Phillips Project / Zen House
For years, the client and a close coterie of friends made summer sojourns to the same beach house on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, where many memories, stories and legends were born. Following the demolition of this fabled retreat, Mr. Phillips resolved to create a place for himself and his friends more convenient to his home in Washington, D.C. His new beach house is set on an island in the beautiful and federally protected tidal marshlands adjoining Rehoboth Bay, at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The program called for a place that could host a large group of guests who could choose to come together in groups or alternately find repose and reflection away from the others.
In response to this and to Mr. Phillips’ desire to foster a “Zen” sense of space, the house was conceived and proportioned to reflect a three-dimensional meridian-based pattern of organization that provides both a sense of intimacy and, if necessary, seclusion without separation. There are three screened porches, a large deck and four bedrooms. The generous, sinuously connected living spaces are positioned on the upper floor to provide maximum exposure to the surrounding natural beauty. The interiors offer intentionally composed sightlines and panoramic views of Rehoboth Bay, the magnificently textured marsh and its veritable wild-kingdom collection of animal life. Among the neighbors are Blue-Heron, Osprey, Cardinals, White-tailed Deer, Red Fox and Turtles.
Taking full advantage of its Southern orientation, the house was designed with passive solar principles in mind. Broad eaves shield the interior spaces from solar heat gain in the summer while allowing the sun to warm the interior spaces during winter months. The house was constructed with non-toxic adhesives and paints, sustainably produced exterior trim material, hot water on-demand system, energy star rated HV/AC systems and windows, white cool-roofs with soybased closed cell spray foam insulation and a large photovoltaic solar panel array on the upper roof area. The cement based exterior cladding forms a rain screen and is composed with 30% recycled post-consumer waste product.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Architecture/ Design Services/ Interior Design/ Construction Administration
Final Project Size:
4200 Square Feet
Type of Construction:
Interiors with Baron-Gurney Interiors, Therese Baron-Gurney
Orndorf & Associates
DVASE, Excellence in Structural Engineering, Orndorf & Associates