On the day I visited this property, I drove through dense foliage on a short gravel driveway that opened up to a circular drive around the front of the house. Even though it was midday on a weekend, I was immediately struck by the sense of peace and quiet. The 3.5 acre elongated site along Irish Creek offers privacy from the mature trees and flowering shrubbery that surrounds the property perimeter at the road and adjacent properties. The house was built parallel to the outermost edge of the shoreline for panoramic water views and the pool’s angled shape follows the curve of the shoreline for maximum water views.
This property offers so many options to enjoy being outdoors including the fenced English garden, picnic area shaded by tall trees, firepit with its grouping of Adirondack chairs angled toward the sunset, the spacious screened porch for al-fresco meals and the tree house that I hope will inspire future architects. The towering Magnolias between the house and the pool area inspired the house’s name and I wished my visit had coincided with their peak blooming time which must be spectacular. Flagstone paths lead past the pool equipment shed equipped with an outdoor shower to the pool area and back around the English garden to the screened porch.
The original farmhouse, circa 1800, has been updated with expansions and renovations that seamlessly enhance the charm of the original three-bay center two-story wing with a side entry door. The house is clad in cedar shakes that are painted a bright white so the massing stands out against its backdrop of landscape and water. On one side of the center wing is a story and a half wing containing the family room on the main floor and the spectacular master bedroom above. On the other side is the two-story wing containing a mud room/laundry with an exterior entry off an open porch, kitchen, breakfast area and bedrooms above. I loved how the front elevation’s massing transitions into the transparency of the side porch, upper balcony and the screened porch. The massing works very well with the ridges of the two side wings apparently equal and set back from the original center main wing.
The bright blue front door has a transom above with each lite infilled with alternating blue and clear antique bottles that filter the sunlight into the foyer opposite the stairs. A wide cased opening leads into the charming living room with a fireplace at the side wall between a window at the front corner and built-in millwork. The light blue walls with white trim including medallions at the corners of the door and window trim, the beautiful original wide plank pine floors and the Mid-Century Modern furnishings create a space for relaxation. The wide cased opening in the rear wall leads to the dining room with triple windows to the water views. I admired the wood dining table and mix of white modern molded chairs end chairs paired with Scandinavian style wood chairs with white cushions topped with a flourish of white boa.
The kitchen has a table a deux for breakfast beneath the double window for water views. My first kitchen had a cork floor as this one does and I remember how soft a surface it was for standing; now I specify it for clients who also appreciate its sustainability. The eclectic mix of wood cabinets, black appliances and a stainless steel island gives the kitchen great personality. Adjacent to the kitchen is the mud room/laundry with an exterior door to a porch for convenient clean up after an afternoon in the pool or on the water.
The magnificent family room addition spans the full depth of its wing with a rear wall bay projection of a center picture window flanked by two long windows. The angled walls contain a French door leading to the terrace and a double window unit on the other side. The seating is grouped around the fireplace that is the other focal point of the spacious room and a short hall to the kitchen has a secondary stair and a full bath.
Above the family room is the primary suite that I coveted for its great interior architecture. The side gable wall has a single window over the bed and knee walls with clever storage of open shelves and drawers recessed under the eaves. My favorite details were the front and rear wide shed dormers infilled with a row of windows above ledges with pillows. I imagine these cozy spots are perfect to curl up with children or grandchildren for bedtime stories from books stored in the drawers below.
The second floor hall’s clever light fixture of dense bulbs reminded me of a grape cluster and the hall connects the three other bedrooms, each perfectly sized with just the right amount of furniture. I loved the pink “family “ bedroom with a bed for the parents and bunk beds for little girls. If I were lucky enough to be a guest in this house, I would hope my room is the charming one at the side of the house with its own cozy open porch. The mattress for the bed is placed between two windows in the low rear knee wall so the entire wall becomes the headboard.
It was easy to linger in this picturesque and tranquil setting as I remembered the plaque in the kitchen with the words “Rekindle-Relax-Refresh”. Clearly this is a well-loved house filled with many happy memories of the owners and their family. The agent’s listing information left at the house includes the family’s sharing of their memories of sunset cruises and tubing on Irish Creek, boating trips to Oxford for ice cream, discovery of the abundant wildlife who shared their property from foxes to a bald eagle (who magically appeared on July 4th ) and family crab feasts around the table on the waterside screened porch. Another very lucky family will have a unique opportunity to make their own memories here!
For more information about this property, contact Sandra K. Libby of the Sandra K. Libby Group of Long and Foster Real Estate and Christie’s International, Inc. at 410-263-3400 (o), 410-647-8305 (c) or email@example.com. For more pictures and pricing, visit www.magnoliacove.info , “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.