I always welcome an opportunity to fall under Oxford’s spell so when I attended an open house at this property, I knew this historic house would have an intriguing story and indeed it does. The house’s large lot is due to its being the location of both the Jeremiah Valliant Store that was built at the corner of the lot approximately ten years before this house, known as the Pastorfield-Valliant House, was built next door. As befitting a post-Civil War era house, the lot originally included a kitchen, carriage house, granary, small office, meat house and dairy.
The original two and half story, five bays wide and one room deep house has been beautifully maintained. The color palette of light brown lap siding, white trim and corner boards is classic and the 4/4 long windows on both the main and second floors and three single dormer windows arranged symmetrically over the second-floor windows create a very pleasing symmetry. The front porch is four-bays wide for expansive views of the charming townscape. Each bay is embellished with fretwork on both sides of the turned columns and a low elliptical trim spans from column to column with another fretwork detail marking the center of each bay.
The side elevation shows the “T” shape of the original house with both a one and a half story pitched roof wing that telescope down with three shed roofed rooms attached to it at both the rear and side of the house.
The paneled entry wood door has a full transom and half glass/half paneled sidelights and opens into a gracious entry opposite the original L-shaped staircase. The staircase shape creates space for a former sewing machine to have a new life as a stylish table opposite a bench for storage of shoes. The dark stain of the balustrade and treads are a pleasant contrast to the white risers and stair stringer. The foyer separates two original rooms that are identical in size. At the wide wall opening to the family room, turned columns are slightly offset from the wall to further frame the opening.
On the opposite side of the foyer, a pair of French doors lead to the living room. This room has been modified from the original layout of two windows opposite each other at the front and rear walls. A closet was added next to the fireplace and one of the rear windows has been incorporated into a full bath, to offer the flexibility of using this space as a main floor bedroom.
Chesterfield style sofas have always appealed to me, probably from years of watching PBS’ Masterpiece Theater, so I was tempted to linger on this inviting room’s sofa to imagine winter evenings of watching TV by the fire.
Next to the family room is the kitchen that has exterior doors on its two side walls flanked by single windows. I loved the eclectic look of this kitchen’s wide galley layout that creates space for a large island with its “L” shaped higher counter and bead board wall against the stylish bar stools’ metal frame and deep gray cushions. At the island’s other side, the standard height counter has a dark finish with black cabinetry and a stainless-steel dishwasher. I admired the deep gray ceiling and the original wood floors that highlight the white of the walls and cabinetry and how the textures of the white bead board, red brick exposed chimney and mix of black and light quartz counters add character. On the opposite wall of the galley, the middle upper cabinet has glass fronted doors inset into deep gray frames between white upper cabinets that breaks up the wall of white cabinets as the stove does on the other side of the room.
Behind the kitchen is the story and half wing with another stair for access to the playroom above. The sunny dining room has three windows on one side opposite the door and window to the side small porch. I admired the appealing variety of wood finishes from the flooring, table, chairs, and the sideboard with its glass fronted doors. Behind the dining room is the laundry area and a full bath, including a clawfoot tub.
At the second floor, the corner room over the family room is a spacious ensuite. The original mantel at the chimney wall and the wallpaper design of oversized flowers give this space great character. The two front windows and one side window provide abundant sunlight.
Off the stair landing to the second floor is a short flight of steps leading to another bedroom in the original “L” part of the house. The bedroom is furnished as a nursery with a closet opposite the chimney creating a window seat that is a perfect spot for a bedtime story. Behind this space is the attic area over the dining room below. The high knee walls and sloped ceiling create a cozy space for this delightful children’s playroom. The ductwork at the floor level is disguised by a long window seat and black cubes above provide storage for toys and games. At the rear of the room is the secondary stair to the dining room and kitchen below.
The entire third floor is a sumptuous primary suite with the bedroom area and the bath at the front of the house with both dormer windows and low windows in the side gable walls. The amount of floor space would allow flexible furniture arrangements. With two closets in my entire house, I envied the dressing area with chests on each side that leads to a deep walk-in closet with windows at the rear gable wall for sunlight. The spacious bath’s soaking tub in front of the other exposed brick chimney between windows creates a private space for a long soothing soak.
Large lot in Oxford’s Historic District surrounded by a traditional Oxford wooden fence, close to the waterside park and shopping area, beautifully maintained home with many original details, wrap-around porch to expand your living space, spacious rooms filled with sunlight from large windows, upgraded kitchen and baths- a unique opportunity to become the next steward of this historic home rooted in Oxford’s history!
For more information about this property, contact Jane McCarthy at Benson and Mangold Real Estate, 410-822-1415 (o), 410-310-6692 (c) or [email protected] .For more photographs or pricing, visit www.marylandseasternshorehomes.com , Equal Housing Opportunity.” Photography by Janelle Stroop, Thru the Lens Photos, 410-310-6838, [email protected].
Jennifer Martella has pursued dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. She has reestablished her architectural practice for residential and commercial projects and is a referral agent for Meredith Fine Properties. Her Italian heritage led her to Piazza Italian Market, where she hosts wine tastings every Friday and Saturday afternoons.