Home & Design
Glass walls retract into a game room
Glass walls retract into a game room

Glass walls retract, letting ocean breezes waft into the party-ready game room; a kitchen serves up cold drinks and snacks by the pool and spa.

Cambrian Cream sandstone and teak clad the terrace
Cambrian Cream sandstone and teak clad the terrace

Cambrian Cream sandstone and teak clad the terrace; a wall of slatted cedar anchors the fire pit encircled by a Barlow Tyrie bench.

Bocci chandeliers hang above a pair of cast-resin Liaigre dining tables
Bocci chandeliers hang above a pair of cast-resin Liaigre dining tables

Playful Bocci chandeliers hang above a pair of cast-resin Liaigre dining tables sitting end to end in the second-story great room.

Living room fireplace surrounded by concrete Ann Sacks tile
Living room fireplace surrounded by concrete Ann Sacks tile

Sofas in performance fabric by Maharam  face a fireplace surrounded by concrete Ann Sacks tile. On the adjacent terrace, residents can loll on a Dedon lounger while taking in beach action below.

Dual-height island separates the living area and kitchen featuring Boffi cabinetry and a Zephyr hood
Dual-height island separates the living area and kitchen featuring Boffi cabinetry and a Zephyr hood

A dual-height island separates the living area and kitchen featuring Boffi cabinetry and a Zephyr hood. Swivel chairs in Sunbrella fabric take in views of the beach and the lake—visible through a glass-enclosed study.

Kalwall panels maintain privacy while flooding the stairwell with light.
Kalwall panels maintain privacy while flooding the stairwell with light.

Kalwall panels maintain privacy while flooding the stairwell with light.

Sunset view over the ocean
Sunset view over the ocean

A view from the lake illustrates how the architects organized the exterior into four pavilions, plus a garage, to minimize its overall size.

Platform sofa by Rausch Furniture and an outdoor TV on roof deck
Platform sofa by Rausch Furniture and an outdoor TV on roof deck

A platform sofa by Rausch Furniture and an outdoor TV lure guests onto the roof deck, which is buttressed by the home’s four gables; a glass floor panel in the deck illuminates a third-floor bath.

Sunny walls and drapery animate a bedroom.
Sunny walls and drapery animate a bedroom.

Sunny walls and drapery animate a daughter’s bedroom.

Beach home glass-rimmed upper levels cantilever over the pool terrace
Beach home glass-rimmed upper levels cantilever over the pool terrace

A view from the beach reveals how the home’s two glass-rimmed upper levels cantilever over the pool terrace. The central foyer opens sight lines to the lake.

Double Vision

Robert M. Gurney designs a modern Rehoboth retreat with stellar views of the beach and Silver Lake

Oceanfront lots on the Delaware seashore are a hot commodity. So when a Washington-area couple discovered a pristine parcel flanked by the Atlantic on one side and Rehoboth’s shimmering Silver Lake on the other, they knew they’d struck gold. The duo acquired the land, then engaged architect Robert Gurney to design a modern getaway on-site. They envisioned interiors bathed in light and space to accommodate their children, parents and guests in comfort and style.

Gurney and project architects Claire Andreas and Brian Tuskey conceived a three-story structure where every room would overlook one, if not both, bodies of water. The plan would also afford residents every opportunity to engage their senses in the coastal environment. In the finished retreat, the family can grab cold drinks and snacks in the indoor-outdoor game room/kitchen just off the beach; watch breakers roll in from myriad decks and terraces; and soak in a hot tub under the stars.
Minimalist in spirit, the house still conforms to neighborhood requirements. A demand for traditional materials inspired the cedar-shake roof, dark-stained mahogany window frames, copper panels and bleached cedar-shingle siding. “The review board also mandated a gable-shaped roof, which picks up on the language of Shingle style,” explains Gurney, who had initially proposed a flat-roof scheme.

On the lake side, the 11-bedroom, 12,000-square-foot residence reads as four distinct pavilions connected by glass volumes, plus a garage. “We took a large house and broke down the massing so it wouldn’t seem quite so big,” he continues. In contrast, the beach façade bares all with glass walls celebrating ocean views on the top floors, which cantilever above the pool terrace.
The architects brought the outdoors in on every story. Sliding-glass walls expose the ground-floor game room to the pool and dunes beyond; guest quarters, a changing room, outdoor showers and storage for bikes and beach toys deliver resort-level ease.

On the second-floor screened porch, sliding-glass pocket doors make way for sea breezes to waft into the expansive living/dining area and kitchen. More glass on the east and west elevations opens to decks overlooking sea and lake. “You can see through the house to the lake and the ocean,” Gurney marvels. “How many places do you get that?”

Seating and playful Bocci lights above the dining table add splashes of color against pale oak floors, gray kitchen cabinets and white countertops. An Ann Sacks mosaic backsplash, selected by the wife, strikes an exuberant note. “We picked up on blues found in sea glass and greens in the ocean and accented them with sunshine colors of yellow and gold,” explains designer Therese Baron Gurney. Hired to furnish interiors with sophisticated pieces that can take a beating, she points out performance upholstery and a silk-look nylon rug that, she attests, “will wear like iron.”

Designed by Julia Walter of Boffi, the kitchen is organized around a central volume housing a pantry and appliances. While cooking is underway on the main island, guests can mingle around a secondary island or on nearby swivel chairs. “It’s a very social and open space,” says Walter. “Yet the center volume is clad in panels so you don’t see you’re walking into a kitchen when you come up the stairs.”

Hung above the floating staircase, Arturo Alvarez pendants conjure exotic sea creatures. Gurney glazed the stairwell’s outer wall with panes of translucent Kalwall. “It pulls a ton of natural light into the center of the house,” he explains, “but hides a direct view of the neighbors.”

The project’s landscape architects from OvS also mitigated side views with loblolly pines planted among fragrant sumac and Northern sea oats. And they reinforced the dunes with American beachgrass, native shrubs and perennials. “OvS did a nice job creating a landscape that fits the beach environment and doesn’t require a huge amount of maintenance,” says Robert Gurney.
From the third floor—which harbors family bedrooms, an office and a gym—a separate stair ascends to the roof deck. Buttressed by the home’s gables, this perch comes complete with a built-in TV should anyone tire of the lofty views.

This deck was just one of many challenges Horizon Builders faced during construction. “The building was designed to withstand hurricane-force winds. And there are some big cantilevers, so it needed an enormous amount of steel,” the architect remarks. “When all of Rehoboth is gone, this will be the last house standing.”

After the pandemic hit, the family wound up sheltering in their newly completed retreat for more than a year. “The wife told me how much they love the house and all the light and fresh air,” says Baron Gurney. Gazing at the beach from the living room deck, she sighs, “It is like heaven right here.”

Architecture: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, principal; Claire Larsen Andreas and Brian Tuskey, AIA, project architects, Robert M. Gurney, FAIA Architect, Washington, DC. Interior Design, Therese Baron Gurney, ASID, Baron Gurney Interiors, Washington, DC. Kitchen Design: Julia Walter, Boffi, Washington, DC. Builder: Horizon Builders, Annapolis, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Lisa Delplace, FASLA; Stacilyn Feldman and Beth L’Estrange, senior associates; Rachel Heslop, senior designer, OvS, Washington, DC.

RESOURCES

GENERAL
Home Automation: atlcontrol.com. Paint: benjaminmoore.com. Windows: tradewoodindustries.com.

POOL TERRACE
Dining Table, Chairs & Curved Bench: teak.com. Bench Fabric: sunbrella.com. Chaises: rausch-classics.com. Firepit: hardlifeproducts.com. Ceiling Fans: minkagroup.net.

GROUND-FLOOR GAME ROOM
Sectional, Coffee Table & Throw Pillow: teak.com. Sectional Fabric: sunbrella.com. Ceiling Fans: modernfan.com. Millwork: alleghenywoodworksllc.com.

DINING AREA
Table: liaigre.com. Dining Chairs: andreuworld.com. Dining Chair Upholstery: spradling.group; maharam.com. Chandelier: bocci.com through illuminc.com.

LIVING AREA
Rug: silkroadcarpetandrugs.com. Sofas: dwr.com. Sofa Fabric: maharam.com. Teak Coffee Table: Custom by andrejoyau.com. Side Table & Benches: ateliervierkant.com. Millwork Design: robertgurneyarchitect.com. Millwork Fabrication: alleghenywoodworksllc.com. Fireplace: flarefireplaces.com. Light Fixtures: folio.it. Recessed Lighting: Philips Lightolier Calculite through gsadc.com. Paint: Simply White by benjaminmoore.com. Fireplace Surround: Andy Fleishman through annsacks.com.

PORCH
Hanging Lounger: dedon.de. Throw Pillows: teak.com.

KITCHEN
Cabinetry: boffi.com. Chairs at Island, Swivel Chairs & Coffee Table: andreuworld.com. Island Chair Upholstery: spradling.group. Swivel Chair Upholstery: sunbrella.com. Backsplash Tile: annsacks.com. Hood: zephyronline.com. Island Faucets: waterstoneco.com. Fixtures: konstunion.com. Oven & Fridge: subzero-wolf.com through adu.com. Built-in Coffee Machine: mieleusa.com through adu.com.

STUDY
Swivel Chair: roomandboard.com. Swivel Chair Upholstery: sunbrella.com. Millwork Fabrication: alleghenywoodworksllc.com.

ROOF DECK
Sofa & Table: rausch-classics.com. Cushions: sunbrella.com. Dining Table & Chairs: teak.com. Side Table: shop.viteo.com. Television: seura.com.

YELLOW BEDROOM
Paint: Sunburst by benjaminmoore.com. Bedding & Throw: pbteen.com. Drapery Fabric: carnegiefabrics.com. Drapery Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com.

STAIRWAY
Lighting: Arturo Alvarez through illumco.com.

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