On a point of land along Le Gates Creek is a picture perfect country cottage seamlessly inserted into its setting among towering pine trees and mature landscaping and gardens. Today it is impossible to imagine that this site was once pasture land full of every weed imaginable, from poison ivy to poke weed, that are the bane of every gardener. After the Owners determined their house’s footprint on the site, they focused on planning the landscape of their blank canvas. First they planted a fenced raised bed vegetable garden and flowering fruit trees. Then they enhanced the banks along the shoreline with shade loving plants including columbine, day lilies and hostas. Since the rear lawn sloped gently to the banks of Le Gate Cove, they added low brick walls offset from each other across the rear of the house to link delightful outdoor terraces filled with pocket gardens, perennial borders and a formal herb garden. One can now enjoy a range of outdoor rooms from the shade garden to the sunny terrace with its edge of colorful perennials.
A circular drive of gray gravel lined with white granite blocks leads to the house and the side hedge of boxwood obscures the house from the road. On the day I visited, I admired how the one-level house nestles into its shady surroundings and I especially appreciated how the colors of the weathered wood shake siding and light olive trim blend into the trees. I learned that the wood for the shingles was delivered to the site from New Bedord, Massachusetts. A relative of the owners began storing pallets of white cedar shingles from Quebec and when there was enough for a truckload, the wood made its journey south.
The brick walkway to the house meanders through beds of shade loving pachysandra and periwinkle, dotted with several money tree plants. I was delighted to see them as it reminded me of how my mother had used them in her crafts. To break up the massing of the house’s footprint, the two ends of the front elevation have front gables that project from the center hyphen and a second entrance next to the garage is recessed into the wall to create a porch. The second entry is very convenient for clean up after tending the garden or an afternoon in the pool. Over the years, the owners have seamlessly expanded their original house including the living room, the sunroom off the breakfast room and a second primary suite in part of the attic. From the rear, the mix of gable and shed roofs, wide expanses of glass and bay windows forms a beautiful composition.
The front door opens into a foyer between the bedroom wing and the main living areas. The beautiful paneling and wood floors also originated in New England. The white pine for the wide floor boards were cut from a relative’s property in Vermont and milled in Brattleboro. I was fascinated to learn the cut nails for the flooring were from the Tremont Mail Company, founded in the 1800’s and still in business. The nails are cut from bog iron found in cranberry bogs. These square nails cut the fibers of the wood instead of squeezing them apart which eliminates leaks.
From the foyer, I was first drawn into the living room with its vista to the water. The original part of the room has a flat ceiling at the fireplace area and the gable roofed expansion opens to the landscape and water with windows and sliding doors on three sides and views of the treetops through the triangular shaped transoms filling the gable. Stained beams accentuate the geometry and the brick flooring add texture to this charming seating area that feels like a solarium. Many pieces of furniture were made by one of the owner’s father, including the tall case for the grandfather clock in the foyer and the lowboy in the living room.
The dining room off the foyer has wide pine flooring and wainscot and the stained wood beams in the ceiling create a coffered effect. The wide bay window overlooking the front landscape and the wood table and chairs create a very pleasant space for meals with family and friends. The adjacent kitchen-family-breakfast open plan works very well and the details of the fireplace and another bay window defines the waterside breakfast area. Off the breakfast area is my favorite room, the sunroom, with its white sloped ceiling and stained beam accents, brick floors, interior paneled wall and exterior walls of sliding glass doors and windows that open to the wrap-around terrace and the nearby pool.
The main floor bedroom wing off a hall from the foyer has three bedrooms and two baths including the primary suite at the rear corner of the house for views through the landscape to the water. The spacious master suite has a Dutch door leading to the landscape and the wood shutters over the lower part of the double hung windows for privacy while still allowing sunlight through the upper part of the window. The upper floor primary suite with its bedroom’s gabled wall infilled with windows and transoms provided a bird’s eye view of the landscape and the cove.
I was quite surprised to learn the house was built in 1964 since it has been so lovingly maintained by its first and only owners. A true harmonious blend of house and landscape on a slight rise above Le Gates Cove with water views from all of the main rooms-Bravo to the Owners for their vision!
For more information about this property, contact Tim Miller with Benson & Mangold Commercial at 410-822-6665 (o), 410-310-3553 (c) or timot35944@aol
.com. For more pictures 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.