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Warm memories, natural light and a water view


Photography provided by John Dvorsack, Architect

Jennie and Doug’s other cottage—“Little Bit of Heaven”—had been owned by Jennie’s parents since the 1960s, and when two of the couple’s children realized they were building a new cottage, they felt slightly betrayed . . . until they found out the new place would feature both air conditioning and Internet access. Now, Jennie says, “We use both cottages simultaneously and seamlessly.” Given that the new home can be seen from the original, the couple has dubbed it “As the Crow Flies,” a name commemorated by the raven weathervane that stands atop the house, and the many depictions of crows popping up throughout.

Jennie and Doug cherish the routine they have established in their new home. They start their day on the enclosed porch eating local cranberry muffins and watching the sunrise over the water. Later, they may watch the moonrise from the same spot. If it gets chilly, they can build a fire in the outdoor fireplace, which is made of antique reclaimed brick. This is Dvorsack’s favorite detail: “We suggested the reclaimed brick because you cannot reproduce that look. It is one thing I really love about the house.”

On the other side is the living room fireplace, painted white to suit the Blue Veil Benjamin Moore paint on the walls. The effect is a bright, crisp, serene space. Like the brick, the floors in the great room are reclaimed—the longleaf heart pine was once part of a student center at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The floors on the lower level are also noteworthy. After a day at the beach, the couple and their guests can rinse off in the outdoor shower, and enter through the lower level mudroom, its stones studded with depictions of scallop and horseshoe crab shells. The basement floor, prepared to handle the foot traffic of future grandchildren, is yellow and white striped Marmoleum. The bathroom on the main level features a pebble floor, with the occasional stone shark embedded in the mix. With such distractions, one may forget to look up, but every ceiling in the house is different: one features exposed beams; another is a tray; and yet another is tongue and groove. “I love ceilings,” Jennie says.

This is a house full of surprises, such as the “barn loft” bedroom, with its sliding door and faux hayloft. Jennie, an English teacher, calls this “a mixed metaphor,” given that this is a beach, not a farm, house.

When the house was being framed, Doug and Jennie stood in what would become an office/bedroom abutting the living room. “It’s too bad,” Doug said at the time, “we won’t be able to see the view from this room so I can look out at the water.” Jennie suggested an interior window; both husband and architect approved. The window, which can be shuttered for privacy, provides the added advantage of allowing additional light into the office. “I am very much into borrowed light,” Dvorsack says. “The goal for any house is to maximize the natural light, and sometimes opening up spaces to one another allows this.”

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