Sue Ann Lewine says the dramatic, contemporary “deck house” on Wolf Run Shoal Road is a testament to the aesthetics and creativity of her former partner, Thomas Neufer.
“Tom spent years pondering the design of the house before it was built,” said Sue Ann about Neufer, a former Defense Department employee who died in spring 2012. “But he got the home that he wanted. While many deck homes have dark wood walls and floors, this house is filled with light.”
The three level, post-and-beam home, built in 1996, showcases glass – including floor-to-ceiling windows, skylights, clerestory windows, and glass blocks — to maximize light and create passive solar energy.
In the vaulted-ceiling family room, a south-facing, two-story wall of windows overlooks the front yard of the home’s nearly five acres of wooded grounds. “When you look out you see a wall of green --or in the fall, of rust colors,” said Sue Ann, a chiropractor who lived at the home with Tom for 11 years until his passing. She said that while the massive windows allow natural light, the home’s overhanging eaves prevent too much direct sunlight from beating into the 30’ x 14’ room and overheating it during summer months.
Tom made extensive use of glass blocks to create unusual decorative elements and affect light coming into and out of the home. A family room exterior wall that parallels the home’s front stoop and walkway features a two-story, trapezoidal wall inset made of glass blocks. The blocks filter soft, natural light into the family room during the day, and allow light from family room lamps and overhead lighting to shine through and illuminate the outside pathway at night.
Tom also designed a collection of smaller glass block squares and rectangles along a family room interior wall that is shared with the home’s foyer. The blocks not only provide additional opportunity for shared light between the foyer and the family room, but also create a striking decorative pattern.
The most unusual use of glass blocks is in the 16’ x 29’ living room, however. “Tom had a glass block floor put into part of the living room,” Sue Ann said. “It allows light from the living room to reach into the finished basement, where there are no windows.” Sue Ann noted that Tom, an audiophile, used the living room as a music room to listen to his large collection of CDs and vinyl albums.
Like the windows, the rooms in the open concept home – which includes family, dining and living rooms, an eat-in kitchen with office area, and a mudroom and laundry on the main level -- are non-traditional. “The house has very few rectangular rooms. The rooms have Feng Shui type angles,” Sue Ann said. “Tom also liked variety in the levels of the floors.” Some of the main level rooms are step-downs.
Sue Ann said some features of the more than 4,000 square foot home were impacted by Tom’s size, especially his 6’6” height. “He wanted tall ceilings and had hallways and doors made wider. He had the kitchen counters raised an inch taller than standard,” she said.
The home utilizes different textures and types of natural materials. While most walls are drywall topped with light colored paint, some are exposed, multi-colored brick, part of the family room’s towering brick fireplace chimney. Ceilings are pale, tongue-and-groove wood with mahogany beams and trim. Main level flooring is either light hardwood or white ceramic.
The carpeted second level has a loft that overlooks the family room. It includes an office area and a master bedroom sitting space with a fireplace. A transom above the master suite door has etched glass panels in a tree pattern that was designed by Tom.
The 20’ x 14’ master bedroom has a vaulted wood ceiling with wood trusses and skylights. A wall of the master closet is only three-quarters, rather than floor-to-ceiling. “That allows natural light from the skylight in the bedroom closet to come into the bedroom,” Sue Ann noted. To provide more privacy in the master bedroom, some windows are positioned high on the walls. None of the windows in the house have window treatments.
The three-bedroom home has 3.5 baths and a recently finished basement with a 15’x 28’ recreation room. Outside, there is a screened porch off the kitchen, a second-floor deck off the master bedroom, and a multi-level back deck with a hot tub and an outdoor cooking area in the back yard.
A Feng Shui inspired dry bed stream with a French drain beneath is an unusual outdoor feature. It is lined with rocks from the property and with Japanese maple, grasses, and a variety of other plantings put in by Tom, who also kept a large organic garden.
Mainly for environmental reasons, Tom also chose to keep his driveway unpaved. “It’s not easy to plow in the winter if we get a lot of snow, but it helps with the [water] run off,” Sue Ann pointed out.
“I love the way it feels, the light, airy feel of this house,” Sue Ann said. That made it bittersweet to put the home on the market through Carol Hermandorfer with Long and Foster Realtors.
“I love the way it feels, the light, airy feel of this house.”
The house is now on the market for $899,900 through Carol Hermandorfer with Long and Foster Realtors.