Home & Design
Tradewood supplied the windows
Tradewood supplied the windows

Tradewood supplied the windows; sapele mahogany wraps the garage (on right).

Scandinavian Mid-Century Modern furniture
Scandinavian Mid-Century Modern furniture

Scandinavian Mid-Century Modern furniture creates a casual vibe in the main living volume. Made of end-cut blocks of Douglas fir, the flooring evokes a minimalist tatami mat.

Stone is visible behind a module incorporating kitchen
Stone is visible behind a module incorporating kitchen

Stone is visible behind a module incorporating kitchen appliances and Boffi cabinetry set in furniture-quality walnut paneling.

In the formal sitting area, a custom fireplace warms a B&B Italia sofa
In the formal sitting area, a custom fireplace warms a B&B Italia sofa

In the formal sitting area, a custom fireplace warms a B&B Italia sofa and Hans Wegner Ox chair.

Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs
Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs

Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs take in 360-degree views in the upper-level aerie, where epoxy resin was poured over concrete.

The expanse of glass and pool
The expanse of glass and pool

The expanse of glass and pool were inspired by the owner’s childhood memory of a dream house sketched by his father but never built.

Carderock stone walls shoulder the lap pool
Carderock stone walls shoulder the lap pool

Carderock stone walls shoulder the lap pool and form a backdrop for the formal sitting area.

Mechanical systems are embedded in the atrium structure
Mechanical systems are embedded in the atrium structure

Mechanical systems are embedded in the atrium structure, which rises 25 feet to a grid of welded steel holding up the roof.

Stacked-stone walls define a 1,600-square-foot atrium
Stacked-stone walls define a 1,600-square-foot atrium

Stacked-stone walls define a 1,600-square-foot atrium, which serves as a covered porch, occasional event space and working-from-home office.

An Oda chair by Nanna Ditzel exudes a 1950s vibe in the owners’ suite
An Oda chair by Nanna Ditzel exudes a 1950s vibe in the owners’ suite

An Oda chair by Nanna Ditzel exudes a 1950s vibe in the owners’ suite, where a wall finished with matte-bronze automobile paint supports a Spark Modern fireplace.

A cluster of volumes offers wide-open living spaces
A cluster of volumes offers wide-open living spaces

A cluster of volumes offers wide-open living spaces focused on exceptional views; a 105-foot-long lap pool flows toward the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Set in Stone

Architect David Jameson brings a client’s vision to life in a bold, modern residence in The Plains, Virginia, overlooking the Blue Ridge

Set in Stone - In a verdant patch of Fauquier County, life gallops along at the speed of a polo pony.

So it seems incongruous that the clock would all but stop at a contemporary fortress on a mountainside in The Plains. Designed by architect David Jameson for a tech entrepreneur, this house hews to geological time. Locally quarried Carderock stone stacked in walls 11 feet high traces its origin to the collision of continents 200 million years ago that formed the Piedmont’s ridges and valleys, creating the very slope on which the house stands.

To be sure, the structure exudes contemporary glamour, from the shimmering glass and sleek mahogany siding to a 105-foot-long lap pool flowing toward a view of the Blue Ridge. In fact, the expanse of glass and pool were inspired by the owner’s childhood memory of a dream house sketched by his father but never built. The son’s 11,980-square-foot residence carries that vision forward, while the architect has anchored the dwelling to the ages.

“Earth, sky and water,” quips Jameson from his Bethesda office, delighted to have achieved the old-is-new dichotomy of an “authentic modern house.”

The site boasts acres of woodland overlooking a polo field. Jameson, who trained under the modernist Hugh Newell Jacobsen, has arranged four long, glass boxes or volumes pinwheel-style around a 1,600-square-foot atrium, which rises 25 feet to a clerestory, hiding mechanicals in its structure. Stone walls form a framework of corridors. An upper level is glassy, angular and intentionally askew. Exterior stone and glass read through to the interior, creating a seamless stage set.

“Stone walls protect and cradle the intimate human spaces,” Jameson says. “The glazed walls you live in really act as lenses to the landscape. It’s a large house, yet each space, the way it’s situated, has a very intimate feel.”

The largest volume, at 26 by 72 feet, looks out onto the lap pool and polo field below. A formal sitting area furnished with a contemporary Italian sofa is set off from a 33-foot-long kitchen-dining space. A relaxed gathering corner filled with mid-century Scandinavian classics brings up the far end. A custom divider of stainless-steel bars incorporates a fireplace and large-screen TV.

The 21-by-72-foot bedroom suite shared by the owner and his wife, an attorney, includes a lounge with a fireplace. A third volume holds three 16-foot-square guest rooms. The fourth volume contains a garage, powder room and laundry.

The architect-designed interiors are spare and unified. Sapele mahogany lines corridors and frames the perfectly aligned windows and motorized sliding glass doors. Floor-to-ceiling walnut paneling disguises kitchen fixtures as well as the owners’ walk-in closet. Matte-bronze automotive paint was hand-rubbed onto the kitchen island and lends mystery to partition walls in the owners’ suite.

Underfoot, corridors of honed bluestone lead to expanses of sturdy, end-cut blocks of Douglas fir. “Because these volumes are long and thin, I did not want to accentuate with linear flooring,” Jameson explains. “The bleached blocks give the calming sense of a tatami mat. It’s very quiet, minimal, non-directional flooring.”

Concrete flooring upstairs is finished in cruise-ship decking epoxy. Both levels are warmed by geothermal wells, one of the home’s many sustainable features that, along with green roofs, suggest a longer-term perspective. “The cost of building is one thing, the cost of maintaining is another,” Jameson points out. “If you can build with sustainable components, that extends the life of the house. What do you have to do to those stone walls after 100 years? Not a lot.”

At home during the pandemic, the owner reflected on the architecture from a sofa beneath the 30-foot-square clerestory. “This house has a great vibe,” he says. “It’s a center of gravity, a serene place to land when you come home. That makes a huge difference in quality of life.”

As for those walls, they are highly technical—as befits a client in the software business. Stones were cut to three precise heights, then stacked in a fixed pattern decreed by Jameson. “Literally every single wall, every single course is perfectly level, a mirror image,” says Eddie Serra of Serra Stone, who managed the masonry. Every nine courses or so, the sequence repeats.

The cadence is so subtle that the owner likens it to “code with a hidden pattern.”
In the end, a house is a vehicle for living. “I love that this house is clearly designed,” the architect reflects, “but not precious.”

Architecture: David Jameson, FAIA, David Jameson Architect, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland. Contractor: PureForm Builders, Washington, DC. Landscape Contractor: Evergro, Glenn Dale, Maryland. Home Automation: Casaplex, Kensington, Maryland.

RESOURCES

THROUGHOUT
Stone walls: Eddie Serra, serrastone.com. Stone Floors & Countertops: Rob Redden, Boatman & Magnani; 301-336-7700. Windows & Doors: David Tausendfreund, tradewoodiindustries.com. Metalwork: Moe Owens, Triton Metals; 301-632-6419. Wood Flooring: Russ Sterner, mastercarefloors.com. Specialty Glass: John Flouhouse, dullesglass.com.

EXTERIOR
Chaises/Source: roshults.com through studiotwentyseven.com. Pool: Don Gwiz; lewis-aquatech.com.

ATRIUM
Vernor Panton Cloverleaf Sofa: furniturefromscandinavia.com.

LIVING ROOM
Poul Kjærholm PK9 dining chairs, PK80 daybed & PK54 Marble-Topped Table,  Finn Juhl Pelican Shearling Chairs, Baker Sofa & FJ Walnut Low Table: furniturefromscandinavia.com.

FORMAL SITTING AREA
Sofa: Antonio Citterio Charles Sofa: bebitalia.com. Hans Wegner Hans Wegner Ox Chair & Poul Kjærholm PK61 Marble-Topped Coffee Table: marblesystems.com.

KITCHEN
Mater Bar Stools: furniturefromscandinavia.com. Kitchen Cabinetry: Julia Walter, boffi.com. Countertops: marblesystems.com. Dining Table: Fritz Hansen Essay Table & Mater Dining Chairs: furniturefromscandinavia.com.

UPPER LEVEL
Flooring: bolidt.com through Walt Honer, fusionvisionfloors.com. Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs: furniturefromscandinavia.com.

Set in Stone - BEDROOM

Nanna Ditzel Oda chair: furniturefromscandinavia.com. Fireplace: sparkfires.com.

 

 

 

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