If this new house and surroundings could be imagined as a nautical vessel, then its integral kitchen would certainly have to be its “pilot house”.
The property abuts Grays Inn Creek, a deep-water tributary of the Chesapeake Bay region. The vestiges of a former peach-basket facility, offered the owner the opportunity to assemble a team to design a new home within the stringent rules necessitated by the presence of a rich, wetlands setting. The house is organized around a courtyard with a 100-year old willow oak tree as its centerpiece.
Sitting proud on the side of the main wing is an attached screen porch with inverted peak roof that collects and spouts rainwater, marking an axis, and directing the way to the shore and dock beyond. The source within, from where this well-rooted porch emerges, is the kitchen of the house, the “helm” of the ship.
Standing in the kitchen, at the controls of a 48” commercial range imbedded in a 5’x 9’ island, orients the axial view over the range, through the screen porch, down the path to the dock and water’s edge. The same axis to the rear, crosses the 4’ x 8’ eat-in island (with integral native-oyster trough), capturing the view to the courtyard and inland outbuildings.
The cross-axis of the kitchen is the axis of the main wing and skewers the Living Room to the right and the Dining Room to the left, each buffered from the kitchen by visually-perforated “working walls” that incorporate assorted stone counters, appliances, and cabinetry. Together the four “floating” elements: the two islands plus the two working walls, are placed to anchor the crossing of the two primary visual axes, and form the ponding area which is the “pilot house” kitchen.