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Cliff House

Cliff House

— Jefferson County, West Virginia —

THIS HISTORIC 1835 log and frame cabin is situated on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River near Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Abandoned for nearly half a century, the original structure was restored and augmented with a few discreet alterations so that the cabin can serve as a guest house for Vandalia, a new house on the same property.

Inside, the log walls were left exposed to preserve the cabin’s historic appeal. Structural and mechanical solutions were artfully integrated, and the new second-floor bathroom was suspended from the roof structure to avoid overburdening the existing exposed beam and planking ceiling of the first floor. With the help of historic restoration specialists, traces of old foundations discovered during excavations were creatively reintegrated and add a credible patina to new elements, such as the two new porches. The cabin is a wonder of discovery and highlights the quirkiness always found in historic structures.


  • Washington Chapter AIA / Historic Resources 2008
  • Washington Chapter AIA / Washingtonian Award 2008
  • Virginia Society AIA / Historic Preservation 2007
  • Northern VA Chapter AIA / Historic Architecture 2007
  • Historic Shepherdstown Preservation Award 2005