The Charles W. Willey House was built one year before the Civil War began and remained in the Willey family until the turn of the century. Since 1959, it is also been known as the Leonard House for the owners who built a single story kitchen wing at the rear that was later expanded to add bedrooms on the second floor. Like many of its nineteenth century neighbors along this section of E. Chestnut St., the house steps down to create a street façade of two sections, each having two bays with a brick foundation, lap siding and 6/6 windows with shutters. The front door section of the house is a full two-story and the other section has short windows to accommodate the reduction in height. The brick stoop at the front door is covered by a gable roof with inset shake siding and the four-panel red front door has a transom above. The light grey lap siding, white windows and trim along with black shutters and the red accent of the front door create a pleasing traditional color palette.
When New Road was built the property became a corner lot and luckily the two gigantic Magnolia trees in the rear yard were saved. One tree is located at the rear corner of the fenced back yard that backs up to the alley and the other tree is closer to the house. When the rear kitchen/family room addition was built, the deck carefully enclosed the tree that now provides shade for the deck. Mature trees, lawn and plantings along the fences create a wonderful outdoor room for family play and relaxation.
The front door opens into the living room and the walls surrounding the center chimney for the two-sided gas fireplace have been modified to create two doorways between the living and dining rooms for a better flow and additional daylight between rooms. The chimney side wall has a bookcase insert for books or serving pieces. I liked the contrast of the stained hand hewn ceiling joists with the beautiful hardwood floors in the dining room and the French doors in the living room that lead to the deck and views of the landscape beyond.
The open plan kitchen-family room is located in the addition at the rear of the house. The “U” shaped kitchen has room for a center island and barstools. The window over the kitchen sink and windows along the hall to the family room provide sunlight throughout the day. A door to the side deck provides easy access for al-fresco meals under the Magnolia tree. The tile kitchen countertop could be replaced with a solid surface material and the tiled partial height wall between the two rooms could then be removed to create a more open connection between the kitchen and family rooms. The family room is a very pleasant and private space with millwork for books and TV between the sliding French doors to the side deck. The sliding French doors at the rear corner add diagonal views of the landscape. Additional millwork along the rear wall is ready to be filled with books, family photographs and memorabilia.
The second floor bedrooms have sloped ceilings to add volume to the spaces. The front bedroom’s windows are located in the knee wall that rises to meet the sloped ceiling to create a charming space for a child’s room or office.
Great starter or retirement home in the heart of St. Michaels’ Historic District and close to the shops, restaurants, Marina and Muskrat Park!
For more information about this property, contact Leslie Stevenson, GRI, at Long and Foster Real Estate Inc., 410-745-0283 (v), 410-253-7293 (c) or Leslie.Stevenson@longandfoster.com. For more photographs and pricing visit www.OwnAMarylandHome.com , “Equal Housing Opportunity”.
Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.
Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.