As an architect, each spring I eagerly await the “Record Houses” issue of Architectural Record magazine. The featured houses range from stunning sites perched above the sea to urban locations, incorporate innovative structural technology and materials, and celebrate great style, scale and proportion. The house that I still remember graced the cover many years ago for it was an anomaly-a small cottage illuminated from within with smoke curling up from its chimney. The dark stained siding contrasted with the snowy grounds surrounded by the backdrop of mature trees laden with snow. To me, that cozy cottage said “home” more than the outstanding designs with their corresponding high-end budgets that were usually featured in the magazine. I could easily imagine how happy I would feel to drive down the driveway that curved through the woods knowing people I loved were waiting within to welcome me home.
On one of my daily twilight walks in my neighborhood, I passed by this cottage festooned in colorful lights that meandered around the deck railing and along the eaves to celebrate Christmas. Even though there was no snow, I knew I had found a cottage that reminded me of that Architectural Record cottage from long ago.
This cottage is set back far from the road on a 2.76 acre wooded site. The road along the rear of the property accesses the waterfront houses across the street and I wondered if the owners of this cottage would have water views from their second floor. The cottage’s massing is shifts vertically with the rear shed roof over the two-story portion of the house behind the front shed roof over the one story portion of the house. The split creates a wall with a row of individual windows that becomes a clerestory to bring light into the stairwell and second floor landing. The one-story portion creates sloped ceilings for the living and dining areas with the stone chimney of the fireplace dividing the spaces. Sliding French doors access the deck that spans the full length of the house for access from both the living and dining rooms. Wide plank heart pine flooring flows between the rooms and the finished ceiling of stained wood decking with exposed beams creates a cozy cabin feeling. Both the living and dining rooms have double-unit windows at the side walls to add more sunlight as a counterpoint to the wood walls and ceilings.
The dining area is open to the galley kitchen with a closet at the rear wall for the laundry. Off the dining room is a center hall to the rear door and a short hall to a bedroom suite that would also be a great office with its corner windows. The stairs are open to the living room below and lead to an enlarged landing at the second floor. The corner master bedroom has an interior window opposite the clerestory windows that expands the space and a box-bay with two other exterior windows for views of the woods. I would be tempted to replace the two windows with a triple-unit window and a seat below for a better view of the pastoral landscape. The other corner bedroom also has windows on two sides for landscape views and between the bedrooms is a full bath off the hall. The wall finishes of the bedrooms are both wood and painted drywall which accentuate the warm wood of the sloped ceilings.
So many possibilities for this charming property in its private wooded setting-one could extend the deck to create a wrap-around porch at the rear with a screened porch above with access from the two bedrooms for a perfect sleeping porch. With 2.76 acres, one could also build a new house and use the cottage as a guest house. Our quiet village has a lovely park with a pavilion and play equipment, a community pier and Wittman Wharf Seafood Market-who could ask for anything more?
Many thanks to the homeowners of this cottage who created the perfect Christmas card for me to wish all my Talbot Spy Habitat readers a very happy holiday season. Thank you all for your support for the past four years and in the immortal words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us everyone!”
For more information about this property, contact Mary Haddaway with Benson and Mangold at 410-745-0415 (o), 410-924-8574 (c), or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more photographs and pricing visit www.bensonandmangold.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.
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