A Georgian Classic
THE DESIGN OF COUNTRY HOUSE, was inspired by the work of Virginia architect, William Lawrence Bottomley (1883–1951), whose Neo-Georgian houses are generally considered the finest examples of domestic Georgian architecture built in the1920s and 1930s. Evocative of his style, the house is deliberately conservative yet rife with sophisticated and beautiful details that infuse it with a certain playfulness. The heavily detailed entrance portico features Ionic columns, finely carved dentils and leaded glass windows in the sidelights and transom. Brick quoins and recessed panels provide crisp definition to the exterior of the house, while the proportions of the first- and second-floor windows lend a wonderful sense of hierarchy to the overall structure. With delicate wrought iron balconies and solid shutters, the first-floor windows are both taller and grander than the second-floor windows, a characteristic feature of Georgian architecture meant to reflect the importance of the rooms behind.
While classic Georgian style evolved during the nearly 120 years that comprised the Georgian period (from the accession of George I in 1714 to the death of George IV in 1830), it always remained faithful to one defining element: the grand symmetrical façade. Life in the 21st century, however, defies symmetry. Families today place a premium on comfort and convenience. They want functional spaces never envisioned during the Georgian period—a family room, mud room, breakfast room and multi-car garage—and they want these spaces clustered in close proximity to the kitchen, which has grown in size and prominence to become the heart of the home. Together with the dining room, this cluster of functional spaces leads to a lopsided floor plan, a contradiction of the very essence of Georgian architecture. To resolve this dilemma and preserve the home’s symmetry, Wadia placed the garage, mudroom and family room in a separate wing, which was set back considerably from the main body of the residence and partially tucked behind the rear elevation. This imaginative reinterpretation of traditional design renders the house both modern and livable while remaining faithful to classic Georgian style.