Home & Design

A screened porch opens onto the ipe deck.

An heirloom painting by Yasuko Hasegawa hangs over the living room’s soapstone-surrounded fireplace.

The main-floor foyer is accessed directly through the raised front door or from the lower level. An abstract painting by Susan Roth crowns the reimagined console.

Potomac Valley Builders crafted the kitchen cabinetry, as well as additional millwork throughout.

Decker chose a soft-gray paint for the peripheral cabinets and an off-black hue for the island bases; Bianco Ibiza marble graces most counters; stainless steel tops others.

In the dining area, vintage McGuire chairs surround a custom white oak table that can be joined with the matching game table for dinner parties.

In the owner’s bedroom, a gray-and-white, diamond-patterned rug from Patterson Flynn grounds Macklin’s ethereal scheme; Matouk linens adorn the four-poster bed from Sonder Living.

The primary bath offers a spa-like experience, courtesy of a soaking tub from Duravit.

The main dwelling connects to the new guest house via concrete pavers.

Streamlined, powder-coated-aluminum fencing screens the pool deck from the parking court and street.

An L-shaped, built-in bench and elevated planter, both crafted of ipe, anchor one end of the pool deck.

A raised walkway connects the rear of the house to the beach; the new guest house sits to the left.

By the Sea

A custom-built Bethany Beach escape accommodates crowds in easy-going style

After inheriting an oceanfront double lot in Bethany Beach, Delaware, the new owner soon concluded that the 1980s dwelling on site didn’t quite pass muster. In its place, she envisioned a relaxed retreat with ample space to host her big brood, which includes two college-age kids and a married son with a baby now on the way. “I was looking for a family gathering place and needed more bedrooms than that house had,” says the real estate developer and philanthropist. “I needed a place that would almost be like a camp. That’s why I decided to tear down and build from scratch.”

The Potomac resident tapped architect Anne Decker, interior designer Jodi Macklin and Cottage Construction to bring her vision to fruition. Decker’s plan maximizes the substantial site. It integrates a new 7,900-square-foot house, a 2,500-square-foot guest house/garage and a pool area with an existing studio-apartment structure that stayed put. Bedrooms are now in abundant supply: the three-level main abode boasts four on its top story and two on the above-ground lower level, while the new guest quarters offer a couple more.

In the main digs, the architect positioned the open living/dining area along the rear of the first floor. Three sets of French doors open to a wide deck; the dining space spills out to a screened porch thanks to NanaWall folding doors. “We were trying to capture the ocean views in the hang-out areas,” she explains. “That run-on sentence of glass addresses the view. We really wanted to create a strong connection to the water.”

A Delaware native, the owner spent many childhood summers near the shore—and developed a lasting soft spot for “simple, wood-shingled beach houses.” Lending a sense of nostalgia, red cedar shingles stained a mid-toned gray clad the exterior of her new escape. The twin-gable roof strikes a classic note, yet other architectural choices, such as the cable railings on the deck and dune crossover, lean slightly more contemporary.

“This house references traditional, Shingle-style homes, but we wanted to add a modern twist,” states Decker. “You can see it in the details, in the very clean lines. Everything is a little over-scaled—the ceilings are a little higher, the windows are a little taller —to pull the outside in.”

Bowing to the peerless panorama, Decker bathed the interior walls in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and specified white oak for most floors. “It’s a light and airy, beach-like feel,” she observes. “With a neutral palette, your eye isn’t distracted and goes to the view outside. It was more about the textural quality of things.”

Myriad textures and materials converge in the kitchen, which flows off the dining area, forming an L shape. Placed diagonally from each other, two custom-designed pantries project what the architect describes as “a commercial vibe.” One showcases steel-framed glass doors; the other exhibits chalkboard-covered doors. The subway-tile backsplash and stainless-steel appliances and accents reinforce the restaurant-inspired aesthetic.

The design does more than look the part, however. “Food is a big thing for my family,” the homeowner reveals. “The kitchen had to be really functional around multiple people cooking at once.” Two large islands, featuring marble tops with waterfall edges, provide the requisite elbow room. Double sinks also come in handy.

Picking up the airy thread, Jodi Macklin created “comfortable, informal” interiors that not only honor the surroundings but family life as well. She framed the first floor’s glass expanses with operable white sheers. “It was important to keep the drapery light and not interrupt that gorgeous ocean view,” she explains. “We kept all the furniture light too.”

The owner’s trove of treasured heirlooms jumpstarted the furniture plans. “She wanted to include pieces that were really important to her,” the designer discloses. “We started working with everything she had and then added on from there. We repainted and reupholstered and brought a lot of the furniture back to life.”

Take, for example, the passed-down console that sits in the foyer; it previously bore a red-painted finish and now sports a dark one. An easy-to-clean, white fabric from Perennials gives the heirloom McGuire dining chairs a fresh look. Perennials fabric also covers the living room seating. “We always try to incorporate indoor-outdoor fabrics at the beach,” says Macklin. “These spaces are heavily trafficked; the family uses every inch of this house.”

The outdoor spaces see lots of action, too. The ground-level rec room flows onto a covered loggia, which steps down to the limestone deck and pool designed by landscape architect Lila Fendrick. Cloistered between the house and the original 1980s guest quarters, “the pool is really a magical spot,” she proclaims.

Newly installed plants relate to the seaside surroundings. For instance, Fendrick interspersed sea lavender and woolly beach heather among the existing grasses on the dune. “It’s a soft, feathery look,” she notes. “It’s low-key and meant to look very simple.”

The owner cherishes her summers at the shore, but also enjoys her new retreat year-round. “This is kind of the designated house for my family,” she reports. “We eat here together on Sundays and might have a table set for 20 or 30 on the deck, out by the ocean. This house is about sharing meals and sharing time together. It’s really conducive to that.”

Architecture: Anne Decker, AIA, principal; Jon Reinhard, AIA, project manager, Anne Decker Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. Interior Design: Jodi Macklin, principal; Lauren Sparber, senior designer, Jodi Macklin Interior Design, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Builder: Cottage Construction, Bethany Beach, Delaware. Landscape Design: Lila Fendrick, ASLA, Lila Fendrick Landscape Architects, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Landscape Contractor: Michael Prokopchak, ASLA, Walnut Hill Landscape Company, Annapolis, Maryland.

Exterior Paint: Chelsea Gray by benjaminmoore.com. Interior Paint: White Dove by benjaminmoore.com.
Chaises: gloster.com. Chairs: teakwarehouse.com. Pillows on Bench: serenaandlily.com. Rockers: Owners’ collection.
French Doors: andersenwindows.com. Folding Doors: nanawall.com. Rug: pattersonflynn.com. Drapery Fabric: romo.com; villanova.co.uk. Drapery Fabrication: everettdesign.com. Chandelier & Wood-Armed Chairs: palecek.com. Wood-Armed Chairs Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com. Sofa: Owners’ collection. Sofa Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com. Pillow Fabric: larsenfabrics.com. Coffee Table: Owners’ collection. Bar Cabinet: Custom by potomacvalleybuilders.com. Dining Table: Custom by oldtownwoodworking.com. Dining Chairs: vintage. Dining Chair Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com.
Dining Chandelier: palecek.com. Drapery Fabric: romo.com; villanova.co.uk. Drapery Fabrication: everettdesign.com. Console: Owners’ collection. Drum Chandelier: bonesimple.com.
Cabinetry: Custom by potomacvalleybuilders.com. Perimeter Cabinet Paint: Ammonite by farrow-ball.com. Island Base Paint: Off-Black by farrow-ball.com. Marble Countertops: unitedstatesmarbleandgranite.com. Island Pendants: alexallenstudio.com. Hood: Custom by annedeckerarchitects.com. Tile Backsplash: waterworks.com. Glass Pantry Cabinet: Custom by potomacvalleybuilders.com. Glass Pantry Fabrication: akmetalfab.com. Bar Stools: palecek.com.
Table: Custom by oldtownwoodworking.com. Chairs: vintage. Chair Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com. Console: salvationsaf.com. Chandelier: palecek.com. Cabinet Design: annedeckerarchitects.com.
Bed: sonderliving.com. Rug: pattersonflynn.com. Chair & Chair Fabric: kravet.com. Bedding: matouk.com. Ottoman: kravet.com. Ottoman Fabric: mokumtextiles.com. Night Tables: lawsonfenning.com. Table Lamps: Owners’ collection. Cabinet Design: annedeckerarchitects.com.
Vanities, Tub & Washbowl: duravit.us. Hardware: houseofrohl.com.


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