Eastern Shore, Maryland.


"Fifty years ago, the owner's father scattered cedar seedlings on the future site of this house, which faces the mouth of a wide river with the Chesapeake Bay close at hand. Today, the tall cedar grove protects the land from the sometimes severe winter storms that come in off the water. 

The shoreline here is but a turning in from the broad reaches of the bay. Someone once said, "the tidewater is the one place on earth where the sea meets the land gently." This almost mysterious quiet--a softening that is immediately apparent --is much in evidence here.

The vernacular houses of the immediate area are white with steep, simple roofs. Nearby, at the end of a long pier, is a century-old boathouse whose form speaks of its simple practicality.

The Blumenthal House faces the water, its similar forms shifting in relation to one another in an attempt to reduce its size by breaking up its massing while reflecting the interior function of each pavilioon. The absence of overhangs, gutters, and trim abstracts the local 19th century houses through a more deliberate and expressed linear restraint. 

For the most part, the interior spaces follow the forms of the roofs and are opened with "finger skylights"--long, narrow openings in the roof that allow the sun to enter the all-white interiors and trace its unexpected path across the floors and walls. All of the openings are either fixed glass windows or sliding glass pocket doors. The wall pockets that hold the doors also contain screened floors and oak shutters with fixed louvers."

Hugh Newell Jacobsen

Source: "Hugh Newell Jacobsen, Architect" (Rizzoli)

Awards: Award of Excellence in Architecture 1971 American Institute of Architects, Honor Award, AIA Middle Atlantic Region 1971, AIA 25 Years of Record Houses

Publications: Architectural Records 1971, Architecture and Urbanism 1971, Washington Post 1971.

Architectural Photography: Robert C. Lautman.