Project Update: Meadow Branch Apartments Phase II

Project Update: Meadow Branch Apartments Phase II

Phase II of Meadow Branch Apartments, a multi-family Luxury Living Community in Winchester, is underway. We are excited to share a few unique features.
This project is our first to design a Canine Activity Center. The center includes an indoor playground and a dog spa where owners can wash their pups. Perfect for dog-lovers and their pets, and relaxing and fun is had by everyone involved.
From the beginning of this project, environmental considerations have been woven into the design, and the design choices can even be seen all the way from a drone (pictures provided below by KBS). We used permeable pavers for some of the parking which is visible in some of the pictures. This type of pavement is gaining interest in North America and acts as a stormwater management system,  reducing heavy flow of run-off.
We also intentionally preserved many trees on-site, including two massive oak trees in the middle of the site which are also visible from the sky. This community makes movement and connection to natural-greenery even more accessible by connecting to a great walking trail and providing extensive bike storage.
Casa Cielo: Blending the in-between spaces

Casa Cielo: Blending the in-between spaces

Designing custom homes in the Shenandoah Valley, like Casa Cielo, is a gift. We absolutely love working with our clients to create their dreams in built form. And this project in particular, where the site for the home had deep meaning and purpose even before we began our work, was so much more than just a gift. 

 Casa Cielo is perched at the top of the property, and the views are magical. This home was carefully placed on  the site to blend the inside of the house to the outside and capture nature’s beauty as the seasons pass. Glass walls wrap around the home on three sides from floor to ceiling, creating  blended “in-between” spaces. The warm wood tones, high ceilings, and modest forms allowed us to  celebrate the site and make the home a refuge. A kitchen on one side of the living space anchors the home to the site; the morning views tell the story of the day, while the functional spaces are all allocated to the rear of the building. Our clients have beautifully complemented the architecture with just the right furniture and fabrics. 

 This project and these clients are so dear to us. We are grateful each time we are trusted to help develop a dream for a new home. This one evolved with such grace and beauty that it has exceeded our expectations. Stay tuned for the release of the portfolio showing all the images of this beautiful home.

Photography by Asha and Susan Beck with assistance from Eric.

#hilltophouse is complete

#hilltophouse is complete

The #hilltophouse is complete, built by Sauder Builders, Inc,. We were able to photograph the inside (outside photos pending the landscape to spring forth with spring weather). #hilltophouse was designed with a goal of allowing family to gather with connection to the outside at all times. The incredible kitchen developed by Lantz Custom Woodworking serves as an anchor in the main living space with the two-story brick wall on the other side of the open living space giving instant character. The exposed steel beams sit on top of the heavy wood timbers that mimic the exterior porch columns supporting the loft above. The open cable rail system allows for the industrial style to take on a modern twist while the wood floors from Weavers Flooring warm the space that will capture many years of memories.

The primary bedroom and bathroom suite is an oasis for relaxation. The brick is carried into this space giving the space instant charm while the large windows and doors open the space to incredible views. The oversized shower and soaking tub will serve as a wonderful place to unwind and relax.

bathtub and roll-in glass shower

The second floor features a bunk room, third bedroom, and gaming room along with another bathroom. This incredible home will be the homestead of many generations to gather and celebrate milestones and holidays.

room with built-in wooden shelves
bunk beds built into the walls

The floating stair blends the industrial and modern style while maintaining the open light style of the living space.

floating wooden staircase

More pictures of the exterior to come as soon as the landscaping come in.

wrap around porch
view of misty mountains from deck
#HilltopHouse is in the final days of construction

#HilltopHouse is in the final days of construction

The #HilltopHouse is in the final days of construction and our client is counting down until move in time. The builder, Sauder Builders, Inc has delivered his signature high level attention to finish details home. The cabinetry done by Lantz Woodworking and, as you would expect from them, is like artwork. The interior brick walls, wood floors, floating stair, exposed steel beam, heavy timber, industrial windows, and wrap around porch are just as we hoped after hearing our client describe what they wanted.

This home is truly a result of listening to the dream of a client and putting the pieces together. We have known these clients for a very long time and have even worked with them in a variety of roles in the community, so we know each other well. It is even more special to hear that their daughter was able to flex her design skills in several parts of the interior of the house.

We are fortunate to have been able to work on their house with them and to get to work with Larry to see this project through to construction. It is breathtaking.


This home is less than 30 days from the finish line and the details are almost done. In a time when delays and shortages have become the norm and when the unexpected has become the expected, I am so impressed with the quality that Larry and his team has been able to deliver.

It is a beautiful home and I know our clients are going to love the space and all the memories they will be able to create here, for many generations to come. This is why we design. Taking the dream that someone has in their mind and putting it on paper so that a builder can execute it – this is the process that should happen. I wish I had gotten to design every corner and pick out every finish, but that’s not what needed to happen on this project. This project had a team and each member of the team brought their skills and knowledge to deliver the dream home that our clients wanted in the end.

We will hopefully get finished photos very soon so you can see it all clean and dust free!!! Stay tuned.

Kicking off a new dream home project

Kicking off a new dream home project

Kicking off a new dream home project has some very special milestones. The first site visit after developing a concept sketch is hugely important to realize a custom home that’s just right for you, and it’s tremendously exciting. You can stand on an open piece of land and say, here is your front door, here are the views from your recliner, you will get a beautiful sunrise while making your morning coffee from here. It is a needed part of the design process for our clients to start to get a feel for their new home, but also to discover any special elements of the site that can enhance the design. It’s hard for most people to visualize a house that is not there yet, but our architects are able to verbally describe what is coming in a way that help clients to feel their design taking shape.

 On this recent visit, a wet day for sure, we were able to get a sense of the slope of the land, talk about driveway location and routing, discuss how to manage the cows on the site, and get a sense of the scale of the home. While we could not see the views due to the cloud cover (we will go back to shoot grades on a slightly dryer day) we could see enough to know that our first sketch worked. We even identified a basement workshop that we didn’t know the slope of the site would allow.

“You can stand on an open piece of land and say, here is your front door, here are the views from your recliner, you will get a beautiful sunrise while making your morning coffee from here.”

Having a trained eye walk the site with you is critical to get the placement of your new home just right. The exact location may move a little throughout the design process or even just before

#wedesignthattoo Kitchen Edition

#wedesignthattoo Kitchen Edition

We get to design a lot of cool spaces for our clients and kitchen design may be one of my favorites. As a former cook at The Virginian restaurant I learned the value of an efficient kitchen with all the right tools. It is so much easier to make delicious food if you have a kitchen that is easy to cook in that does not tire you out walking too much and has the right amount of counter space to prep and serve. We have designed a lot of different kitchens over the years and I went looking for photos this morning of some of my favorites. Some are renovations and some are all new spaces, but all have a special quality to them.


They all are highly functional spaces as well as aesthetically beautiful.


Some are all new spaces.

They all are special to the home design and to us.

So yes, we design kitchens too, as well as additions, renovation, new construction……