I always enjoy featuring one of Chestertown / Kent County’s many exceptional historic houses but finding a contemporary design like this week’s feature is an unexpected pleasure. A meandering drive through the woods past two stone piers that mark the entrance to “Highfield” begins your journey to this very special place. Floating stone steps lead to the entrance reached through a covered portion of the deck suspended above the ground. The three and a half level house is sited on a promontory above twenty-five acres with private pastoral views in every direction. Woods, seasonal flowering plants, bushes and trees and the dramatic focal point of the pond with a “mile high” fountain quickly lulls one into a relaxed state of mind. I could readily imagine gazing at the fountain and lingering over my morning coffee or my early evening aperitivo on the cozy terrace with rattan cushioned seating.
I was struck by how the house blends seamlessly into the woods since its wood vertical board and batten siding is the same color as the bark of the tall trees in the foreground of the rear elevation. Wide expanses of glass offer panoramic views of the scenic landscape and multiple decks on many levels provide quick access to the outdoors for a closer look.
The vertical plan is zoned very well with level one containing guest bedrooms, bath, spa with whirlpool, sauna, work out area, mini-kitchen and laundry. There is also a detached pavilion with a lap pool and a hot tub on the level one deck.
Level two contains the entrance hall with its artisan front door and hardware, the main kitchen and open plan living and dining area. The stairs leading to level three are partially open at the bottom to maintain the feeling of open space. The living room area has an “L” shaped sofa arranged around the fireplace and the grand piano in front of the corner windows is opposite the dining area.
In back of the seating grouping is a marvelous shed roofed space with wrap-around floor to ceiling windows and side wall transoms that project over the exquisite landscape. The contemporary furnishings include what appear to be an Eames chair and ottoman and a Corbusier lounge chair for contemplating nature. The kitchen has a high ceiling with a row of windows above one run of the upper cabinets, a center island with a large pot rack for easy access to the cooktop behind it and plenty of cabinets and countertops for entertaining family and friends.
Level three contains the master suite with the bedroom walls in light sage green and above the bed with its white linens is a round mirror with vertical and horizontal “muntins” to mimic a window. Off the master bedroom is another deck for a bird’s eye view of the landscape below. In contrast to the serene bedroom, the master bath has light gray walls, white cabinets and plumbing fixtures. I especially liked the free-standing slipper soaking tub next to the glass-walled shower.
Other guest rooms and baths are located on this level. If I were a guest, I would claim the fantastic sitting room with red walls and wrap-around wide ganged windows on level four where I could watch the birds in flight as they pass by at my eye level.
An incredible wooded site with panoramic views of nature that feels like a forest preserve, water features including a stream and the fountain pond, a compact vertical house that is carefully inserted into this pristine pastoral setting, multiple decks for quick access to the outdoors, an indoor pool pavilion-an amazing property!
For more information about this property, contact Nancy McGuire with Maryland Heritage Properties at 443-480-7342 or [email protected].
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.