This ample beach house occupies an oceanfront site in an environmentally responsible planned community in Delaware. It is designed to accommodate an extended family of three generations, as well as various friends and other relatives.
Set behind the dune line, the house rises four stories to take advantage of views of the beach and ocean. Each level plays a separate role. The ground level, with garages and beach showers, is break-away construction required to survive potential flooding. The first floor bedrooms and the third floor master bedroom suite sandwich the main living spaces of the second floor. A triple-height stair hall unites the top three floors and opens the entry up to the main living level. On top, accessed by the elevator that serves all levels, is an open belvedere.
Exterior materials, colors and roof slopes are prescribed in this community. "Within this vocabulary, we sought a simple pyramidal massing strategy, which contrasts with the fussiness of neighboring deck-encrusted, over-articulated assemblages," says architect Mark McInturff, AIA.
The plan is equally simple, with the different floors being variations of the subdivision of a nine-square grid. A solid face is presented to the street, but the grid is carved away on the ocean side to maximize the views from the interior of the house. This also creates what is perhaps the most important space -- an open deck off the living area, whose flanking towers frame the view and provide privacy from the open decks of the closely situated neighbors. Here, the entire family can congregate at home for a serene moment away from their busy worlds.
ARCHITECT: Mark McInturff ...... PHOTOS: Julia Heine