The “piano nobile” was the principal floor of a palazzo belonging to Italian nobility that contained the entrance hall and reception areas one floor above the street level. When I entered this house’s upper floor, it was clear that the owners had a love of all things Italian. It was also clear that the beautiful interiors were designed and constructed with the highest level of craftsmanship and enhanced by the Owners’ furnishings, art and accessories. Their piano nobile floor contains an open plan sitting room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast area and screened porch as well as the master suite.
Guest rooms are located on the third floor, with its own kitchenette and stack washer/dryer. The ground level contains the family room leading to the loggia that extends across the rear of the house, Gunite pool, full bath, wine room, storage/utility room and elevator. My favorite room on this level was the wine room and I recognized many of my favorite Italian wines. The space planning on all three floors maximizes views from the rear of the house to the landscaped buffer along the Tred Avon River.
The interior architecture defines the functions of the open plan area on the main floor. The front door opens into the entrance hall with “U” shaped stairs to the second floor and the ground floor. The balustrade to the second floor is detailed in iron with a wood cap and the shelf below the landing’s window displays part of the Owners’ Italian ceramic collection. Tuscan columns with elliptical arched headers mark the doorway to the dining room and a smaller arched opening connects the dining room with the adjacent kitchen that creates a diagonal view to the great room. I especially loved the lunette shaped artwork between the front windows of the dining room and the Italian street scene opposite it.
The great room’s exquisite coffered ceiling and the diagonal pattern of beams stretches the space. One group of furnishings is arranged around the fireplace with a painting of an interior perspective of room with a coffered ceiling and arched openings that was the perfect touch for this room. The other sitting area at the rear of the room is grouped around built-in millwork with other Italian ceramics and the TV. A wall of windows wraps around this space with views to the screened porch and deck.
Another arched opening decorated with colorful Italian plates defines the boundary between the kitchen and the sitting area and the curvature of the countertop above a row of base cabinets creates space for bar stools. The kitchen is also open to the breakfast area with views of the water through the wrap-around panels of the screened porch. Beautiful porcelain tile flooring, cream colored raised panel cabinets and granite countertops create a dream kitchen that is the envy of this cook.
The master suite on the opposite side of the house has an office/bedroom at the front and the master bedroom at the rear. The master bedroom’s coffered ceiling, built-in millwork and a full width rear wall of bay shaped windows for water views is a serene retreat. The luxurious master bath has a corner soaking tub with a dropped soffit above supported by two columns. Opposite the tub is a mirrored wall below the arched soffit and above the dual lavatories separated by a storage columns.
From the piano nobile to the upper and lower floors , the interior architecture that maximizes views of the Tred Avon River, the highest level of finishes and craftsmanship, art, accessories and of course the beautiful Italian ceramics reflect the Owners’ Italian heritage and their happy memories of travel to Italy. Viva Italia-per sempre!
For more information about this property, contact Joan Wetmore with Meredith Fine Properties at 410-822-6702 (o), 410-924-2432 (c) or JoanWetmore@msn.com. For more photographs and pricing visit www.meredithfineproperties.com , “Equal Housing Opportunity”. Photography by Liz Baker of Home Visit, 703-953-3866. Construction by Ron Mooney Italian ceramics are available locally at Simpatico, Italy’s Finest, 106 Railroad Ave., St. Michaels, 410-745-0345
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.