When Laura Hodges started working at an Oxford, Maryland resort in 2019, the pandemic was nowhere in sight. His clients had purchased the sprawling property in 2018 with a vision to build multiple homes for different uses: They liked the idea of small homes spread over 300 acres near the Chesapeake Bay waterfront that could be occupied throughout the seasons. , as the wildflowers came and went.
Working closely with architect Reggie Gibson, Hodges felt it was important that everything in the three-structure complex “feel good in the new environment”. She notes that the designs of the two homes are interconnected, with complementary features such as tile selections providing a sense of synergy between the separate dwellings. (“I wanted to make sure all the properties had a style thread that tied them all together,” Hodges explains.)
This attention to detail was honed during Hodges’ five years of working with these clients on five separate projects. Hodges intuitively understands what they want and, in this case, has everything organized, down to silverware and shampoos.
In particular, sustainable choices have been incorporated throughout the design process. Hodges thought carefully about how his clients could reduce their carbon footprint and installed reclaimed wood cabinetry from the series of tiny houses that originally stood on the property. “They had to sand it all down, pull out the nails, and make it look nice, whenever it was in good enough shape to be able to reuse it,” Hodges says. “Eventually there were none left, so we had to introduce new wood as well. But I thought it was really cool to be able to reuse a lot of materials.
Since customers gravitated towards a rustic atmosphere, the houses are clad in cedar. (The interior walls are whitewashed pine.) The key wasn’t to overdo it to the point where the residential homes looked like caricatures of lodges or shacks, so Hodges opted for the lightening the tone of wooden walls and ceilings. Even the exterior of an old chicken coop was kept and clad in brand new cedar with a newly installed waterproof roof. “[The clients] I didn’t want it to look like this super beautiful, amazing place that’s on the water and completely out of its element,” she says. “But at the same time, we wanted it to be refined and beautiful. So it was about making it refined and rustic.
Although it is difficult to choose a favorite room, the designer is particularly fond of the art studio, with its mezzanine ceilings. “What I love so much is that when I walked into this house, I looked up and you could see the trees through the ceiling framing,” she says. “I was like, ‘The light is amazing here, I want to keep this.’ So we ended up putting in skylights for that reason so the light would still come in and you could look up and see the trees through the ceiling I really wanted to make sure this building looks feel like you were really in the woods.
Of all the challenges Hodges faced while working on the project, one of the most notable was the simple issue of weather. “Between the rain, snow, frost and ice, there was so much going on,” she recalls. Now that it’s some distance, Hodges can laugh at the memory of the day they were finally ready to have all the furniture delivered, but got tripped up by an unexpected rain. (After rushing to the nearest target to buy boots, the team was then tasked with building a makeshift track out of pallets and shipping boards to transport the parts to houses without sliding into the mud pits. go to a castle or something,” she says.)
As far as furniture goes, Hodges sourced an assortment of vintage pieces from 1stDibs and Chairish. From a leather desk chair to a pair of 1960s chartreuse suede chairs, the pieces add character to interiors and “take the novelty out of everything,” as Hodges puts it. “For this property, it seemed very appropriate to bring in rooms where the house could feel like it had been there for a while. I wanted it to be comfortable.” And, due to customer interest in architecture and innate practicality, it was imperative to make sure the property was “liveable and suitable for them,” says Hodges. She adds, “They also really like the idea of creating something aesthetically beautiful and different.”
In its current state, the property includes two gites, as well as another building intended to host events and parties. But Hodges and her guests aren’t done, thanks to a pool house with a laundry room, gym, yoga studio, sauna, massage room, hot tub, cold plunge and more. on the horizon.
“When they’re out there, they’re not necessarily the sit-down type,” Hodges notes. “They want to do things.”