Like so many of Talbot County’s historic houses, this property has a unique provenance. Shortly after Maryland became a “Proprietary Colony” of the Calvert family, a British colonist named George Prouse emigrated from England and became one of the group of the earliest settlers who arrived on Maryland’s shores in 1632. He commissioned a survey in 1664 for a 100 acre tract that became known as “Mulberry Point”. Over the years, the property had several interesting names from “Prouse’s Point” to “Hap Hazard” (my personal favorite). Subsequent owners of the property had surnames that are well known now in the history of Talbot County; Harrison, Haddaway and Benson, among others.
The property was enhanced by construction of a house in 1752, under the tenure of Colonel William Webb Haddaway. Original features remain from that time, such as hand-cut beams with the “kerf” marks from the pit saws. The house became known as the “Steering House” since fishermen used the house on its promontory of land at the confluence of Leadenham, Grace and Broad Creeks to guide them home safely. One of the most well-known owners of “Steering House” was Brigadier General Perry Benson, who distinguished himself in the War of 1812. He successfully defended the Town of St. Michaels from the British in their first assault on the harbor in early August and in the second defense in late August.
The original house’s one-room deep architecture has a center bay with two side telescoping wings. The symmetry of the center door surrounded by windows and the classic white siding accented by black shutters are hallmarks of its Colonial style. Three of the main floor’s four rooms have fireplaces and I loved how the brick chimney between what is now the kitchen and family room has side corbels from the firebox to the chimney to become a sculptural element.
My favorite room is the original parlor at one corner with its two windows front to back with the rear windows overlooking the stunning water views, the original hand hewn beams, decking, wood floors and partial wood wall. On one side of the room, the rear of the adjacent dining room’s corbelled chimney is exposed. On the other side, the room’s fireplace is tucked under one of the original stairs to the second floor bedrooms What a wonderful library this would be!
The dining room table is centered on the fireplace and the rear windows for water views and I admired the owners’ collection of blue and white china displayed in an antique hutch at one corner. The open plan galley kitchen-family room has great views of the landscape and water from the additions of the front bay window, another bay window on the side wall and a breakfast room. The family room’s herringbone patterned brick extends into the breakfast room that feels like a sunroom with French doors on each side and a four-unit window at the rear wall. To maximize the views of the endless horizon of Broad Creek framed by two peninsulas, the current owner added a terrace at the original house’s main floor and a porch above that spans the length of the second floor.
To update the house for today’s lifestyle, the house was expanded with a large two-story addition with a wrap-around porch on the main floor and an upper porch to break down the massing. The wrap-around porch ends at both a second sitting area in the transition from old to new and the sumptuous master suite. The second floor of the addition has a great room with windows on three sides, a loft, two full baths and an adjacent bedroom suite with a bath and walk-in closet-the perfect layout for guests with children. The rear of the addition is stepped back to respect the original house’s form and the addition’s two-story porches also minimize its massing and create a rhythm of solid and open spaces in light and shadow.
The property also contains a charming one-room building that is currently used as a dance studio. The “shotgun” style architecture has a steeply pitched front gabled roof with a hipped metal roof over the full front porch. The dramatic interior has great texture with the exposed wall studs, roof rafters and decking and the windows filter sunlight into the space.
The outdoor room of the pool area is separated from the house by a white picket fence with an arbor marking the entrance. The pool is on axis with the endless horizon of water and the spacious wood pergola over random stone flooring is the perfect space for an al-fresco lunch after a dip in the pool or respite from the summer sun.
I always advise my architectural clients to find the best site they can for a new home. On the day I visited, I was mesmerized by the endless horizon of water and I imagined how picturesque the sunrises and sunsets would be from the multiple porches. This site’s 4.93 acres with 300 feet of shoreline, porches from every main room in the house for incomparable water views, historic architecture dating from 1752, and updates to please today’s buyers-a rare find!
For more information about this property, contact Laura Carney with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty at 410-673-3344 (o), 410-310-3307 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more photographs and pricing, visit https://lauracarney.com/properties/7308-quaker-neck-rd-bozman-md-21612-mdta140394 , “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.