Four Gable Contemporary

Location: Deltaville, VA

The heavily wooded hillside lot overlooking the scenic and pristine Piankatank River tributary known as Wilton Creek is a breathtaking place to build a home. The landscape is dramatic and the owners wanted to build a 2500 square foot retirement home to showcase their spectacular waterfront lot.

The design of this home did not evolve organically. With a limited budget and specific needs, decisions and compromises were typically based on maximizing views and managing cost. Within those constraints, the owners wanted a central great room, a master bedroom suite, two additional bedrooms, a kitchen/breakfast area, utility room and attached 2-car garage.

In the hands of our capable architects, a modest one-story home took shape. The dramatic white stained cedar residence was carefully oriented on the site to emphasize prominent views of Wilton Creek and preserve the surrounding hardwood trees. The house was set into the hillside creating two different levels on the riverside elevation with a large cantilevered deck floating above the hillside and four gables that define the roofline and interior space.

With an understanding and sensitivity for the rural architecture of the Middle Peninsula region of Virginia, the massing of the house was fashioned into a series of simple gabled boxes. These modules intersect along their diagonal axis to take advantage of river views and to separate public and private spaces. The twelve-foot modules use repetitive standard building components for both economy of construction and scale. An exposed exterior open beam system emphasizes the modules, defines exterior spaces, frames views out from the home and dissolves the distinction between interior and exterior space.

The house is approached through an open-beam walkway. The front facade with its repeating triangular “sail” theme emphasizes the modules and blocks a visitor’s view of the river. Upon entering the house the compelling river views are revealed. The great room, visually anchored by a central split fireplace which rises through the cathedral ceiling, flows outward to the deck and river beyond. Horizontal pipe rails surround the triangular “sail” shaped deck, providing unobstructed river views and contributing to the nautical atmosphere. Special emphasis was given to the design and placement of hidden exterior lighting, making the house as dramatic at night as it is during the day.