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Ask the Pros: Architecture

Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay

Ask the Pros: Architecture What factors determine whether a waterfront site near the bay is viable for new construction?

The first factor is utilities. Does the property have a private septic system? Does the soil pass health department perc testing? Test results will help define the size of a potential home.

Next, it’s important to determine the critical-area buffer location. Along with zoning setbacks, this will help define the buildable area on the lot.

And finally, what is the allowable lot coverage as defined by critical area law? Does it align with the client’s desired program? Lot/impervious coverage includes improvements such as parking areas, patios, swimming pools, walkways, stone fire pits, structures and more. It is important to work with a professional well-versed in critical area law as it applies to each lot.

—Cathy Purple Cherry, AIA, LEED AP, Purple Cherry Architects, Annapolis, Maryland.


On a stunning five-acre estate overlooking Aberdeen Creek, Purple Cherry Architects combined Shingle-style and Tidewater architecture to create a four-story, 14,000-square-foot custom home, and large timber-frame barn. Photo © Jay Stearns.

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HOME&DESIGN, published bi-monthly by Homestyles Media Inc., is the premier magazine of architecture and fine interiors for the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

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