During my tenure as Director of Marketing and Operations at Urban Design Associates in Pittsburgh, the firm was hired to design the master plan for the new neighborhood of Easton Village and to produce a “Pattern Book” of house designs. The team of urban planners and architects visited Easton, Oxford and St. Michaels and they were especially enchanted by Oxford in general and Morris St. in particular. Between the landmarks of The Church of the Holy Trinity and the Robert Morris Inn, the design team discovered a treasure trove of houses like this two-story, five bay house with its center gable penetrating the roof and inset with a circular window with a diamond shaped muntin. The classic exterior color palette of white lap siding and black shutters, 2/2 windows and a period four-panel wood door with arched tops, full transom and half-glass sidelights is simply elegant.
The house is set on a wide lot with ample room for a driveway to a rear one car garage with an office/studio above. On the day I visited, I first walked around the lot and admired the mature landscaping and the charming brick mini-guest cottage. Then I walked close to the edge of the shoreline along the Tred Avon River and paused to gaze at the view of the Choptank River on the horizon and imagined how beautiful the sunsets must be from this property.
The front door opens into a foyer with a winding stair to the second floor. The door to the adjacent sunroom was open to create a clear vista through the sunroom’s rear wall of glass doors to the garden, lawn and water beyond. A wide elliptical arched opening leads to the living room and another elliptical arched opening divides the room into an inglenook with the fireplace flanked by fan topped recessed niches of open shelves. The backs of the niches were painted light blue to better highlight the collection of fine china and the light blue and peach color interior design created a serene setting. I especially admired the exquisite identical twin antique settees beneath the front windows and the plantation shutters were the prefect solution for privacy on a main street while still allowing light to filter inside.
Across the foyer is a smaller elliptical arch to the dining room with another fireplace and cupboards on each side that serves as a butler’s pantry. The room is beautifully appointed with antique furnishings including an exquisite sideboard and a period crystal chandelier. Behind the dining room is a second stair and a galley kitchen with an exterior door to the driveway. The kitchen’s wood floors, white cabinets, white veined marble countertops and stainless steel appliances have all the essentials any cook needs.
A later addition to the house created stacked suites with full baths and closets and tall bay window projections on each level. On the main level, the rear room is the library with a fireplace and built-in millwork. I admired the deep red walls with white trim, the picture rail that is set at the height of the panels above the bay’s window frames and how the white open shelves of the built-ins contrasted with the deep red walls. The bay window is positioned to have a clear view of the water and even though it is a delightful library, this room could easily become a primary bedroom suite.
The addition changed the geometry of the original footprint from a rectangle to an “L” shape with the sunroom at the inside corner of the “L”. This informal room with painted wood floors has ample space for breakfast and seating for relaxation. Four pairs of sliding doors access the delightful garden with brick walkways around the parterre, sculpture and long views to the water.
To break up the massing of the addition, the connection to the original part of the house steps down to create a space with windows in the knee walls and a pitched ceiling. The built-in millwork creates a great office space that includes the secondary stair down to the kitchen. The rear room of the second floor is the primary suite with a tall bay window in the bedroom overlooking the gardens that provides bird’s eye views of the water. The pitched ceiling and trimmed exposed collar beam over the beautiful antique furnishings and the restful interior design creates a serene retreat.
The main stair landing in the original part of the house leads to the second floor two guest rooms located at the front corners with a shared a “Jack and Jill” bath. I loved the interior design of one bedroom with its twin beds’ pencil post wood frames and white bed linens. At the foot of each bed is a quilt rack draped with colorful quilts for cool evenings. As lovely as this bedroom was, as a guest, I would claim the tiny one bedroom suite in the brick outbuilding beside the parterre garden as it is so easy to be charmed by a diminutive scale. The mini-cottage’s bonus is the pergola over the terrace behind the building for front row seats to watch the sun set. The side wall facing the adjoining property has a lattice panel for privacy and the lattice echoes the detail on the wall of the garage/studio across the garden.
Breathtaking long views to the Choptank River on the horizon, historic town, period architecture, outbuildings for myriad uses, the parterre garden and mature landscaping-all in one of my favorite towns-simply delightful!
For more information about this property, contact Ray Stevens with Benson & Mangold Real Estate at 410-226-0111 (o), 410-310-6060 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more photographs and pricing, visit www.oxfordmdrealestate.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.