Spy House of the Week: Urban Oasis on Grace Street


Grace Street is one of the few streets in the heart of St. Michaels that is not a thoroughfare from Talbot St. so vehicular traffic is generally limited to residents. You can walk to Talbot St. and dine on St. Michaels’ “Restaurant Row” or walk to the other end of Grace St. and pick up the Rails to Trails for a morning workout or evening stroll.

The rear garden of this house has been transfigured into an urban oasis. When the yellow “open garden” sign is posted, visitors are welcome to enjoy the owners’ shade trees, plantings and whimsical sculptures that delight the eye. The former rear garage that is partially renovated has a lower floor storage room. A pair of double doors open to reveal a surprise screened porch that overlooks the garden. The whimsical “bottle” sculpture is surely the best use of recycled wine bottles I have ever seen! Upstairs is a finished attic space that the grandchildren have claimed as their own secret hideaway.

The house’s exterior is very pleasing with its weathered gray shingle siding contrasted with the crisp white trim. The cozy front porch is a prelude to the delightful interior spaces within. High ceilings, moldings, beautifully finished hardwood floors with decorative stained glass windows are a backdrop to the eclectic decorating with antiques accents and artisan accessories. I was ready to make an offer for my favorite piece of furniture, the “parrot” chair, found in one bedroom.

The stairs are located on the side of the house to maximize the sizes of the interior rooms. The front sitting room has a working fireplace and the cozy room behind it is framed by a large bay window. The rear of the house is surrounded on three sides by a continuous wall of windows. The warm green wall above the windows to the ridge of the pitched ceiling further accentuates the window wall with panoramic views of the gardens.

I was thoroughly enchanted by this house and how the personality of Owner is expressed in the exquisite decorating and the nurtured gardens.

For more information about this property, contact Ann Hymes at 410-745-3979 or whimsytowers@ gmail. This property is a “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO).

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. Her passion for Italian food, wine and culture led her to Piazza Italian Market where she is the Director of Special Events, including weekly wine tastings and quarterly wine dinners.

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