“Beauvoir” literally translates from the French as “beautiful to see” and indeed, on the day I visited, it was beautiful. The aerial shows how the house is nestled among mature trees and its long elevation is broken by the curved passage and the angled North Wing. The first written mention of the property was thirty nine years after the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock, when Edward Lloyd, of the illustrious Lloyd family, obtained a patent for 3,050 acres along the bank of La Trappe Creek at its entrance to the Choptank River. 1798 tax records include a reference to a one story frame house, 36 ft long by 18 ft wide, a frame addition 25 ft long by 18 ft wide, and a passage 14 ft long by 18 ft wide. Outbuildings listed including a “Quarter” (part of the now guest cottage ) “fowl house”, “meal room” and “meat house”. The latter is also known as a smokehouse and this square outbuilding with its steep pyramidal roof is among the most distinguished in the County.
The description in the 1798 tax records matches the existing one and a half story part of the main house that is now attached to the two-and-a-half story Federal style addition built in the early 19th century. In the 1930’s, the curved passage with brick floors and arched topped French doors connected the main house to the north addition. The house was also updated during this time but the original architectural details have been preserved, including handmade bricks, probably fabricated on-site, wood flooring, the dining room’s paneled walls with bolection chair rail between panels, window headers, jambs and sills, door wooden handles and latches, the living room’s period woodwork and the open string staircase constructed of walnut and doors hung on original cast iron hinges. The rich architectural details that are usually found in the great country seats of the County contrast with the simple exterior facades of the house.
The approach to the house is along a straight gravel drive flanked by an allee of trees that becomes a circular drive as it passes by the main house, the curved breezeway and the angled north wing to break down the massing. The north wing is also slightly “T’ shaped with front and rear gables for further architectural interest. The front porch leads to the spacious entrance hall with the stair at one side and a rear door with steps leading to the lawn and water beyond. The location of the stair gives the parlor windows on three sides for panoramic views of the landscape and water. The period furnishings enhance the interior architecture.
The earliest part of the house, the exquisite dining room, has windows at both the front and rear of the house and the spacious room could comfortably accommodate 10-12 guests around the antique table. The aforementioned full height paneled walls in pale green and the beautiful antiques would make it easy to linger over dinner by candlelight and the light of the fire. The modernized kitchen adjoins the original kitchen that once had a firebox width of eight feet and more depth than it now has. It is one of my favorite rooms with its exposed hand hewn beams blackened over the years, the white ceiling, the wide brick fireplace painted white with corbelled sides, wood floors, serving pieces arrayed on the wood mantel and on top of the wood antique armoire with its long black strap hinge and wood latch and handle. A small table and chairs is a cozy spot for breakfast.
Another favorite room is the library with floor to ceiling bookcases in between wall panels, a fireplace, comfortable chairs and a door to the 45 ft. long sunroom with views of the water. Both the old and new kitchens have access to the sunroom with its brick floors, continuous walls of sliding doors, pitched ceiling with stained wood exposed rafters and decking with broad views to the water.
The master bedroom on the second floor of the Federal style wing has a fireplace and windows on three sides for views of the landscape and water. The other second floor bedrooms tucked under the pitched ceilings have charming interior architecture with their hardwood floors, dormer windows and fireplaces. There is also a third floor bedroom in the Federal wing.
I loved the curved breezeway connection with the brick floors laid in a herringbone pattern, white walls and trim and arched top doors. The ground floor of the North Wing is a self- contained suite with a kitchen, den with fireplace, master bedroom with a fireplace and bath and a room used as a workshop. The second floor bedrooms have flat moldings that add texture to the ceilings and wainscot. There is also a room used as an office, and my last favorite room, the sitting room, whose steeply pitched ceiling’s hand hewn stained rafters contrast with the white ceiling. Since is it located at the end of the wing, it has windows on three sides and a fireplace at the gable end. A perfect space to hide out for a long afternoon of relaxation!
Many owners through the years have left his/her impact on this remarkable piece of Talbot County’s architectural heritage. What an opportunity to live in a notable house on its present six acres including a detached four-car garage, two-bedroom guest house with a screened porch literally at the water’s edge, private pier with a boat shed-a magnificent property!
For more information about this property, contact Chuck Mangold with Benson and Mangold Real Estate at 410-822-6665 (o), 410-924-8832 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org, “Equal Housing Opportunity”. http://www.beauvoirfarm.com/
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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