Before my visit to this exquisite historic property in Easton’s Historic District, my thoroughly enjoyable “homework” included watching videos the owners had prepared. The videos show how both the house and gardens have been expertly and lovingly transformed by the owners (a landscape designer and a wood artisan) and their contractor, James Sebastian of Alchemy Works, who has extensive expertise in the restorations/renovations of older properties.
In the house video, https://youtu.be/ybcZitUNHno, the owners’ narration of the house’s provenance begins with the purchase of the lot by William Wright in 1879 and the construction of the house in 1890. By 2014, the house had deteriorated to such an extent that a full restoration was necessary. Alchemy Works stripped the house from the roof to the foundation and exposed all the floor and wall framing. After the demolition of an existing rear addition, the house was both leveled and squared. Footings were added as needed along with new roofing. The windows and shutters were cleaned, repaired and painted for reuse.
The exterior transformation continued with the color palette of yellow wood shakes, deep green shutters and white trim on the exposed roof brackets and window/door trim, porch columns and railing to make this Victorian beauty feel young again. The front of the wrap-around porch remains open for catching up with neighbors on their daily strolls and the side portion is screened for privacy and relaxation. The new rear addition has proportions much better suited to both the house and the streetscape.
Original details/materials included stripping the exterior front wood door for repainting and cleaning and polishing the original Victorian era pendant light over the staircase. New oak flooring was added throughout the main floor and a Vermont Castings wood burning fireplace was added to the corner of the front parlor and the side and front windows bring daylight within. The chair rail, window and doorway moldings and the picture molding around the perimeter of the room are painted the same color to give the walls layers for character. The spacious dining room behind the front parlor is dominated by the beautiful Oriental large rug in deep blue and here the wainscot is the deep red color of the rug. The large wood table is balanced by the lightness of the Windsor chairs and the exterior doors with full glass inserts lead to the screened porch for dining outdoors.
The vista from the dining room to the large kitchen ends at the windows and doors that wrap around the corner to maximize the views of the side and rear gardens. I could well imagine enjoying cooking in this kitchen with its “L” and island arrangement while friends sat on the bar stools. Beadboard for the wainscot and the island side panels adds texture and the white cabinetry with some glass fronted upper cabinets, darker solid surface countertops and stainless steel appliances completes the appealing look. The separate pantry is a definite plus for any cook.
The second floor bedrooms and baths are different sizes for flexibility. The cozy rear bedroom/office has a pitched ceiling and is furnished with a futon and desk for dual uses. The front bedroom spans the width of the house to the stairwell and is furnished as an office and has bird’s eye views of the streetscape from the side and front windows. The middle bedroom is the primary bedroom suite with double windows overlooking the side garden. I especially liked the interior design of the bath with the dual lavatory cabinet in a warm light wood with dual framed mirrors, blue accents of the solid surface countertop and tiled shower surround and the rain glass pattern of the shower door and side panel.
The property extends to the alley with two sheds, one that could be deep enough for a garage but is currently used as a workshop. When I went upstairs to the guest suite, I understood then the owner who is the master craftsman had designed and fabricated the unique headboard. Wood slats extend up the knee wall and under the sloped ceiling in varying lengths like the tree that probably inspired this ingenious design. The same gifted hand fabricated the beautiful inlaid wood free-standing lavatory pedestal with a stainless steel vessel bowl and the mirrors. Lucky is the guest who claims this creative domain for a sojourn!
The other part of my homework was to watch the two videos of the garden design evolution, https://youtu.be/nPuMhw7WCO0 and https://youtu.be/pjpXHZqOZCw. Clearly this landscape designer thinks three-dimensionally and designed the front border, side and rear gardens with careful planning of color, scale, texture and bloom time. Sustainability guided the design and selections were made for a diversity of native plantings that would attract butterflies and other pollinators. The raised borders and no grass are very low maintenance. As many of the original bricks that could be salvaged from the house began their second life as pavers for the brick terrace.
Beyond the terrace is an arbor leading to the raised beds. Seeing the arbor in the video adorned with spring finery of New Dawn roses and clematis gave me hope that perhaps post-Covid this exquisite garden will be part of a future Atkins Arboretum Garden Tour as it was meant to be last year.
Bravissimo to the Owners, Jim Sebastian and his team at Alchemy Works who were all alchemists and turned this property’s “base metals into gold”!
For more information about this property, contact Meg Moran, GRI, with Long and Foster Real Estate-Christies International Real Estate at 410-770-3600 (o), 410-310-2209 (c), or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more photographs and pricing visit www.megmoran.com , “Equal Housing Opportunity”. Construction by Alchemyworks, (410) 693-9049, www.alchemy-works.net, email@example.com Photography by Eve Fishell, Chesapeake Pro Photo LLC, 443-786-8025, www.chesapeakeprophoto.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.