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Intro


Some houses are built around a view

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Intro


Some houses are built around a view

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Hearth


some around a hearth

Hearth


some around a hearth

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kitchen


some around the kitchen

kitchen


some around the kitchen

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Sundrawing


But rare is the home predicated on celestial events.

Joseph Giovannini, New York Times

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Sundrawing


But rare is the home predicated on celestial events.

Joseph Giovannini, New York Times

Gallery

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Prana Pratishtha

The Analima on the right is in dialog with the Ibis on the left. This is a Hindu ritual performed by the sculptor of sacred iconography. The eyes of the statue of a god or goddess are the final thing to be created. The ritual is “the opening of the eyes of the deity” so that it becomes the vessel through which divine blessing can be transmitted.  Because Jospehine’s house was designed for the Sun Drawing, I see this Sun Drawing as opening the eyes of her special home to the light...”

 --Janet Saad Cook (8/6/99)

 

 

The Sun Drawing

Lightcatcher Retreat was designed around a Sun Drawing.  A Sun Drawing is a changing image of light. Artist Janet Saad-Cook shapes and assembles reflective materials (mirrored metals and optically coated glass) and positions the reflective instrument in a pre-selected path of direct sunlight. As sunlight touches the elements, an image of light gradually appears on the wall.  This image slowly and subtly changes as sunlight completes its passage across the reflective elements.  No pigments are used. The optical coatings on the glass are multi-layered interference coatings that break light into the pure colors of sunlight.    

Saad-Cook worked with McInturff Architects and an astronomer to site the house in the optimal path of the sun.  While most homes feature south facing windows to bring in light, Lightcatcher's southern exposure in the main living space is a solid wall that acts as a canvas for the sun's paint.  The sun enters through clerestory windows above the "canvas" and reflects off the sculptured elements, which are suspended from the ceiling on a pulley system designed by the architects to adjust its height and best capture the moving sun through the seasons.  The drawing is visible beginning in September--appearing a bit longer each day until it peaks with the winter solstice on Dec. 21st and then gradually fades each day until disappearing sometime in March.

In architectural history, the buildings that channel sunlight are usually religious structures that materialize light, as though the finger of God were making a divine point by marking space at a designated time.
— Joseph Giovannini, NYT Design Notebook review of Lightcatcher Retreat
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Home Features


Home Features

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Home Features


Home Features

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Interior Amenities:

Living/Dining Room
Wood-burning stove
Kitchen (fully equipped)
2 Bedrooms with en suite baths
Loft with twin over full bunk bed
Powder Room
Bed/Bath linens provided
Washer/Dryer
Radiant heat
Central air conditioning
Wireless internet access
Sonos music system (Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirrius/XM, CD)
Sun Drawing (September - March)
Books & Magazines of local interest
Binoculars
Games

 

 

Exterior Amenities

Hot tub
Hammock
Three porches/decks
Nature trail
10.5 wooded acres of privacy
Horseshoes & bocce ball
Weber gas grill


Wildlife includes deer, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, owls
turkeys, turtles, toads & salamanders
 

 

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From Our Guests


From Our Guests

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From Our Guests


From Our Guests

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“We knew that the home would be unique. We didn’t know how much we were going to love it! The whole atmosphere was peaceful. My Mother did not want to leave for anything. Dinners with family and sightseeing didn’t interest her. She just wanted to stay here. The birds would come to sing to us on the deck. Hummingbirds at the honeysuckle bush. The view out the back window was amazing. Day and night. The night view was a real delight. The nature trail was fun. Little toads were hopping about. I couldn’t believe how tall the trees are. ”                                   
— Lauretta Y., July 2014
 
 
“Stepping into the home is amazing, seeing the two story wall of glass with an unusual but captivating view of the trees that tower over the home... Since it is in a forest, one should be prepared for abundant other life going on around you. At night, the sounds are incredible to listen to.”

— Guests from New Mexico, July 2015

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“Six of us came to the Lightcatcher for a family reunion. We traveled from Canada, Ireland and Australia. The property is a lot more spectacular than the pictures portray, it truly is a unique, relaxing, wonderful place to stay. It was exactly as described in the listing, and was very clean and well maintained. Downloading the HomeAway app for my phone was great, Anthony has populated it with so many helpful tips on the house, and also attractions, shopping and restaurant locations. Our kids loved the ice-cream at the B&J carry out just down the road...We would absolutely stay here again, I would love to see it in the winter next time. Overall, I found it really good value for money and a really great travel experience.”

— Kevin B., June 2015

 
“It is a lovely setting, a fun house. We were able to see the sun drawing and deer. It surprised us that they came closer when we turned the outside lights on.”

— Stuart, November 2014

 

"This uniquely designed house is close to National Harbor and convenient to Washington, DC, yet it seems miles apart. With its comfortable beds, well-equipped kitchen and deck with BBQ, it is the perfect setting for a peaceful get-away. We were fascinated by the wide variety of wildlife which appeared from the surrounding Piscataway forest, including hummingbirds, deer, even wild turkeys."

--Millar W, October 2015

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Publications


Selected Publications & Awards

Contact Me

Publications


Selected Publications & Awards

Contact Me

Selected Publications, Awards & Recognitions

Lightcatcher Retreat, aka The Withers Residence, has been featured in several books and articles, a few of which are listed here. 

  • Cottages: The New Style, Harper Design International; 2004
  • The Distinctive Home: A Vision of Timeless Design, Taunton Press; 2003
  • In Detail: McInturff Architects; 2001
  • International Architecture Yearbook No. 7, Images Publishing Group; 2001
  • Home, “Single Minded,” February 2001
  • residential architect, “Project of the Year,” May 2000 
  • Baltimore Magazine, "A Simple Plan," 1999
  • Washingtonian, "Drama in Black and White," June, 1999
  • New York Times, "Design Notebook; That Fickle Lover in Design Affairs," November 25, 1999
  • Chicago Tribune, “When Big and Beige isn’t Best,” April 10, 1999
  • Custom Home, “Custom Home Design Award Winners” March/April 1999

Awards & Recognitions

  • Residential architect Project of the Year; 2000
  • AIA/Maryland Society Merit Award; 1999
  • AIA/Washington DC Chapter Award of Excellence in Architecture; 1999
  • AIA/Baltimore Magazine Residential Design Award; 1999
  • Builder’s Choice Grand Award; 1999
  • AIA/Virginia Society Inform Award; 1999
  • AIA/Washingtonian Residential Award; 1999
  • Custom Home Project of the Year; 1999
  • AIA/Potomac Valley Chapter Merit Award;  1998