John Milner Architects, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, wins a 2018 Palladio Award for their newly constructed house inspired by the architecture of 18th-century Williamsburg.
antefix 1

2018 Palladio Awards
New Design & Construction, less than 5,000 sq. ft.

Project: Kinsley
Winner: John Milner Architects

John Milner Architects, 18th-century house

From the intricate brickwork and taper-sawn cedar-shingle roof to the elegant millwork and hand-forged hardware, it is the 18th-century details that define Kinsley, a three-story waterfront residence in Oxford, Maryland. The owners, Patricia and Jay Heim, admired the President’s House at Williamsburg’s William & Mary college and commissioned John Milner Architects to design a home like it on their 150-acre property. “It was to be a quintessential 1700s house,” says principal John Milner, FAIA, “but they didn’t want to replicate an 18th-century interior. They wanted more informal spaces.”

18th century garden

The visit to the past begins with the quarter-mile of mature trees that leads to the limestone steps of the front door. The Flemish bond pattern of the handmade red bricks, complete with glazed headers and contrasting rubbed brick around the windows, doors, quoins, and water table, sets the time period of the house.

“We laid out all the brick patterns,” says senior associate Edward Wheeler, AIA. “And we sized the windows to work with them.” Adds Milner, “It had to be perfect—you can’t go rogue. There’s a hierarchy in the brickwork design that is akin to the parts of a column, with the base, or lower level, being the simplest.”

Traditional hallway

Jay Heim, who is a builder and millworker, executed much of the work, including the complicated pediment over the front door. One of the house’s more grand features is the back porch, which has three sections—one glass, one open, and one screened.

“The Heims couldn’t decide which to choose,” Milner says. “The solution of using all three speaks to the symmetry of the house.” Milner and Wheeler and the Heims take pleasure in the fact that Kinsley is so in sync with its surroundings.

“Some people who have seen it from the water say, ‘They must have cut down some trees. I never saw the house before,’” Milner says. Adds Wheeler, “Sometimes they ask, ‘When was it built? In the 1700s?’”

modern traditional kitchen

Key Products, Materials & Supplier 

Builder: Jay Heim
Interior Designer: Barbara Gisel Design, Haverford, Pennsylvania,
Brick: Cushwa Handmade Brick, Williamsport, Maryland,
Mason: Spry Masonry, Worton, Maryland
Windows and Doors: Lepage Millwork, Palmer, Massachusetts
Hardware: Michael M. Coldren Co.