I had toured this property when it was for sale several years ago and it was such a pleasure to reacquaint myself with the French Country house whose architecture and interiors are trés magnifique! Like many houses on the water, there was a previous house close to the shoreline that enabled this house to start its new foundation much closer than is allowed today to take full advantage of vistas to Broad Creek. There are not enough superlatives in either French or English to describe the blend of the exceptional architectural design of architect Jon Braithwaite, Principal of Atelier 11 Architects and his Associate, Tom Batchelor, that inspired the exquisite French Country interior design.
The house has a remarkably compact footprint considering its over 4,000 sf size. All of the elevations are equally appealing due to the architect’s masterful studies in massing, scale, proportion and texture, executed in stone and brick detailing that will last for centuries as the great French country houses have. The front elevation has a center three-story gable stone wall in gray tones and full height brick quoins in reddish brown tones. I loved how the brick quoins turn and follow the outline of the roof as a frame for the stone. Tucked under the roof ridge are two double windows accentuated by brick headers and sills. At the second floor is a box bay supported by brackets back to the exterior wall with a pair of arched top windows a la Francaise surrounded by irregular shake shingles in gray.
At the main level is the stained mahogany entry door edged in brick and covered by a triangular roof supported by brackets. The left side of the front gable roof continues down to the first floor and a tapered brick chimney is flanked by tall and narrow arched top windows with another small rectangular accent window at the top right wall. On the other side, a curved room with a metal roof is set on top of another larger curved room below that creates a balcony for the second floor bedroom suite above. Two small dormers on each side of the main roof complete the composition.
The waterside elevation is defined by the 9 x 47 foot screened porch with its sloped metal roof. Rising behind it is another chimney that bisects the gable roof of the second floor with stacked windows on each side topped with quarter arched windows, a shed dormer on one side of the main roof and the curved rooms that connect the porch to the main house wall.
The symmetrical interior vistas of the main floor resulted from careful studies by the architects. The front entry door is opposite another door that leads to a bedroom suite with a pocket door to close off the suite for privacy. The foyer hall leads to the dramatic suspended stair between the living and dining rooms whose ceilings rise to the second floor. The large hand-hewn roof structural supports were rescued from a Singer Sewing factory and the exposed wood decking above is finished in stained wood punctuated by small dormers for light. The exterior fireplaces in the dining and living rooms are opposite each other and rise to the underside of the second floor ceilings. The living room is between the “his” and “her” library/study rooms. The doors to these rooms are opposite each other for beautiful vistas to the fireplace in one study with a window seat and to a curved bay with a window seat below flanked by bookcases in the other study. I loved the kitchen with the exquisite curved continuous windows meeting French doors to the screened porch and the water views beyond. One does not often see window frames and glass that are curved!
The two master suites on the second floor are located at the waterside corners of the house on either side of the bridge overlooking the two-story living and dining rooms. One suite has a “Juliet” balcony accessed by French doors and an inglenook under the shed dormer with its curved interior ceiling for a cozy sitting area. The other suite has a longer balcony whose curved shape was formed by the kitchen perimeter below. The sleeping area has a barrel vaulted ceiling and two small windows artfully placed just under the spring line of the barrel vault to filter light onto the ceiling. The flat ceiling over the curved wall of windows defines its cozy sitting area with water views.
Both the guest house and carriage house were built by the current owners and the architectural style and interior detailing matches the style, level of detail and craftsmanship of the main house. The current owners also added a pool surrounded by hardscape that connected the main house to the guest house.
7.7 acres of a private, partially wooded site with serene vistas to the water, exquisitely detailed exterior and interior design, the play of light from multiple sources of windows, dormers and doors and the very liveable floor plan make this house one of the most unique houses I have ever seen on the Eastern Shore-bravo to the Architects and to the Contractor!
For more information about this property, contact Tom Crouch with Benson and Mangold Real Estate at 410-745-0720 (o), 410-310-8916 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more photographs and pricing, visit http://bensonandmangold.com/agents/tom-crouch/, “Equal Housing Opportunity” Architecture of main house: Atelier 11, Jon Braithwaite, Principal and Tom Batchelor. Contractor of Main House: Frank Deak Guest House and Carriage House: Knappworks LLC
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.