After a short drive through a wooded lot with glimpses of the house, I walked down the bluestone walkway at the side of the detached garage that is perpendicular to the house. I admired the massing of the front elevation with two unequal gables bridged by a shed roof over four narrow windows just below the eave line and the Craftsman details of shake siding, deep overhangs and eaves. The walkway is on axis with the front entry glass door and full sidelights with a view to the rear glass wall of the entry. The breezeway created by the roof extension of the detached garage also creates shelter for the front door.
When the Owner opened the front door to welcome me, it was immediately clear this was an extraordinary interior. I first paused by the staircase to admire the unique handrail design of the Artisan Vicco Von Voss. A stained wood cap floats above slender white balusters and gracefully arcs out beyond the bottom tread and back to the post at the third tread. The owner told me Von Voss had sized the diameter and shape of the handrail to perfectly fit either hers or her husband’s hands. God is indeed in the details.
I noticed the art lined hall beside the stairs that led to the master suite but as I moved forward over the bluestone flooring further into the entrance hall, I was mesmerized by the view of the Bay through the floor to ceiling frameless picture window at the end of the entrance hall. I then looked left and right through wide wall openings to sitting rooms on either side of the center hall with the same floor to ceiling windows that also wrapped around each corner. Suddenly I realized the house was sited on a bluff very high above the Chesapeake Bay and the word “panoramic” seemed inadequate to describe the view of the water across to Baltimore on the far horizon.
The house is two rooms deep so the water views are omnipresent from most rooms. The volume and detailing of the sitting rooms and kitchen becomes a piece of sculpture with white walls, dropped beams meeting the structural mullions between each picture window and a wall cut-out in the upper kitchen wall. In one sitting room, a pair of uplights are mounted on the wall between the center picture window and the rectangular clerestory window above, set just below the flat ceiling plane of the gable roof. Above the other picture windows small square windows are placed at the point where the gable wall meets the flat ceiling.
The kitchen enclosure at the front corner of the house is a “U” shape with two compartments with no full height walls so the geometry of the roof planes are uninterrupted.One area containing a sink and R/F is closed off with doors for catering large parties. The other area is a galley with a high counter above the backsplash for bar stools. Glass fronted upper cabinets maintain the transparency and the upper cabinets above the bar stools area accessible from both sides. Around the perimeter is a continuous counter with storage below.
The master suite at the other end of the entrance hall has his/her baths finished in limestone, dressing rooms and a master bedroom with a corner fireplace. Upholstered cushions on window seats with storage below and a window wall of picture windows above for views of the water creates a serene spot. I especially liked the cozy sitting room with its bay window, built in desk and millwork and the choice of art on the one wall whose subject is a half open casement window in aclever perspective.
The second floor contains four more bedrooms, three full baths, another study with a rear window wall and built-in millwork and a large bonus room for myriad uses.
The exterior “outdoor rooms” of breezeway, screened porch that connects to the wrap-around covered porch along the rear of the main rooms offer unlimited views of the water and front row seats for watching the traffic on the Chesapeake/Delaware Shipping Channel and sunsets.
Incomparable site with the backdrop of the Bay, dramatic geometry of the interiors, transparency from the floor to ceiling windows and strategically placed other windows, the cross vistas that connect the adjoining rooms, high-end finishes and the highest level of craftsmanship- all combine to create this magnificent house that I very reluctantly left after a too short visit. Bravo to the vision of the owner and their design/construction team!
For more information about this property contact Lynn Hilfiker with Gunther McClary Real Estate at 410-639-2118 (o), 443-480-1163 (c) or email@example.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.
Photography by Stephen Buchanan, www.buchananphotography.com, 410-212-8753.
A plaque at the house lists the owners and their design team of:
Architecture by Chip Bohl of Bohl Architects, 410-263-2200, www.bohlarchitects.com
Construction by Winchester Construction, 410) 987-5905, www.winchesterinc.com.
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