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River Dunes

Oriental. North Carolina

UNDERSTANDING THE CRITICAL RELATIONSHIP between land plan and architecture, the developer of this 1,345 acre site on the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina engaged Historical Concepts to develop an architectural identity for the community and gave the firm the latitude to refine the land plan to be compatible with the character of the architecture that the firm would envision. Studying coastal villages such as nearby New Bern for inspiration, the design team imagined River Dunes as a quaint, waterfront community that grew slowly over time. The master plan’s three distinctly different residential villages, defined by the waters that surround them, help communicate that narrative. Harbor Village, the first-phase of development, includes a town center surrounding Grace Harbor, a protected marina that is the community’s centerpiece. Here, Historical Concepts designed a charming enclave of cottages, a chapel, a club complex, and various amenity buildings that serve visitors and residents.

THE OVERALL MASTER PLAN depicts a community encircled by water,
with abundant land set aside to preserve the coastal environment.
At the heart of River Dunes is a marina and mixed-use Harbor Village.

Conceptual Rendering of Harbor Village

A PROGRESSION of increasingly refined drawings illustrates the planning, visioning, and conceptual architecture process for the Harbor Village.

The Harbor Club

~ The Harbor Club was recognized with a 2016 Shutze Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art ~

THE HARBOR VILLAGE BEGAN TO TAKE SHAPE with the construction of the Harbor Club, inspired by historic inns along the North Carolina coast. The main dining and social facility, and home to the Harbormaster, this building represented an important opportunity to set an architectural tone and quality benchmark for the residences and amenities that would soon surround it. In addition to a bar, game room, library, and spaces for casual and formal dining, the Harbor Club also includes a waterfront pool and cabanas.

ACROSS THE VILLAGE, A TINY CHAPEL FACES GRACE HARBOR. The simplicity of its architecture evokes a sense of place and nostalgia. The picturesque setting, along with the charming, on-site guest accommodations and resort-style amenities, has made River Dunes a much sought-after location for weddings and special events.

THE CHAPEL frames a view of one of the initial homes built in River Dunes.

TO CREATE AN IMMEDIATE SENSE OF NEIGHBORHOOD AND COMMUNITY, the developers commissioned a series of home plans in keeping with River Dunes’ design guidelines. In addition to providing inventory and momentum for early real estate sales, these home plans helped convey appropriate architectural patterns for future custom residences.

The Coastal Living Idea House

IN 2006, HISTORICAL CONCEPTS introduced Coastal Living magazine to River Dunes, which was subsequently selected as the site of the magazine’s 10th Anniversary Idea House. The Captain’s House and adjacent enclave of Crew Cottages form an iconic compound watching over Grace Harbor, drawing thousands to visit the emerging community for a tour of the waterfront home.

THE CREW COTTAGES are located adjacent to the Captain’s House. This small group of buildings embraces a central courtyard
and provide boaters, visitors, and prospective homeowners with well-appointed, shoreside accommodations.