Royal Oak is one of my favorite areas for its desirable location between Easton and St. Michaels and its range of house styles have inspired many of my past articles. This house on a quiet dead-end street was built in 2001 on 2.89 acres along the Tred Avon River in the North Point subdivision. As I drove up the driveway, I noticed how well the house was sited to maximize the side yards for privacy and play. One side yard has trees at the street side and the side property line for a grassy play area for play from tag to touch football and the other side yard has a large pool, hot tub and trampoline against the dense background of trees.
The massing of the traditional styled “L” shaped one and half story house has the two-car garage in the short leg of the “L” facing the parking area. The story and a half center wing’s full front porch wraps around the front of the garage and the column bays lessen the impact of the garage doors. A side wing containing the primary suite steps down from the main wing and a short hyphen connects the main wing to the garage. Each elevation includes a range of design features that articulate the massing including single window dormers at the front roof, shed dormers over the garage, a shed roof projection at the rear of the main wing that creates a sunroom and another shed dormer at the second floor, two bay projections at each side elevation that creates a space for breakfast at one side and a nook for the primary suite
When I opened the door, the dramatic two-story foyer’s interior is defined by the staircase at one side and wide wall openings to the dining room opposite the staircase and another wide wall opening across the hall to the living room that create an easy flow among rooms. The staircase wall is detailed with panels below the treads painted white as a backdrop for the blue wood settee set into the alcove created by the stairs and the powder room that is below the stair landing above. Single window dormers centered over both the front door and the stair landing bring sunlight within. Another blue accent are the tall blue double shutters between the cased opening between the dining area and the kitchen that are fixed against the wall as decorative accents.
The spatial volume changes from the two-story foyer to the one-story dining room and hall to the two-story living room with the pitched ceiling that follows the underside of the roof rafters. The brick fireplace soars to the ceiling and its white brick chimney becomes a sculptural element between the slate blue shiplap laid on a diagonal. Three pairs of French doors lead to the waterside sunroom.
One end of the center hall off the foyer ends at the open plan family room, breakfast area and kitchen. The bay wall projection of the breakfast area overlooks the pool and the family room has millwork on the interior wall for TV and books, rear windows with transoms flanking the fireplace and a triple unit window with transom that keeps this room sunny throughout the day. The “U” shaped spacious kitchen another blue accent in the range hood that stands out against the light colored cabinetry and marble countertops.
Between the kitchen and the garage is a large laundry, powder room, mudroom with space for the family pets’ food bowls in the corner opposite the stairs to the private guest suite over the garage. The exterior door in the laundry room leads to a deck and then to the pool deck for ease of clean up after a day on the water or in the pool.
At the other side of the center hall is the sumptuous primary suite. The bedroom has two pairs of long triple unit windows for water views and a side door to the deck, pool and hot tub. I envied the large bath with a dual lavatory with both drawers and open shelves for storage and mirrors over each lavatory bowl. Opposite the lavatory wall is the bay wall projection with long windows behind the soaking tub. In the next compartment is the large shower with a front glass wall and a side wall that provides privacy for the water closet.
The second floor is zoned well with the stairs ending at a “bridge” connecting the three bedrooms and one office/TV area. Two bedrooms share a “Jack and Jill” bathroom and the third bedroom is accessed by the office/TV area so it could become a private bed-sit suite. If I were a guest, I would claim the suite over the garage with its own staircase and large bathroom. The shed dormer on one side with triple windows would be the perfect space for a window seat. The window at the gable end wall and skylights above the knee walls on the other side of the room provide ample daylight.
Great home for relaxing with family or entertaining,
Since this is the month for giving thanks, I wish to thank each of you for being readers of my articles. I am especially grateful to those of you who post comments or tell me personally how much you enjoy reading them. Stay Tuned!
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.