Spy House of the Week: Mulberry Perfection


The original plan of St. Michaels was developed by British agent James Braddock. The cornerstone of the plan was St. Mary’s Square in the area known as “Braddock’s Square” whose boundaries were the harbor, Mulberry, Talbot and E. Chestnut. This house at 202 Mulberry was one of the first sold In Braddock’s Square to John Rolle “Gent”. There was an reference to a frame dwelling as early as 1804 when it was home to the Merchant family, who later built what became known after the War of 1812 as the “Cannonball” House next door. Until 1916, the other owners were the Fairbank and Hambleton families. At that time, ownership passed to the Orem family who undertook extensive renovations.

During the Seventies, the house became a duplex but in 2001 Minerva Enterprises reverted the house to its original single family residence.  Their careful restoration preserved original items from its past such as two doorbells, and a push-button light switch. They replicated the shed in the backyard that is now a studio to a very gifted quilter.

I loved the form and massing of the house with its front gable and wrap-round porch that ended at the side gable wing which projected from the main house. The original house layout was a side stair hall, front parlor, rear kitchen and another sitting room.  The 1915 renovations replaced the kitchen with a dining room and a new kitchen was added at the rear along with another sitting room.

What impressed me so much about this house were the wonderful vistas on axis from room to room throughout the house.  When you open the front door, you look through the dining room to the rear kitchen. The cross vista from the dining room is centered on a fireplace flanked by large windows.  The sofa on the side wall is in front of a wide doorway to the family room beyond and centered on the double windows on the rear wall with views of the landscape beyond.

I am a cook and I loved the kitchen with its two-toned wood craftsman cabinets with the trim in a darker shade than the face of the cabinets.  The sloped ceiling had two skylights and windows on the side and rear for more light and views of the pastoral rear yard. A small butler pantry connected  the kitchen to the dining room and I noted the owners had many of the same cookbooks that I do!

The second floor front guest room’s iron beds had beautiful multi-colored quilts in a triangular pattern crafted by the owner. The middle room was a sitting room for the serene and spacious master suite that opened to a bedroom with clever storage to maximize space and a bath.  

The rear yard was lushly landscaped and a quiet oasis from the Town activity nearby. The shed at the rear was the domain of the quilter and I loved how the original exterior door was preserved.  A bi-fold French door behind it allowed the owner to have light and views to the landscape while she created another quilted work of art.

This house truly embodied Habitat’s goal to celebrate the best of Talbot County’s architecture, interiors and landscape.  When I bade goodbye to the Owner, I told him I wish I could write him a check for the house! The lucky buyer who does will become the steward for this wonderful part of St. Michaels’ architectural history.

For more information abou

t this property, contact Amy Berry with Meredith Fine Properties at 410-822-2001 (o), 310-310-0441 (c) or amy@talbotfinehomes.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.


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