Spy House of the Week: Little Giddings – At Home with Joan Wetmore


Today as a new feature of Habitat, I will begin to celebrate excellence in interior design, whether the work was done by professionals or owners with innate design talent. Recently I attended a luncheon at Joan Wetmore’s house in Neavitt, As my friends and I arrived, I remarked how charming her shingle style two-story house with a front wrap-around porch was.  After opening the front door, it was clear the interiors were even more charming. As I walked through the beautifully decorated rooms, I noted how well the scale of the furnishings complemented the size of each room. I also appreciated how the floor plan had not been “modernized” to create the ubiquitous “open concept”. Instead, the rooms maintained their original dimensions with very little alteration. I also learned of Joan’s lifelong interest in antiques and many beautiful pieces that her discriminating eye selected graced each room.

Since this was my first visit to Joan’s home, she gave me a tour and explained the changes she had made to the original house. She extended the HVAC closet next to the stairs that had the dual effect of creating an entry alcove and a short hall leading to the bathroom. The half glass door, sidelights and transom added light to the entry and a wooden rack on the side wall held her collection of hats. Next to the HVAC closet, new millwork displayed her art, books, collectibles and family photographs. The wall opening between the sitting and dining rooms was widened to create a vista to the rear wall of the house.

I coveted the two distinctive spindle chairs with high backs and fretwork sides in front of the porch windows of the main sitting room.  The loveseat with side arms that curved slightly inward was carefully chosen to fit between the two front windows. The neutral colors and placement of the furnishings made the space seem larger than it was and the accents of the patterned rug, the Oriental style tray that became the coffee table top, artwork and simple window treatments gave this room a sophisticated look.

The dining room was at the center of the house and had views to the rear yard and all the main floor rooms. The beautiful antique table anchored by an Oriental rug was centered in the room opposite an antique Grandfather’s clock and an antique chest that gave warmth to the space. The delightful sun room with triple side windows and rear double windows was Joan’s office.  Since it has a closet, she is considering replacing the deck chair with a chair/bed for her grandchildren’s visits.

My favorite room was the kitchen at the rear of the house. The pitched ceiling with two exposed collar beams and windows on three sides for daylight created great interior architecture.  Along one side wall cream colored cabinets with glass-fronted upper doors held Joan’s collection of ceramics and glassware. Antique pieces including a distinctive armoire with upper glass fronts, another chest and a small piece between the doorway to the dining room and the pantry/laundry that held more serving pieces. In the center of the room was an antique table with Queen Anne chairs for dining for views through the rear double windows to the deep rear yard.

One of the two upstairs bedrooms spanned across the front of the house and had windows on two sides. This serene bedroom  with its light aqua walls, wood bed frame with low headboard and footboards, white quilted coverlet, striped bedskirt and patterned shams created a restful retreat.  Two small wooden tables with lamps served as nightstands. The rear bedroom walls were painted in butter yellow which was a backdrop for a vertical row of china plates and artful arrangements of art and memorabilia. A set of nesting tables served as one nightstand and on the other side of the bed was an antique washstand.  An antique trunk at the foot of the bed held stacks of art books and design magazines.

As I left Joan’s house, I reflected upon her innate design talent and exquisite taste that produced such wonderful interiors and gave the house its distinctive personality. Brava!


Joan Wetmore is a realtor with Meredith Fine Properties and provides staging assistance to her customers. Contact Joan at 410-924-2432 (c) or JoanWetmore@msn.com.

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.

Letters to Editor

  1. Loved this piece! I’ve been a fan of Joan’s eye for some time. Thank you for sharing it Jennifer.

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