Day House


John Black Lee


1965


Description

Located off a long winding driveway running through a nature preserve, the flat-roofed, one-story Day House is set on a platform placed in a clearing on a gently sloping, wooded site. The primary entrance is three steps above grade and the basement is fully exposed at the rear of the house. The house originally had a square footprint with an upside-down, squared-off Y-shaped floor plan. Balconies and terraces, all paved with red Welsh tiles set in a herringbone pattern, are covered by the deep cantilevers of the flat roof. At the front of the house, the roof extends 21' beyond the plane of the walls and is supported by two square-shaped, brick-clad piers. The red bricks of the exterior walls and piers are handmade and rubbed with white paint (Lee, 2008). The primary entrance to the house is off of a courtyard through paired, floor-to-ceiling, carved wood paneled doors centered on the facade and set back 26' from the projecting, parallel wings of the squared-off Y. The doors are flanked by broad, floor-to-ceiling expanses of fixed plate glass. Secondary entrances facing the entry courtyard, each a single floor-to-ceiling carved wood paneled door flanked by fixed plate glass sidelights, are found on the projecting wings. The end walls of the projecting el's are solid brick-clad surfaces. Sliding glass doors and sliding windows symmetrically define the bays of the brick-clad walls at the other facades at both the first floor and exposed basement level. In 1993, an indoor swimming pool addition was built at the southeast corner of the building. The addition is clad with brick to match the original brickwork and has a flat roof. An open terrace at the basement level of the southeast corner of the house was also enclosed at this time. In 2006, the open terrace at the basement level (northeast) was enclosed to become a garage.


Significance

In 1957, Lafayette Page III sold an unimproved parcel to Lee G. Day, Jr., who later commissioned architect John Black Lee to design a house to be built on the site for his family. By 1965, the house was completed. The parcel and house stayed in the Day family until Conway M. Day sold the property to Gary and Judith Witkin in 1992. The Witkins built an indoor pool addition and enclosed one of the open terraces at the back of the house. In 1996, the Witkins sold the parcel to Thomas McCaughey, who enclosed the second basement level terrace to create a garage in 2006.

John Black Lee designed the Day House with a Palladian-influenced plan and siting and rich finishes at the interior and exterior, marking it as a high-style example of mid-century Modern residential design. Despite minor changes, the house retains a very high degree of integrity at both the interior and exterior.


National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2009.