Real Estate Price Points: What $701,000 to $1,000,000 Buys You in Chestertown

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This week’s feature is a property listed for $735,000 in Chestertown.

I love the tradition of naming one’s house; I christened my modest farmhouse “Maple Leaf Cottage” in deference to the two towering silver maples on my property. The name of today’s feature, “Reed House”, may have been inspired by the shoreline vegetation along its setting on the Sassafras River.

Each elevation of this house had great appeal. The symmetrical front façade with its center door flanked by windows, three second floor windows aligned above and attic with its peaked center gable, decorative window and a dormer window on either side all contribute to Reed House’s charm. The wrap-around porch covers the front and one side of the house for relaxing outside and enjoying the views of the river. There is also another porch on the opposite side.

A long shed dormer and a protruding two-story bay on the rear and side elevations also offer great charm. Large windows on the main floor give the kitchen and informal dining areas views of the river. I could easily imagine being a guest and perching on the window seat under the wide triple windows and conversing with my hosts while dinner was being prepared. The dining room in one corner of the house had bold red walls with crisp white trim, hardwood floors and lovely antique furnishings. The house has been tastefully renovated without compromising its historic charm.

The open attic level is a blank slate and offers great possibilities limited only by one’s imagination. Windows on three sides bring sun in throughout the day. This family has made it a playroom for children of all ages.

For more information about this property contact Chris McClary with Gunther McClary Real Estate at 410-275-2118 (o), 410-708-2614 (c) or mcclary21@hotmail.com or John Burke, 443-206-3727 (c) or jburke57@gmail.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

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.

Spy House of the Week: Contemporary on the Chester

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Several readers have wanted to know my favorite architectural style. I love houses and have lived in a mid-century modern, bungalows, four-squares and my current farmhouse. If I had lived in the early twentieth century my dream team of designers would have been the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, the garden designer Gertrude Jekyll and the interior designer William Morris. Contemporary houses are also hard to resist so this house on the Chester River caught my eye.

The views of the broad expanse of the river from the house are unbroken by vistas of other houses for serene seclusion. The street view of the house shows an interesting  mix of contemporary forms faced with vertical battens that cast shadows on the walls for added texture. The kitchen, family and dining areas are open to each other and the exposed ceiling and roof rafters are painted white to reflect the light from the skylights above.

The “L” and island layout of the kitchen is my favorite layout. I also liked the light wood cabinets with off-white countertops, the stainless steel appliances and the tile backsplash. The master bedroom on the second floor at the end of the house has daylight from both the window on the end wall as well as the triple window in the dormer with views to the water. Knee-walls that blend into the sloped ceilings created  interesting interior architecture.  

 

For more information about this property, contact Mathew Hogan with The Hogans Agency, Inc. at 410-778-6858 (o) or matt@hogans.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. 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.

Habitat Price Points: What $410,000 to $700,000 Buys You in Chestertown

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This week’s feature is a property listed for $449,500 at 25165 Lovers Lane in Chestertown.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this custom-built house on Lovers Lane is nestled in a wooded lot with the Chester River close by. The light brown siding and trim and the darker brown roofing of this contemporary styled house blends well into the woods. The long roofs of the “L’ shaped house are broken by hipped roofs at each end and several dormer windows for architectural interest. One dormer window accentuates the front door below with its porch. Several skylights punctuate the roof for more light within.

I loved the openness of the main floor with its tile floor and stained wood ceilings. The stairs lead to a landing that is cut back to create a high ceiling for the dining area to contrast with the flat ceiling over the cozy seating area around the fireplace. Just beyond the living areas was a terrace with a pool.

The spacious master suite was on the main floor. The second floor rooms were all tucked under the roof eaves and I loved the variety of the ceiling planes. The large area contained bedrooms, recreation room with space for a pool table and TV room with built-in shelving made this a great retreat for children or guests.

For more information about this property, contact Grace Crockett with Doug Ashley Realtors LLC at 410-810-0010 (o), 410-708-5615 (c), or crockettgm@ymail.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

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. 

Design: A Home Before and After After Baby Makes Three

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I can’t think of a happier reason to plan an addition for a young couple than their planning for the first addition to their family. Spence and Kristen Stovall retained me several years ago to help them expand their first home in time for their baby’s arrival.

Spence’s grandfather was one of the founding partners of Higgins and Spencer. He built a family compound with a two story brick Colonial on the Miles River and a guest house on a separate adjoining parcel. Eventually Spence’s parents moved from the guest house to the Colonial house. After their marriage, Spence and Kristen moved into the guest house which was the size of a three-car garage. The first floor contained a living room, dining room, kitchen and bath. The second floor was partially finished with two small bedrooms and another bath.

Spence and Kristen’s priorities for the first floor expansion were to have a large kitchen with seating, a dining room to accommodate family gatherings and a workshop for Spence. The rear living room which was the width of the house would remain as-is with new French doors to replace the older sliding units. The second floor would be expanded to add two additional bedrooms, a second bath and a playroom.

The lot was a typical narrow urban lot so the only options with the Critical Area restrictions were to expand the front toward the street and widen one side of the house. The house’s footprint retained its simple geometry and the roof became the major design element with large gable walls and double windows on the sides of the house. Old and new construction were connected by a wing with shed dormers on each side. Another full length shed dormer at the rear elevation added much needed head room for expanded views to the harbor below. A new front porch was tucked under the second floor expansion facing Spence’s parents’ house for family visits.

The ground floor addition contained a large kitchen, a seating area with windows facing the harbor, an office area, storage for toys, and a dining room. Revising the “L’ shaped stair to a “T” zoned the second floor into the master suite at the rear and children/ guest rooms at the front. A large second bath with a playroom completed the second floor expansion. Enlarging the master bedroom gave Spence and Kristen much needed closet space.

The house was completed in time for the baby’s arrival and the third and fourth generations of Spencers lived happily ever after…

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.

Architect: Jennifer Martella, Wittman
Site Engineer: Rauch Engineering, Easton
Interior Design: Higgins and Spencer, St. Michaels
Contractor: Alchemy Works, Easton
Photography: Nanny Trippe, Trippe-Hilderbrandt Gallery, Easton

Habitat House of the Week: Wonderful Washington Avenue

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One of my favorite travel/humor writers is Bill Bryson. In his book, “The Lost Continent-Travels in Small Town America,” he returns after living in the United Kingdom for many years and sets off in his mother’s car across thirty-eight states to rediscover his native country. One of the towns to capture his interest was Chestertown.

I like to think Bill was charmed by the houses along Washington St. as much as I have been in selecting many of them for “House of the Week”. This house’s street façade has great symmetry with its first floor windows and front door windows aligned with the second floor windows and a single dormer window on each side of the hipped roof. On one side is a two story bay window projection to enhance the dining room and the bedroom above. The rear elevation has appealing architectural character with two screened porches, one off the kitchen for relaxing with that last cup of breakfast coffee and the other a second floor terrific sleeping porch with views to the rear yard.

The spacious entrance hall has an “L” shaped stair with original wood-paneled pocket doors leading to the parlor with a corner fireplace. Another pair of original wood-paneled pocket doors leads to the dining room. I loved the William Morris wallpaper in the entrance hall and the period details throughout the house. I am an avid reader and I especially liked the third floor stair landing with its wall of bookcases and a rocking chair for relaxing reading. I also can’t resist cozy bedrooms tucked under roof eaves and dormer windows as this house has.

For more information about this property, contact Lisa Raffeto with Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate Company at 410-778-0330 (o), 410-708-0174 (c) or lisar@cbchesapeake.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. 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.

Habitat: When Dreams and Land Development Meet by Robert Rauch

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Land development comes in many different types and sizes. Large or small, every project starts with a dream. Those dreams are often complicated with unexpected reality, the reality that any type of land development is complicated and requires the support of many professional consultants. Here are three very different examples of land development.

THE DREAMS

George and Mary Livingston purchased a 20-acre waterfront lot on the Miles River to build their dream home. They thought that all they needed to do was to hire an architect to prepare the house plans and find a contractor to build the house. They quickly learned there was much more to the project and many other businesses and professional services were required to get approval to build their dream home.

James Henry and two of his friends and business associates love the Eastern Shore. They dreamed of owning a waterfront farm that they could use for hunting and fishing for their family and friends. They found the perfect, 200-acre farm with 2,000 feet of unprotected waterfront, 40 acres of marsh, 60 acres of woods and 100 acres of productive farm fields. An existing small historic farmhouse was well suited for a hunting lodge.

There was also deep water and they imagined building a dock and owning several boats. Unfortunately, the cost of the property was higher than they could justify for their personal recreation. The eroding shoreline also presented a future expense that they did not have the financial capabilities to complete. They decided that they should subdivide several lots from the farm to generate income to support the project. They believed that the only professional services they would need to create the lots and make the sales was an attorney, a surveyor, a contractor, and a realtor.

The Jumbo Land Company, a nationally recognized planned community developer, placed an option on four separate contiguous farms to create a 600-acre site for a 1,000 unit mixed use development. The developer hoped to be able to get the necessary permits and approvals to start construction in 2 years. Jumbo is an experienced developer and they assembled a team of local experts to get the desired approvals.

THE REALITY

The Livingston’s discovered that a survey plat is needed to verify the legal status of the lot or parcel planned for their home. This plat is the basis for the creation of a site plan for the house and all related improvements. The plat must also show all environmentally regulate areas, including tidal and non-tidal wetlands, forest limits, easements, right of ways, and buffers. An environmental scientist must verify the wetland limits and confirm all regulated buffers, setbacks and environmental easements. The surveyor will confirm the location of any legal road, utility, pedestrian or other regulatory easements.

The site plan must show the location of the well and septic system. An environmental scientist that specializes in on-site water and wastewater systems must locate and test an approvable sewage reserve area properly sized for the proposed home. The proposed sewage reserve area must be tested and approved by the local Environmental Health Director. A well driller or qualified consultant must obtain a permit to construct a potable well. An approved stormwater management plan must be designed by a qualified civil engineer. A site and grading plan is required for the construction of all of the site improvements that include driveways, fencing, mounding, swales, landscape areas etc. A sediment and erosion control plan is required for the proposed improvements.

Additional design services are required for pools, out-buildings, docks, shore protection and clearing of wooded areas. If the lot is located in the Critical Area, Critical Area Commission approval may be required. Verification of the 100-year flood plain must be completed by a licensed surveyor. If the regulated floodplain line is determined not to be correct, a registered professional surveyor can prepare a Letter of Map Amendment for approval by FEMA. The acceptance of the new flood boundary can then be used for regulatory purposes and lending institution insurance administration. The Livingstons discovered that the entire purchase, design, permitting and approval process could take well over a year to complete. The construction of the house would take another year to be ready to occupy.

Mr. Henry and his associates will require all of the same professional services that the Livingston’s needed for the development of their single-family home. The scope of the services will however be more extensive due to the size of the property and the multiple lots expected to be developed. A lawyer will be required to represent the partners in the regulatory process required for the desired subdivision. The buyers want to reserve all of marshland for hunting waterfowl, thirty acres of woods for deer and small game hunting, and at least 50 acres of the farm field for goose and dove hunting. Rural Countryside zoning limits the size of subdivided lots to a minimum of 20 acres. The land that the buyers want to reserve for their use can be consolidated into a single lot or divided into six or fewer parcels. Four additional residential lots can be created from the residual 80 acres.

A qualified land planner with complete knowledge of local zoning and subdivision regulations should be employed to design the most efficient site plan and subdivision plan to meet the owner’s needs and create lots that are marketable for the highest return. Decisions related to water access, roads, and wildlife pond construction will require the services of a design engineer. Well and septic services will be required on all of the proposed lots, as well as the parcel that the buyers plan to retain. An environmental scientist will be required to determine if individual wells and septic systems or shared facilities are the best water and sewer option for the project. If the best option for water and sewer service is a shared septic system and well, approval from the Maryland Department of the Environment will be required for design and construction approvals.

An engineer will be required to design the collection, treatment and disposal system for the shared wastewater treatment system and treatment for the shared well. An experience lawyer is necessary for the preparation of community rights and responsibility agreements. This agreement will establish the rights and responsibilities associated with access to the water, maintenance and financial obligations associated with share utilities and shared roads for each lot owner.

The buyers should also employ the services of an architectural archaeologist and an architect experienced in historic restorations to determine what can be done to the historic farmhouse. The approval process for this type of project will require meetings with the county planning staff, Planning Commission, Technical Advisory Committee, and the County Commissioners. Environmental groups, and concerned residents can be expected to participate in the public approval process. Permitting and approval of the project took a great deal more time than expected. Testing for the septic approvals were delayed due to groundwater conditions and testing extended into a second year. The public process and mandatory meeting schedules, hearing requirements and appeals extended the time for the approval of the project to over three years.

The Jumbo Land Company is very experienced and typically prepared for the extensive purchase, design, permitting and approval process associated with a major mixed-use development. A qualified land planning firm with experience in designs for the targeted markets is a necessity. A professional consulting firm that offers engineering, surveying, and environmental science must verify the extents of the property and site development constraints that will limit the developable area for the project. Protected habitat must be identified and incorporated into the site design. Public water and sewer are required for this type of project. A qualified professional will be required to study the capacity of the existing utility systems and quantify the impacts of the proposed development. Conceptual designs, will include collection system and right of ways, pumping stations and well locations, water storage needs, electrical service requirements, and on-site and off-site transportation requirements.

Compliance and consistency with the Comprehensive Master Plan and the Master Water and Sewer Plan is required for review and approval of all aspects of the project. A qualified land development lawyer, the land planner and the engineering team must work together to obtain the required plan revisions to support the project. Stormwater management concept plans should be completed and incorporated into the concept development plan. The public approval process for this type of project is extensive and time consuming. A large investment must be made at-risk to simply prepare a concept suitable for public review and approval. Financing considerations should take into account the long approval process and at-risk investments. A consultant experienced with grant and loan funding can assist in assuring the financial feasibility of the project. Studies, designs, permitting, financing and the public approval process extended over five years. Appeals from opponents and uncooperative public bodies further delayed the start of the project. Fortunately the Jumbo Land Company was not unaccustomed to this type of project timing and was able to survive the delays and start the project.

The names and properties used in the examples are fictional and intended to illustrate typical development scenarios that might be encountered on the Eastern Shore. The description of services and processes related to each type of development are representative of many of the professional services a land developer requires.

Robert Rauch, P.E. is the President of RAUCH inc., a civil engineering, survey, architectural and construction management firm based in Easton, Md. Bob is a Registered Professional Engineer in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. He serves on the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland, the Board of Directors for the University of Maryland Medical System, and The Board of Visitors of University of Maryland, A. J. Clark School of Engineering, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering. In 2016 RAUCH inc. was recognized as Talbot County’s Small Business of the Year. Bob was also recognized in 2017 as Talbot County’s Businessman of the Year.

Habitat Price Points: What $100,000 to $400,000 Buys You in Chestertown

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This week’s feature is a property listed for $199,900 at 303 Campus Avenue in Chestertown. For many people, “there’s no place like home” better than the popular rancher design. The rooms in this rancher were generously sized and having an attached one-car garage was a plus. I liked that there was a small entrance hall with a full glass storm door to let in light.

The focal point for the large living room was a long multi-paned bow front window that spanned across most of the front of the room. The end wall contained a fireplace and space for bookcases on either side for a very pleasing living room.

The dining room had a double window at the rear and a view through the doorway to the living room bow window for additional light. The dining room was open to the large kitchen that also contained the laundry area. I liked the retro corner of the kitchen peninsula countertop with the semicircular open shelving below. My favorite room was the sunroom addition with windows on three sides for views to the rear yard that was landscaped for privacy.

 

For more information about this property, contact Doug Ashley with Doug Ashley Realtors LLC at 410-810-0010 (o), 410-708-0480 (c), or doug@dougashleyrealtors.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

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.

Habitat House of the Week: At Home by the 13th Hole

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If I were a golfer, this house just off the 13th hole in the Country Club Estates would be hard to resist, especially with the views to the Chester River beyond the golf course. The one-story house is connected by a breezeway to a detached garage with an apartment above for guests. The focal point of the front elevation is a large gable that extends beyond the main roof to create a porch over the front door.

The glass front door flanked by sidelights brings light into the spacious entrance hall and a wide doorway leads to the formal dining room with its beautiful wood furnishings, crystal chandelier and fireplace between two long windows. The “L” shaped kitchen beyond with its hardwood floors, off-white cabinets and peninsula bar with its contrasting countertop and stainless steel appliances was very inviting. I especially liked the peninsula bar with three different styled pendant lights and the colorful artwork at the end wall.

The kitchen blended into the informal dining area with a wet bar/butler pantry. The space then dramatically opens up to a large family room that is separated from the rear sunroom by two columns to define the boundary. The sunroom had spaces for seating and a table for breakfast at the perimeter window wall. The vista from the kitchen to the sunroom was one continuous space for a wonderful open plan.

I especially liked the beautifully decorated bedrooms. The serene master suite had a four-poster bed and light blue walls. One of the other bedrooms had golden yellow walls, red and yellow printed bedskirt and headboard with a crisp off-white coverlet.

Being an avid reader, my favorite room was the library with its deep blue walls, white woodwork and plush, comfortable seating for curling up with a favorite book. If one tired of reading the millwork also contained a TV. I also loved the mud room with its bright green cabinetry, colorful poster, finely striped wallpaper, rattan cubbies beneath a bench topped with a bright blue cushion and the white floor with alternating small and large blue squares.

 

For more information about this property, contact Stacy Kendall with Cross Street Realtors at 410-410-778-3779 (o), (443) 480-3453 (c), or stacy@csrealtors.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. 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.

Habitat Price Points: What $701,000 to $1,000,000 Buys You in Chestertown

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This week’s feature is a property listed for $995,000 at 9559 Chantilly Farm Lane in Chestertown.

The aerial shot of this property caught my eye for its very appealing site layout. The great American architect and champion of organic architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, once remarked that no house should ever be on the hill…but it should be of the hill. He would have approved of this house sitting near the top of a slight hill framed by woods. The surrounding lawn gently slopes down to the 1000 foot shoreline and sandy beach along the Chesapeake Bay. The guest house is nearer the shoreline so the sightlines from the main house are unobstructed. Fields of wildflowers and a large pond complete this serene landscape.

I was intrigued how this one-level rancher ends in a dramatic wing with a wall of bowed windows whose height gradually increases under a curved wood ceiling. I also liked the detailing of the windows and doors-the windows had awning windows below for ventilation and the glass doors had transoms above for perfect horizontal alignment. This room has a Trombe wall for passive solar energy and the stone floor, stone fireplace surround, the contemporary furnishings and unique interior architecture created a great room. The patio off the sunroom was surrounded by native grasses and other plantings

The living/dining/ kitchen area was one continuous open plan with floor to ceiling windows in the dining/living area giving views to the Bay. Basements are unusual in our area due to our high water table but this house has a wine cellar in the large basement. If I were lucky enough to be a guest, I could easily imagine relaxing with a glass of wine in the guest house near the water’s edge…

For more information about this property contact Glen Sutton with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty at 410-280-5600 (o), 410-507-4370 (c) , or gsutton@ttrsir.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

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.