Grand Award: Old-New Conversation

The renovation of a neglected Queen Anne Victorian listed on the National Register of Historic Places uses materials and massing elements to relate the new house to the old.

The Victorian farmhouse, circa 1889, was one of the original homes in the town of Somerset, Md. It had been abandoned in the late 1970s after a fire.

Rill Decker designed a two-and-a-half-story addition behind the existing structure.

The addition (right side of photo) doesn't attempt to replicate the Victorian-era house, but responds to the structure in terms of proportion, massing, and architectural elements.

What designer Anne Decker calls a "hyphen" joins the historical structure to the new construction. A computer sharing area is housed in the link.

In remodeling and adding to this Queen Anne, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Rill & Decker Architects was required by the local historic preservation commission to clearly delineate the old from the new. The firm took the language of the historical home and interpreted it in a more contemporary way.

Three window wells in the great room look out over the "secret garden."

Looking in toward the great room from the "secret garden."

The varied rooflines impressed the judges. "We tried to tell the story of what was going on inside," says architect Anne Decker.

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