Usually I cringe when I hear about historic DC area structures being renovated in a contemporary style. Somehow it seems sacrilegious to alter the construction of houses in an area where excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail characterize so many of its older homes. However, when I saw this 100 year old log cabin carefully restored from its dilapidated state and
artfully enhanced to better absorb the beauty of its riverside surroundings, I had to abandon my prejudice and allow myself to be awed. Local builders, Hopkins & Porter, clearly know how to create a happy marriage between the old and the new...
• 1 The front of the cabin kept its heavy classic cabin facade, but the idea of architect, Kai Tong, was to have "the cabin [become] increasingly open and transparent, essentially slowly dissolving away until it becomes an ethereal wall of glass at its other side."
• 2 The house sits on the Maryland side of the Potomac River above the C&O canal. The renovation allowed for aesthetic additions as well as practical eco-friendly updates, such as the rain water collection system used to irrigate planting around the cabin.
• 3 Usually when we think log cabin, we think dim and cozy fire-lit retreat; however with the renovation, this cabin is anything but dark. It still exudes "retreat," but now the back is composed of a floor to ceiling glass wall that "follows the lines of the river" and lets natural light flood into the spacious interior. The new upward slanting roof directs the "view out to the river and up towards the sky."
• 4 Interior designer, Barbara Hawthorn, assisted by Jason Hodges, worked with the owners to furnish the renovated space. The low backs of the seating and slim profiles of most furniture pieces allow for unobstructed views of the gorgeous surroundings.
• 5 When the owners bought the property to prevent the land on which it sat from being subdivided by a developer, the cabin was in need of repair. The cedar logs were mostly intact, but age and neglect had allowed deterioration to set in.
For all the details of this incredible project read Hopkins & Porter architect, Kai Tong's, case study. To learn more about Hopkins & Porter's architecture, construction, and handyman services, visit their website.
(Images: Hopkins & Porter)