A 70s-Modern Gem in Clarksville

To anyone who passes off DC/Baltimore suburban architecture as traditional blah, take a look at THIS:

My jaw completely dropped when Margaret Korz sent me these pictures of her house in Clarksville, MD, a suburb of Baltimore and about 45 minutes from DC. I immediately wanted to know which preeminent architect designed it.

None, she responded in an e-mail. Would that be a problem? Turns out, when she and her husband were looking for property in 1970, they found these five acres in what was then the Boondocks. They had a modern sensibility — Margaret grew up 20 miles from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin — and, she said, “I’ve been an architecture buff since I was child. I always loved houses.”

They initially investigated purchasing a pre-fab Deck House, but it turned out to be too expensive. So she and her husband designed their own dream house.  Forty years later, it still looks completely new and fresh. And Margaret is so passionate about it, she wrote me a three-page, single-spaced e-mail describing her influences, inspirations, and the way it was all constructed.

Inspirations for the house included Philip Johnson's Glass House in Connecticut and Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House in Illinois.

“Continuing in the vein of warmth and natural materials, we committed to the best quality materials — handmade brick with natural colors [in the rear of the house, not shown] since we couldnt’ afford stone — and clear red oak hardwood floors which we thought were easier to maintain than carpet.”

And rather than buying up lots of art, they clad the house in as much glass as was structurally possible, so the changing seasons of their gorgeous property provides all the visual beauty.

The plan of the first floor is completely open. The only door on the entire floor leads to the power room.

The house was constructed during the 1974 energy crisis, another era where “one could not help but think green,” Margaret wrote in her e-mail.” All that glass is tempered and insulated, and the largest glass wall is oriented toward the woods, which gets cool shade in the summer and, when the trees are bare, warming heat in the winter. They also incorporated more insulation than was necessary between the floors, behind the walls, and around the HVAC ducts.

The spiral staircase runs spans the house's three floors. There are built-in bookcases throughout.

When it came to planning the kitchen, Margaret told me, “I did not want dark wood [cabinets]. I did not want stuff with arches carved in the front of the doors. I wanted something that was light and durable.” That’s why she chose St. Charles cabinets, made of white metal. (In fact, that’s how Margaret found me, when I blogged about St. Charles last month.)

The kitchen includes two sinks and shelves that roll out -- common details in today's kitchen, but rare in the 1970s.

Upstairs, they created bedrooms virtually enclosed in glass, so their kids could live like they were in a treehouse. Margaret also includes lots of huge storage closets, because she was so frustrated by how every other house they had looked at had such puny storage space.

Ignore the furnishings for a moment, and check out those totally awesome hanging ball lights for the bedside tables! There is also another huge window to the left of the chair.

Now, if you are reading this post and thinking, “Wow, I really want that house,” guess what — you can have it! The Korz’s are putting the house on the market, as they are downsizing since their children have grown in moved out. Margaret is a real estate agent, and you can find all the details on her site right here.

She said it was really hard to make this decision,  but it will give a chance to some lucky person to snap it up.

“Generally, everyone — whether guests are repairmen — have this kind of wide-eyed jaw-drop upon entering, and often rush to the windows,” she wrote in her e-mail. “The house seems to energize people — I think that feng shui must be right.”

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Comments

  1. This is just to die for. It’s pretty much my dream house. And I love that she designed it herself!!

  2. Yes, please. In a heartbeat!

  3. this house looks like it was built only a few years ago .. the only giveaway are those oversized downlights. i love 70’s houses – our last 2 homes were the same era with large expanses of glass with views quite similar (oak trees that gave the most amazing colours to look at) .. that they designed this themselves makes it a real ‘family home’.

  4. My hat is off to them! What a beautiful house.

  5. What a fantastic house on a spectacular lot. I am so envious. Thanks for sharing.

  6. The view alone is worth it’s price in gold. What a fabulous home!