This majestic house is one of the finest examples of the Colonial Revival style of residential architecture in Easton and one of my favorite houses in Easton’s Historic District. Constructed in 1909-1910, the house is listed on the Maryland Historical Trust Registry as the William Mason Sheehan House in honor of its first owner, William Mason Shehan, who served as Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Talbot County and lived in the house until 1941. The two-and a half story house is set back deep from the street in order for one to savor and fully appreciate the magnificence of its monumental symmetrical three-bay front façade above a six-course full American brick foundation. The brick sidewalk leads to brick steps to the front porch that spans the length of the house.
The imposing front portico is one-bay wide and formed by the cross gable roof’s projecting pediment, supported by twin pairs of Corinthian full height columns whose width is perfectly proportioned to their height. Further ornamentation includes single pilasters opposite the columns, denticulated boxed cornice with returns over the columns and a beautiful Palladian window centered in the pediment. On either side of the front portico are wide windows with shutters at both the first and second floors. At the main level of the house, a wide recessed segmental-arch resting on Tuscan pilasters creates an exquisite entry bay, sheathed in wood panels with the six-panel entry door centered between single windows and built-in wooden seats below. Above the elliptical arched recess is a triple window at the second floor. The side elevations are bisected by brick chimneys and on one side, the former screened porch is now a delightful sunroom with steps leading to the garden, pool and guest house. The color palette of red brick, white siding and black shutters is timeless in its beauty.
The front door opens onto a wide entrance hall with pristine white walls, white wainscot, hardwood floors and sunny vistas to the dining room, living room and to the rear addition that is now a family room. The curvature of the recessed entry creates concave corners at the front walls of both the living and dining rooms. Additional curved walls at the base of the “U” shaped stairs to the second floor and the living room echoes this design element.
Wide wall openings with pocket doors lead from the entry to the living and dining rooms. The magnificent living room extends the full depth of the house and its interior architecture is enhanced by the full rear bay of windows, white wainscot, the fireplace centered between French doors to the sunroom and the wide front window for sunlight throughout the day. The focal point of the dining room is the bay window extending the full width of the side wall with a clear vista through the house to the sunroom.
Behind the dining room is the spacious kitchen that I dearly coveted for its serene color palette of light gray stone floors, white cabinets, dark countertops, white tile backsplash and unique details. Some of the cabinets above the upper cabinets are glass faced, lit for display and the exquisite high window above the range with its filigree muntins echo the design of the windows in the portico’s pediment. An arched top French door with the same muntin design and a side window bring additional sunlight into the space and access to a rear deck that leads to off-street parking at the alley.
The architecture of the sunroom is beautifully detailed with wrap-around windows and French doors with transoms. The textures of the exposed brick chimney, hardwood floors, painted slat ceiling, rattan furnishings and bright blue cushions create great interior architectural character and make the sunroom the perfect spot to relax after a dip in the pool. Another room for relaxation is the den, centrally located at the rear of the house with windows on three sides and built-in millwork with the TV.
Above this space on the landing to the second floor is an exquisite pair of French doors, full sidelights and fan light transom that lead to a spacious office whose location gives it sound isolation from both floors of the house.
In 2016, Charles Goebel Architects designed upgrades/alterations to the second and third floors for a previous owner and I especially admired the master bath layout. The door from the master bedroom opens between separate lavatory cabinets and the vista is centered on the free-standing tub below a window. Half-height walls separate the toilet area and the glass-walled shower from the tub. The scale of the tile floor is perfect for the space and in keeping with the historic character. The sunny corner master bedroom and the angled fireplace at the opposite corner, white wainscot below light blue walls and white bedlinens create a peaceful retreat.
The secondary stair off the kitchen has a skylight discreetly located at the rear roof and leads to the delightful third floor tucked under the cross gable roof. The end wall room with bunk beds would be popular with children of all ages and the center storage room is daylit by the exquisite Palladian window in the portico’s pediment.
The guest apartment/cabana was also designed by Charles Goebel Architects and its architecture, especially the stepped triple window in its front gable, pays homage to the main house. The trellises visually anchor and connect the buildings to the professionally landscaped garden between the two buildings and next to the pool.
One of Easton’s most distinguished and treasured houses, upgraded and renovated with the highest standard of care to preserve the original period details that were the finest in its day and tasteful interior design that makes this grand house a home. Bravissimo to the current owners whose love of historic architecture has preserved this gem and other houses for the next generation!
For more information about this property, contact Chuck Mangold with Benson and Mangold Real Estate at 410-822-6665 (o), 410-924-8832 (c) or email@example.com. For more pictures and pricing, visit the house’s website www.213southharrisonstreet.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”. Charles Goebel Architects, www.cpgoebel.com, 410-820-9176
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.