A Private Residence At West Strand, Oxford, Maryland

The restoration and new construction at West Strand artfully balances a concern for historic preservation with a cutting-edge focus on sustainability and full access for people living with disabilities. The starting point was a simple pre-existing Victorian structure situated on a long, narrow lot measuring 50 by 200 feet. The renovation and addition transformed the house, making it fully wheelchair accessible while also introducing new and traditional forms of sustainable living that are easy to maintain and offer a cost effective reduction in operating expenses. The focus of the project was to implement these design ideas while also restoring the specially crafted elements of the old house to preserve the intimacy and natural beauty of the location.

After working with the regional Historic and Planning Commissions on an eight-month process of local reviews, the approved solution reflected a respect for the vernacular style—discreetly blending the old with new innovations. The Victorian structure was stripped down to its essential forms, opening the spaces into a series of connected rooms around the new central spine running from north to south, leading through the new studio into the garden and guest cottage at the south end of the property. The craftsmen peeled away the redundant layers of several previous alterations and restored the original woodwork where possible. New standard construction practices and materials were introduced, balancing efficiency, cost, and aesthetics.

For more information on these projects, see (Swedish Interiors, Preservation and Listening to the Earth).