One of the criteria I use in selecting a house of the week is the site and this site was simply breathtaking. Turning off the highway, I drove along a straight road between fields and woods that ended in this property’s circular drive bordered by mature trees of maples, willow oaks, and magnolias. As I began my tour of the grounds, I heard the sound of waves gently lapping the rip rapped shoreline. Following the sound, I walked by the compound of main house, cottage and carriage house to the edge of the lawn. I was mesmerized by the panoramic view of what I soon realized was the confluence of the Eastern Bay and the Chesapeake Bay. The sweeping view begins at Poplar Island to the south, past the tip of Kent Island and the Bloody Point Bar Light at the Chesapeake Bay to the misty tops of the Bay Bridge supports on the far horizon. Looking across the expanse of the Bay, the freighter making its way to Baltimore seemed to be a toy boat and the fifty-four foot tall Bloody Point Bar Light a mere buoy.
It was difficult to tear myself away from the water view but I was eager to explore the architecture and the waterside Period Cottage beckoned me first with its proximity so close to the water. The cottage’s symmetry of the front and rear gables, dormers on each side and the porch that wraps around all four sides defines its charm. I entered the cottage through the rear waterside door into the open-plan living-dining-kitchen area. The seating is grouped around the brick fireplace with its corbeled mantel on the side wall and the dining area at the rear corner has windows on two sides for diagonal views of the water. The front galley kitchen is separated from the living and dining space by an island with bar stools and the single-run stairs separates the open plan area from the bedroom and full bath.
The second floor is set up as a sleeping-sitting area and this truly delightful space has windows on all four walls for water views. One side wall has a built-in seat under the dormer window opposite a double bed under the other dormer window. Two additional twin beds offer more sleeping space. With a little creative space planning, the floor plan could be arranged to contain two bedrooms and a shared bath.
I left the cottage by the front door and the two benches flanking the front door caught my eye. I noticed a hinge at the seat and discovered the back of the bench rotates to become a table top. What a delightful spot to savor that second cup of coffee and a great way to stat the day. Reluctantly I left this charming cottage to follow the path of multi-colored flagstones shaded by wisteria intertwined with the pergola framing that leads from the cottage to the main house.
The design of the two-story brick house was inspired by a lighthouse with a conical roof above multiple segmented walls infilled with windows on both the main and second floors with the exposed beams radiating like spokes from the bearing point. The main floor rooms circle counterclockwise from the entry through the open-plan kitchen-living-dining areas to the main floor bedroom and bath. Before I climbed the stairs to the second floor, I paused to admire the stunning bald eagle’s head that crowned the top of the newel post and I learned the artistic carving was the work of the owner’s father.
The second floor contains two bedrooms and one large bath that could easily be separated into two baths. The larger of the two bedrooms has a deck overlooking the water. As I left the main house, I thought cladding the white brick facades in Hardie board in either a board and batten pattern or lap siding would tie the three buildings together into one cohesive whole.
Opposite the main house is the two-story carriage house with a one-story shed roofed area and an exterior stair that leads to the second floor. The entry door opens into a storage/utility room then to the living-dining space with a kitchen along one wall and a circular stair to the second floor. The utility room could easily be reduced in size so the kitchen could be relocated behind it. This would free up more space for the living-dining area. French doors at both the front and rear walls of this space provide views of the landscape and water.
The second floor has delightful interior architecture from the front and side knee walls, a single window dormer facing the water, another single window at the side gable wall and the pitched ceiling over the bedroom area. An octagonal window brings sunlight into the bathroom and closets along the short hall to the door to the exterior stairs provide storage. I would be tempted to enclose the exterior stair and create a “U” shape stair to eliminate the interior circular stair. This revision would also maintain the porch over the entry door below.
Near the main house is the large pool closer to the water than what would be allowed today. Parallel to the long side of the pool is the screened pavilion with floor pavers in the same multi-colored flagstone as the walkway from the cottage to the main house. The wall of screening and the fireplace creates an outdoor family room with dressing rooms and a sauna directly accessible from the pool. After a dip in the pool, the pier is close by for enjoying an afternoon on the water.
Over the past five years that I have been writing Houses of the Week, Misty Point’s water views are the most memorable. The geography frames the layered views and the expanse across the Bay is stunning, not to mention the sunsets! The cottage has a “vacation rental” history with an Air B&B “Super Host” rating. A new Owner could reapply to continue that use, or be quite content with having a unique and tranquil family compound.
For more information about this property, contact Tom Crouch with Benson and Mangold Real Estate at 410-745-0720 (o), 410-310-8916 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more photographs and pricing, visit http://bensonandmangold.com/agents/tom-crouch/, “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.