Spy House of the Week: St. Mary’s Square: Tarr House Transformation


James Braddock’s eighteenth century urban design for St. Michaels created St. Mary’s Square as a residential street with public open space.  Unfortunately, only half of the square remains today whose boundary is defined by a ring of nineteenth century homes. William Tarr made his living from the water and his home, circa 1860, is one of the largest and best preserved. The front elevation retains its original massing with a main wing, full front porch with a decorative handrail and eave brackets under a hipped metal roof and a secondary “telescoped” wing.  The lap siding, 6/6 windows with wood shutters and the wood shake roof have been carefully preserved. Remarkably, the rear yard still includes two detached outbuildings one of which was the original kitchen.

The house has been restored and renovated by a developer with a special appreciation for historic preservation whose portfolio includes houses in the Historic District on Locust, Carpenter and Fremont Streets. To update the house for today’s living, a rear addition added space on the main floor for a kitchen/family room and screened porch. The second floor of the addition added a spacious master bedroom with exposed beams and double pairs of windows, a master bathroom with both a shower and a claw foot tub, a half bath and another screened porch. The original main floor contains the center stair between the living and dining room and the “telescoped” area is now a bedroom and bath for a main floor master suite or guest bedroom. The original second floor bedrooms and bath remain. The windows, deep elliptical archways with wood trim, refinished hardwood floors and the fireplace surround and mantel evoke another era.

My favorite rooms were the second floor screened porch where I could imagine falling asleep on a hammock while catching a gentle breeze and the room behind it tucked under the “telescoped” wing with a gambrel shaped ceiling and exposed beams. I would use that room as a TV room and combine it with the screened porch to make a perfect indoor/ outdoor family room.


For more information about this property, contact Cornelia Heckenbach at Long and Foster Real Estate Inc., 410-745-0283 (v), 410-310-1229 (c) or info@corneliaheckenbach.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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