Jim Rill of Rill Architects, www.rillarchitects.com, has been designing new custom homes as well as renovations and additions to existing homes since 1987. Whether traditional or modern or something in between, Rill Architects works closely with clients to create spaces that respond to their unique personalities, lifestyles, and values. Rill and his team are dedicated to creating “naturesque” designs that bring nature into the house and the house into nature. “Taking your cues from the outdoor elements allows you to live within your surroundings without having an adverse effect on the environment,” says Rill.
Discuss a few of your recent projects. Are you designing more new custom homes or renovations?
We are designing a mix of new custom homes and renovations. For instance, we’re working on projects in the Washington, DC region including Leesburg and Mount Vernon, Virginia and Cabin John, Maryland, as well as in Tennessee, Alaska, and Montana. It’s always rewarding to work on projects locally and across the country.
For custom homes and renovations, name a few of the must-haves that owners are asking for.
Homeowners are really looking at the way a house flows to the outside to create an extension of living spaces. Porches and terraces with fireplaces and firepits continue to be in demand.
One of the largest custom homes we have designed recently is a 16,000-square foot, four-story mansion built on part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate that took five years to complete. The 16.5-acre property has many vantage points to take in the outdoor setting, including multiple covered porches overlooking the Potomac River and landscaped gardens with gazeboes along the base of the property.
Homes we renovate range from a whole house renovation and addition to updates to main spaces, such as kitchens and baths. A recent renovation we completed on Gibson Island, Maryland embraced the home’s midcentury modern style. We expanded and rearranged the footprint to create a more functional floor plan, as well as one that also provided extensive views of the environment.
Of your recent projects, what is a favorite, a dream project?
I love all the projects we work on for various reasons, especially because we meet incredible homeowners. A recent favorite is a new custom home we’re designing in Montana. It’s very much about open living and connecting to the surroundings. Its simple, strong connection to the outside and its single floor living are very appealing. There are a series of masses linked by glass walkways, providing support and living spaces that are open to one another for a compound feel.
Have you had to make adjustments to home designs due to the chain supply issues?
We do make adjustments, but not ones that affect the design. We continue working while waiting on certain items and adjust our schedules accordingly. If needed, we provide temporary refrigerators, for instance, using existing ones or find an alternate new one until the one the owners selected is delivered.
What style of homes are you getting the most requests for? Or do you still design a variety of homes?
We are designing a mix of home styles from traditional to modern and everything in between. We customize designs to meet the needs of the homeowners. If renovating and requested, we stay true to the home’s existing style. For new, we listen to what the homeowners are drawn to. It’s an exciting time to be an architect in the nation’s capital and to work around the country bringing owners’ visions and dreams to life.
Jim Rill, AIA, principal of Rill Architects, www.rillarchitects.com, has an undergraduate degree in visual studies from Dartmouth College and a Master’s in Architecture from The Catholic University of America. Rill, a fifth-generation Marylander, has been designing custom homes, additions and renovations since 1987. He works closely with clients to create spaces that are innovative and tasteful, responding to homeowners’ unique personalities, lifestyles and needs. Rill Architects’ award-winning homes have been featured in hundreds of publications locally and nationally.