The property’s name Running Cedar comes from the native groundcover Lycopodium digitatum that carpets much of the beech, hickory, poplar and oak woodland of this 80-acre Fauquier County, Virginia, property. It’s remarkable features are its rolling topography and proximity to the Rappahannock River, which bounds its southern¬≠most edge. In 2002, the owner purchased this undisturbed site and assembled a design team to develop his personal living environment including a house, guest house, and gardens for relaxing and entertaining.

Running Cedar was a landscape architect lead and site-driven project where summer entertaining in the garden was as important as the house itself. This was to be a house in a garden, and not a house with a garden. The project was conceived as a weekend retreat from the owner’s fast-paced Washington, DC professional life. The client wanted a house and garden with a modern aesthetic and sensibility, but also appreciated the classic Virginia “Hunt Box” seen throughout the region. The result was a fresh interpretation of a classic Virginian home.

The intersection between modern and tradition merged as the interdisciplinary collaboration between owner, landscape architect, architect, and interior designer matured. Running Cedar would be a house designed around a garden as opposed to the inverse. Oriented along the north-south axis of this ridge, the vernacular-inspired house and guest house were conceived as a ‘garden wall’. An east-west garden spine punctures the house and establishes a clear boundary between the articulated garden space and the natural southern slope towards the river.

Key rooms were planned around their relationships to sunlight, solar gain, and garden connections. The east and west gardens flank the ‘garden wall’, organized into ordered, open, and richly planted garden rooms that accentuate the ridgeline location of the house and proximity to the river. In contrast to the open and spacious attitude of much of the garden rooms, the north-south architectural backbone was literally broken, cleaving guest quarters/pool house from the main house to create the most inward and intimate of the exterior spaces, the central courtyard.

  • 2008 Merit Award, American Society of Landscape Architects, Potomac Chapter
  • 2009 Washington Residential Design Award