Sustainable Sand Castle This Bethany Beach house blends the ocean’s blue with an architect’s green designs.

0
176

For architect Scott Edmonston, it was an “Aha!” moment. Standing on the framed-up roof of the beach house he had designed, the ocean in the distance, he realized that his vision was coming to fruition.
“I should have been thinking objectively about what needed to be done next,” he says. “But I’m standing there instead thinking: ‘This works. This is awesome.’”

Edmonston says his vision was to create a house that was “fun,” while committing to sustainability and site-specific design — and using the location’s natural elements in the structure.

“It is definitely one of my favorite projects,” says Edmonston of the three-balcony beach house with a roof deck, a green home situated on a 40-foot-wide lot in Bethany Beach, Delaware. The house includes 3,000 square feet of living space and another 1,000 square feet on its lower level for garage and storage.

Edmonston was hired to design the house by Darcy and Kathy Williamson of Virginia. And it was a turning point for him. “I got that commission during a time when there was some question of whether or not this was going to work, going out on my own,” says Edmonston, who previously worked for a Washington, D.C. firm.

Since then, Edmonston and his team, SEA Studio Architects, based in Bethany Beach, have thrived, receiving awards and recognition for their work. Most recently, the firm received an award for design
excellence from the Delaware Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for another local beach house.

According to Edmonston, the Williamsons were ideal clients for what he wanted to do. “They were willing to not design and build the same house that everyone else had,” he says. “They wanted to design something that was uniquely them.”

And that included a sustainable house. With the use of solar panels, a geothermal heating and cooling system and other features, the house produces the same amount of energy as it consumes.

“We’re trying to design houses and buildings that can really exist as independently as possible,” Edmonston says. And as such, he works with the natural environment to enhance the house as well. Without it, “you lose a sense of place,” he says. “You lose a sense of that connection to the environment, the smell of the ocean.  And that comes from trying to fight the environment rather than work with it.”

“People want to be where with the windows are open,” Edmonston continues. “So we can design around that. We can design around cross ventilation.” For example, he designed the Williamson house to have large windows and a retractable overhead door that connects the living room to a screened porch, taking full advantage of ocean breezes.

Although self-admittedly not a “beach person,” Edmonston does enjoy the vibe of the beach community. “I love the attitude,” he says. “People are more relaxed and casual. They are more willing to let us have fun with the designs and run with them.”

In the case of this house, it’s making waves. “People will say to me, ‘I’m usually a traditionalist. I only like
Cape Cods. But I really love that house,’” Edmonston says.

[tie_slideshow]

[tie_slide]

[/tie_slide]

[tie_slide]

Edmonston describes this part of the house as “just a fun room.” Fun is an important component of his vision in designing beach houses. “It’s one of our firm’s guiding principles,” he says. “And we often get to work with people willing to have fun with their houses because they are beach houses.”

[/tie_slide]

[tie_slide]

Edmonston wanted the great room “to feel bigger than it really is.” An overhead retractable door separates the screened porch from the dining area, making a “relatively small space feel much bigger and act much bigger than it really is,” Edmonston says. “A flow between interior and exterior spaces is ideal for entertaining.”

[/tie_slide]

[tie_slide]

The high windows in the guest bathroom provide privacy but also light. “As long as there is daylight you can be in that room and it is private, but you will still have light. You can take a shower without your neighbors knowing about it,” he says with a chuckle.

[/tie_slide]

[tie_slide]

The screened porch with its retractable door and large windows provides plenty of natural cross ventilation from ocean breezes. “It’s about working with the environment, not against it,” Edmonston says.

[/tie_slide]

[tie_slide]

“We pretty much designed the whole house around the roof deck,” Scott Edmonston says. “Having an ocean view was important to (the homeowners).”

[/tie_slide]

[/tie_slideshow]

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here