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This stunning riverside retreat captures postcard-worthy views of the Shenandoah River from the upper-level living areas while nestling its inhabitants in the spacious bedrooms below.  A variety of cladding gives the seemingly simple structure textural complexity with materials that are raw and left to weather naturally.  Poplar bark siding and Cor-Ten corrugated metal require no finishing and age beautifully.  Architecture by Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C.   

Photos by Nathan Webb, Reader & Swartz Architects


Designed by the owner/architect, this weekend retreat perches above the Shenandoah River and takes in a wonderful view of an idyllic Valley farmstead.  The cedar built-in cabinetry and doors were designed in collaboration with the owner and built by Houseworks as was the board-formed concrete fireplace.  Formwork from the fireplace was later used to form the concrete fire-pit.    

Photos by Chris Ambridge

modern farmhouse

Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C. designed this modern take on the classic white farmhouse found throughout the Shenandoah Valley.  It's spacious living areas are flanked with large windows to take in the expansive view of the valley (with the family farm in the foreground) and distant mountains to the North.  Although completely white, the variations in siding give the exterior a visual richness as the eye gets closer.  Various widths of Boral lap siding and pressed tin panels are used to delineate the seemingly separate volumes while also linking them as if there was originally a singular farmhouse that had been added on to over the years.

Photos by Nathan Webb, Reader & Swartz Architects

She shed
Approximately 2 years following the completion of the Modern Farmhouse (above), Houseworks returned to design and build another structure that is equally focused on taking advantage of the mountain view.  This is a multipurpose building that can function as a garage, crafting space, gathering hall, and will soon act as a support facility to an in-ground pool that is snugged into the hillside so as not to obstruct the grand view.  The multi-panel door at the porch end is able to open completely allowing the interior and exterior space to flow together seamlessly.  The various size wood doors were built by Houseworks on site.  They are made of cedar and finished with a natural stain made from vinegar and steel wool.  
Photos by Will Martindale
THorntree hill
Built in 2012, this unique farmhouse embraces its surroundings with expansive deck space and a third floor porch.  Here, architects Reader & Swartz, distinctly house the living areas and bedroom spaces into 2 volumes connected by a hyphen structure that functions as a back porch entryway.  The timber trusses extend to the exterior to provide shade against the summer sun, a common passive-solar strategy that dramatically reduces heat gain on the South wall which is primarily glass.  
Photos by Nathan Webb, Reader & Swartz Architects
American British
country house
This American take on a traditional British country house was influenced by the owners upbringing in England.  The stunning symmetry of the brick shell is punctuated by the repeated large windows and softened by the elaborate wood framing on the porches.  The living spaces on the main level are very bright and open with windows on 3 walls of each room.  The bedrooms occupy the second floor and the third level houses office space and provides access to an upper deck which takes in a grand view of the property and distant mountains.   The main house and porch spaces were designed by Reader and Swartz Architects.  The smaller house that is connected via porch space is occupied by the clients mother and was designed by Houseworks. The houses were built consecutively in 2018-2019. 
Photos by Nathan Webb, Reader & Swartz Architects
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