Today’s feature is about a house but it is also a love story. Oscar Wilde wryly noted that second marriages are the triumph of hope over experience. The Owners of today’s featured house are proof of Wilde’s observation and their house is also testament to their love of Eastern Shore vernacular houses. The husband grew up in Bethesda and spent weekends boating in Annapolis before he fell under the spell of the Eastern Shore. He and his wife, a professor At George Mason University, were married with their blended family in attendance on the H.M. Krentz Skipjack at the end of the dock of one of their previous properties.
After his retirement from medicine, the husband soon found he had a knack for discovering properties that needed renovation and his second career as an Eastern Shore developer began. This three acre property is very special to the couple since it is the seventh house project for the husband, the first collaboration for them both and is also their first new construction house. The property is located on a single loaded dead end road with pastoral views of the surrounding farmland and Dixon Creek. I have featured another house on this street and the day of my visit, I was reminded of how peaceful and quiet the street is with only three built houses and two others under construction.
I admired the massing of the house with the main two-story wing balanced by the one-story “L” shaped hyphen of the garage with service spaces and the gable wing that projects from the front elevation with a box bay projection. I love board and batten siding and when it is painted white the shadow lines are most prevalent and enlivens the façade. The white color also is a prelude to the interiors’ neutral color scheme of whites, creams, grays and earth tones. The metal shed roofs over the front porch, the box bay and the window above add more texture and a color accent. I especially liked how the supports for the front porch were stained wood instead of being painted white as it defines the bays of the porch much better.
The waterside rear elevation is equally appealing with its three gable projections and the shed roof over the porch aligned with the front porch for views through the house. The fifty foot long pool’s hardscape of beautiful slabs of travertine in shades of white and gray blends into the flooring of the pool pavilion that, along with the porch, offers respite from the summer sun after a dip in the pool. During the winter, you can relax in the pavilion as you watch the sun set over the water.
There is also a dock for spending an afternoon of paddle boarding, kayaking or boating on the water and nearby is a group of Adirondack chairs around a firepit. The Owners named their boat “River Mist” in honor of the beautiful mist that covers Dixon Creek and the fields across from the house in the early morning.
When the Owner greeted me at the front door, I paused to savor the spatial variety from the living room that soars twenty feet to the ceiling and back down again to the one story kitchen and dining room. The white walls and ceiling planes reflect the sunlight through tall windows, glass doors and transoms with accent windows above. The beautiful Chardonnay” white oak flooring is used throughout most of the main floor. This wonderful introduction made me eager to explore the rest of the house!
The view of the water from the three pairs of opened glass doors in the living room create an irresistible warm weather indoor-outdoor room. The neutral color scheme with blue accents creates a space for relaxation with family and friends.
I could easily imagine sitting in one of these chairs and joining the conversation in the living room against its backdrop of water and trees.
The Owners designed the state-of-the-art kitchen so they could fully interact with family and guests while they prepare meals. The island’s slate blue cabinetry and the veined Cambria countertop contrasts with the white of the other cabinetry with Hanstone countertops. The husband built the dining room table from a single slab white oak felled tree. The wood took a year to dry out but the result was worth the wait. The living room mantel was also created from the same wood.
To the right of the foyer is the office for the wife who teaches from home. She has both a desk (designed and built by her husband) and an adjustable height workspace. The restful slate blue wall color, the serene view of the farmland through the bay window and millwork create a very pleasant work environment.
The spacious primary bedroom faces the water and the clean lines of the modern canopy bed and other furnishings create a restful retreat. I admired the hand-blown glass pendant lights with swirls of blue over the nightstands and the other blue accent in the art, pillows and upholstered bench.
The primary bath has both a soaking tub opposite the shower with dual lavatories in between. The wood cabinets, dark Silestone countertops and the matchstick blinds over the tub add warmth to the space. I admired the oval mirrors hung with rope and the slender modern wall mounted fixtures. Two walk-in closets complete the primary suite.
The stairs to the second floor end at an overlook to the living room below with the solid walls of the stairwell blending into the surrounding spatial volume. The three guest bedrooms have bird’s eye views of the landscape and water. The two baths have skylights for additional light and privacy.
This couple’s vision of sustainability with eco-conscious building practices was one of the guiding principles of the property’s development. One of the unique features of the construction is the safety and security provided by the Integrated Concrete Form (ICF) wall construction that can withstand over 220 mph winds as well as provide both wall insulation and sound attenuation.
The house design was a wonderful collaboration between the husband who built the living room mantel, dining room tabletop, the console, office desk and the pool pavilion’s bar countertop and the wife’s innate interior design skills that combined to create a unique house that embodies their love of the Eastern Shore outdoor/indoor lifestyle. Bravo and Brava!
For more information about this property, contact Cliff Meredith with Meredith Fine Properties at 410-822-6272 (o), 410-924-0082 (c), or [email protected],. For more photographs and pricing, visit www.cliffmeredith.com , “Equal Housing Opportunity.”
Photography: Svetlana Leahy Photography. Builder: Stephen Doyle, Excel Builders- www://excelbuilders.com/ Landscaping: F.A. Hobson
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.