Light-flooded contemporary retreat nestled hillside in Maryland

This private contemporary retreat was designed by  alongside interior design firm , located in a quiet residential neighborhood in Pikesville, Maryland. Highlights of this three bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home includes a spacious, open plan layout, plenty of natural light and unobstructed views and access to the backyard.

The home is nestled into the hillside on the north side, minimizing the scale of its 6,200 square feet, while offering unobstructed access and views to the landscaped backyard, gardens, and wooded ravine beyond the edge of the property. This also helps to decrease heat loss during the winter months, while insulating the home during the hot summer months. Windows that open to the outdoors allows ventilation during temperate months, while providing an indoor-outdoor connection.

The main body of the house is wrapped in a zinc rain-screen system and captures the kitchen, dining and living rooms in a single, monumental 18-foot high space. Smaller spaces, including the entry, a guest bedroom/office, and the master bedroom suite are discreet cedar-sided boxes that plug into the zinc-clad bar. A custom mahogany window wall system blurs interior and exterior spaces extending the great room to the terraces, gardens, and swimming pool.

This project included several sustainable design features, such as high-performance glazing with ceramic frit and large overhangs to help reduce solar heat gain in the summer months. Radiant heat concrete and tile floors in combination with windows that takes advantage of the low-angle sun, keep interior spaces luminous and comfortable throughout the winter.

Awards: 2009 Honorable Mention — Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition / 2008 Merit Award — AIA Maryland / 2008 Design Award — AIA Baltimore / 2008 Residential Design Award — AIA Baltimore

What We Love: This spectacular contemporary retreat offers its inhabitants beautiful living spaces while incorporating sustainable elements in its design. Expansive outdoor living spaces are perfect for entertaining guests, while connecting seamlessly with the interiors. The great room is our favorite space, with its open layout, double volume ceilings, catwalk and eye-catching pops of color throughout.

Readers, tell us, what features in this home do you find most inspiring and why in the Comments below. We love reading your back!

Photos: Alain Jaramillo

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I really like this idea and would like to have a retirement house similar to this but more traditional in feel. I like that the house appears smaller from the street. Also love the windows. I wonder how one can control the heat in a colder more northern state with the 2 level main living area? I think this is outstanding and unconventional. Excellent design for this slopping location.