wrap-around porch with its large stone fireplace is designed for entertaining and relaxing outside and also acts as a foil for the sun, providing another measure of energy savings. 

Inside the main living area is a structure created by built-ins and beams that defines the dining area as a room within a room, bringing the size of that space down to a more human scale.  The dining area is separated from the living room by a soapstone-clad heat-retaining fireplace which radiates heat throughout the house long after the fire is out.  The kitchen with its huge island and its band of wall-to-wall windows is bright and airy and is adjacent to a small sitting area with built-in seating and bookshelves.  There are three bedrooms, including the bright master bedroom with its compact but elegant dressing area and bathroom.  The walk-out lower level is designed to be finished as a separate apartment with its own kitchen, laundry and bath. 

The exterior is clad in horizontal wood siding with board-and-batten accents, and the lower level is stucco, which provides a solid visual base for the house.  Wood brackets and railings complete the picture.