Merle Thorpe Architects

Guest Cottage

Owners of a 150-year old home on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula asked us to renovate an existing outbuilding and turn it into a guest cottage. Their property lies on Weston Creek, which is part of the East River drainage north of the York River and within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Bay Area. We enlarged an exisitng shed roof appendage to accommodate a new bathroom, and conditioned the space for year-round use. We also added a wood-burning fireplace in the location of an abandoned wood stove flue. The original structure may have been a reconstruction of an earlier kitchen building, which would have been moved when the kitchen wing to the main house was extended in an earlier era. In designing the shed roof addition, we echoed the roofline of the kitchen wing.

The owners refer to this guest cottage as the Artist’s Studio, which seems fitting for a structure that has a “separate, yet apart” sensibility about it: the cottage remains part of the farm-like assortment of outbuildings, yet it is the only outbuilding conditioned for human habitation; and while the structure of the outbuilding is similar in style to the kitchen wing, it nonetheless remains physically distinct from the main house.




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