Collaborating with designer Arlene Critzos, builder John Joy infuses the warmth of home in a modern farmhouse in Annapolis

Everyone has a comfort zone. Whether indoors or out, in a book or on a hike, the key to this sanctum is knowing when you’ve arrived. For a couple with young kids looking to build a getaway an easy drive from their primary residence in Northern Virginia, the initial urge was to embrace their familiar stomping ground. Then they saw a house several hours away in Maryland—and the instinct to stay within their comfort zone went right out the window.

The couple had already chosen a Virginia lot on which to build when friends encouraged them to go see a newly constructed, modern farmhouse-style abode on Annapolis’ South River. The sprawling, 6,800-square-foot home comprised a main volume with a standing-seam roof, flanking wings and a swimming pool built into the rear

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