The author of my primary reference book for significant houses in Talbot County, Christopher Weeks, states in his book Where Land and Water Intertwine that “Boston Cliff” has the “most carefully executed early Georgian interior in Talbot County.” He also cites a chimney brick marked “1729” as evidence. I would imagine most architectural historians would agree that “Boston Cliff”, patented in 1665, is one of the most significant houses in the entire Chesapeake region. It is a great pleasure to feature this house and its grounds today.
“Boston Cliff” underwent several phases, beginning in 1676, with two later phases in 1729 and 1954. The splendid massing of the front elevation shows the phase one part of the house as a one and half story Flemish bond brick building with five bays and the entry door with its jack arch in the center bay with a stepped water table brick course. The 1954 phase three addition to the east side is also a one and a half story three bay building, telescoped down from the main wing.
The front door opens onto the entrance hall with its open-string staircase, turned balusters, continuous handrail, carved tulip step-ends and raised panel side wall. The center hall plan with living and dining rooms on either side and a modern den in the rear has original painted Georgian raised panels in most rooms, painted in the distinctive colors of its day. Other interior details include six fireplace mantels with bolection moldings, built-in cupboards, five fireplaces, raised panel doors with original hinges, paneled window seats and Gunstock corner posts.
As you pass by the brick piers at the end of the drive, the front elevation comes into view with its very pleasing textures of red brick, gray weathered wood roofing and white windows, dormer siding and trim, framed by mature trees and giant aged boxwoods flanking the front door. The side elevations are dominated by the chimneys with articulated chimney caps at each end and windows at each floor. The rear elevation massing includes shed additions with white lap siding that project from the main wing of the house. The outbuildings include a guest house designed by Dr. H. Chandlee Forman, AIA, a paddock, horse stalls and tack room. The English garden is enclosed by a picturesque fence with a brick base and white fencing above next to the pool with a brick surround.
The current owners have lovingly maintained this treasure. The wood floors have been refinished and they consulted with Paint Historian Susan Buck for selections of wall colors. I especially liked the slate blue of one parlor’s full height raised paneled wall that dropped to a wainscot on the other walls, the light olive-gold of the dining room with the arched corner cabinet and the deep red of another parlor. The owners’ exquisite taste in furnishings matches the historic elegance of this extraordinary house that has been on the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage. Now it could be yours!
For more information about this property, contact Bob Shanahan with Shoreline Realty, Inc, at 410-822-7556 (o) 410-310-5745 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org, “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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