Breeding designed a Shingle-style home on Chancellor Point using gambrel forms that evoke the agrarian setting. The house was built by Bob Lucas General Contractor, with a landscape by Campion Hruby Landscape Architects. © David Burroughs

Ask the Pros: Architecture

Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay

How do you help clients hone in on a vernacular or style for a 21st-century home?

People begin thinking about their new homes with pictures, which they bring to our office. What I look for in the images—and listen for in our conversations about them—are common threads: What do the pictures evoke? What in each image caused the client to select it? Was there a particular detail, a component of building form, an experiential revelation, a use of materials? Each picture has a special element to discover and understand. When I weave these threads together, the result is a kind of stylistic palette that we use to sketch the vision for a house. Often this sketch will evoke a certain vernacular or classical style.

—Scarlett Breeding, AIA, Alt Breeding Schwarz, Annapolis, Maryland