Cliff House

Jefferson County, West Virginia

The restoration of this historic 1835 log and frame cabin, situated on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River near Shepherdstown, West Virginia, brought back to life a structure that had stood abandoned for nearly half a century. The clients’ intent was to restore the original structure and to add a few discreet alterations to allow the cabin to serve as a guest house for Vandalia, a new house on the same property.

Inside, log walls were left exposed to preserve the cabin’s rich heritage. Structural and mechanical solutions were very carefully considered and concealed, and the new second floor bathroom was suspended from the roof structure to avoid overburdening existing exposed beam and planking ceiling of the first floor.

With the help of historic restoration specialists, traces of old foundations discovered during excavations were creatively reinterpreted with the addition of two new porches, detailed seamlessly to blend with the existing structure. Our challenge was to impart a credible patina to new elements in order to allow the renovated ensemble to continue to exude the quirkiness always found in historic structures.

  • Washington Chapter AIA / Historic Resources 2008
  • Washington Chapter AIA / Washingtonian Award 2008
  • Virginia Society AIA / Historic Preservation 2007
  • Northern VA Chapter AIA / Historic Architecture 2007
  • Historic Shepherdstown Preservation Award 2005

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