One day during my two years as Director of Marketing and Operations at Urban Design Associates (UDA), I received a call from a Project Manager with Elmhurst Development. He wanted to retain UDA for master planning and a Pattern Book of house designs for a new neighborhood to be called Easton Village. He told me I probably had never heard of Easton, MD but I laughed and said indeed I did. I explained I drove down from Pittsburgh once a month to visit my sister in Easton and intended to retire there. He and I established instant rapport and UDA was soon retained to design the new neighborhood.
The intention of the master plan’s range of lot sizes and the Pattern Book’ s house styles was to create a mixed use neighborhood and house designs varied from small cottages to large houses for corner sites. Instead of being on a prominent corner, this house on its large lot enjoys total privacy from being hidden away at the end of an elongated cul-de-sac that follows a point of land along the Tred Avon River. The sense of seclusion is enhanced by being located next door to a preserved wooded lot that in winter provides an unobstructed view of the Tred Avon River.
On the day I visited, the Owner was out of town but kindly arranged for her sister to give me a tour. When I arrived, I first walked around the exterior to admire the beautiful symmetry of the front elevation. On one side, the seven-bay wrap-around porch extends to become a breezeway connection to the detached garage. On the other side, it connects to a one-story wing off the main floor. From the porch floor, two-story gable box bays project slightly from the front wall, creating a recessed entry for the center door flanked by long windows. Each of the two box bays has double windows on both the main and second floors. Between the gable box bays at the second floor is a triple window below the dormer window in the roof.
The color of the lap siding changes from deep yellow on the main floor to a lighter yellow above the low sloped metal roof of the front porch. The gables on the second floor are infilled with board and batten siding in a light olive color. Both the architecture and color palette create a beautiful composition and must be beautiful when illuminated at night. When I rang the doorbell, I was surprised and delighted when the Owner’s sister turned out to be my former neighbor whose house in Easton’s Historic District had been a House of the Week!
I soon realized the house’s floor plan is an updated version of the historic Maryland center hall plan. This compact floor plan creates minimal hallways and easy flow among the rooms. The vista through the house from the front door ends at the center window of the bay enclosing the breakfast room for views of the landscape and water. Between the entry and the rooms at the rear of the house are the stairs and an elevator that serves all three floors.
From the entrance hall, wide cased openings lead to the library/living room opposite the dining room. I admired the artwork in both rooms and my neighbor proudly told me the artist was her son. The living room’s cased opening frames the fireplace on the opposite wall between two windows and the faux-finish granite surround of the fireplace was the work of another artist. Floor to ceiling built-in millwork opposite the two front windows overlooking the front porch creates a cozy room for reading by the fire or for cocktails with friends before sitting down to dinner. The dining room’s wainscot creates a baseline for the artwork above. Bright red chairs around the wood table take their cue from the red accents in the artwork over the fireplace that is aligned with the living room’s fireplace.
From the entry hall, I passed through a short hall containing closets and the powder room and then the open plan family room, breakfast room and kitchen came into view, linked by the white deep coffered ceiling and the wood floors. I loved the breakfast area’s round wood table and chairs with space under the bay-shaped rear wall for seating under the windows. The red rectangular ottoman opposite the fireplace at the end wall of the family room defines the seating area with a white sofa across from two floral fabric chairs that also pick up the red in the artwork above the fireplace. To the left of the fireplace is another room with multiple uses that connects to both the front porch and the rear screened porch.
The spacious gourmet kitchen layout was planned by the Owner with walls of white cabinets, some upper cabinets with glass fronts, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Rear windows over the sink and side windows flanking the focal point of the range keep the space sunny and the coffers of the ceiling are infilled with white bead board for texture. Two islands, one with bar stools and the other a working area with a bar sink provide additional work space and views to the family room. Accents of red in the bar stools, the island opposite the range, the trio of Le Creuset Dutch ovens over the range hood shelf and the red breakfront break up the expanse of white to create a dream kitchen.
The three-bay rear elevation is the opposite of the front elevation. Instead of side gable wings projecting out, here the center bay projects past the rear wall to become a box bay with stacked bay windows on each floor that reach out to the water. The views from the rear rooms’ windows show the property’s privacy due to the high fence along the property line next to the neighbor’s house opposite the protected wooded lot behind the detached garage. The outdoor rooms of screened porch, covered deck behind the breakfast area and wrap-around porch overlook the protected buffer between the yard and the water.
The second floor stair landing opens to a nook under the front triple window wall that could be a cozy sitting area for the en-suite bedrooms. The primary suite’s bedroom has a rear bay window stacked above the breakfast room below and the shades of neutral colors with sage green accents creates a serene retreat. The sumptuous primary bath is detailed in black and white with the white marble floor grid cleverly inset with a “rug” of smaller black and white tiles with a black border. There are three other bedrooms on this floor but if more guest space is needed, the suite above the garage is a one bedroom apartment for longer stays.
The elevator services the unfinished third floor and I noted how the ductwork was carefully tucked between the roof rafters to maximize the useable floor area for myriad uses including an office area, teen recreation room or simply easily accessible storage.
The most private lot in the development, sunrises over the Tred Avon River, water views that expand when the leaves fall, large lot with room for a pool, architecture with great curb appeal, floor plan with easy flow, all in a planned development that now has a mature landscape-hard to resist-Bravo!
For more information about this property, contact Cliff Meredith with Meredith Fine Properties at 410-822-6272 (o), 410-924-0082 (c), or email@example.com. For more photographs and pricing, visit www.cliffmeredith.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.
It is hard to believe but this article marks my fifth year of celebrating Talbot County’s best architecture, interiors and landscape. I am indebted to the owners who graciously gave me tours of their homes, the architects and realtors whose outstanding properties inspired me and their administrative assistants who provided the info I needed.