Ask the Pros: Custom Building

Advice on building the perfect home by the bay

How do homebuyers ensure they are purchasing a house that’s built to withstand a waterfront climate?
When looking to purchase an existing waterfront property, it’s important to understand the building’s envelope, which will protect it from air and water. With today’s technologies, blower-door tests to determine air-tightness can be performed, and infrared cameras can be used to reveal the quality of the water and air barriers without removing finishes. These tools, along with a thorough visual inspection of exterior cladding and roofing, will indicate the home’s current condition and the possible need for repairs. Further research into the age of products like windows and mechanical systems can help to evaluate how much useful life is left in the products you would be purchasing. Although a home inspection is a good first step, a home-builder with waterfront experience will be able to delve deeper into building-envelope issues. —David Carlisle, Bayview Builders

Working with Annapolis architect Scarlett Breeding, Bayview Builders renovated and restored a circa-1880 waterman’s house on the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis. In the charming kitchen, the team combined historic and modern sensibilities with a rustic stone wall and rough-hewn ceiling beams as a counterpoint to crisp, custom cabinetry and clean-lined, poured-concrete countertops. A small bar area towards the back of the kitchen is painted a bold, peacock blue. Renovation Architecture: Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects, Annapolis, Maryland. Interior Design: Sandy Mitchell Designs, Annapolis, Maryland.