The elliptical shape of this harbor-side retreat is part of an outward-moving spiral that the architects based on the golden mean. It allows for a sequence of views from different positions and carefully choreographed sight-lines. “Every room sets up a beautiful picture,” says the homeowner. The living room faces northeast, towards the mouth of the harbor. The master bedroom of the 7,000-square-foot house looks out to a quiet sandy beach while the guest bedroom faces southeast toward a busy marina. “We wanted to create these little moments, these framed views, as you circulate around the crescent,” said architect Rob Barnes. The concave curve of the water-side facade creates a protective enclosure, blocking out views of neighboring properties as it wraps around a limestone terrace and two pools connected by a waterfall. The water gushes over a steel bevel and cascades down a rough rock face to create a soothing sound. The living/dining area is animated by the sculptural form of a sloping chimney made from Alabama limestone and a curving I-beam that supports the ceiling ribbed with maple struts. Natural light streams through a fifteen-foot-long skylight above the main staircase, and a wedge of glass protrudes from the entry façade to capture sunsets. On summer evenings, a beam of light saturates the living area with a fiery orange glow.

You float from outside to inside.