It is always a pleasure to feature a house designed by another architect and this contemporary house is a special pleasure since traditional architecture is the predominant style in our area. This house’s aerial first caught my eye for its being nestled in the woods above Fairlee Creek. The architect graciously shared his site sketch that illustrated his thinking about the sequential approach to the house. After pulling up to the gravel parking area, one passes under a trellis between the carport and garden sheds. The raised wood walkway then shifts 45 degrees and passes by the bluestone central courtyard patio and the house becomes visible. Its playful varied geometry of shed roofs against gable roofs and gray vertical siding casts shadows and enlivens the walls that blend into the natural surroundings. Lush native and ornamental plant gardens watered with an automated in-ground irrigation system surround the house and point the way to steps leading down to the dock with electric service. Accents of a bright blue front door and a reddish-orange tower element hint of further artistry within from this owner/architect and his equally talented wife who is a ceramics artist.
The house is zoned very well with the front door opening into a wide hall gallery of art with pitched ceilings covered in stained bead board, tile radiant floors and a clear vista to the rear wall of windows and doors to the terrace, landscape and water beyond. Halfway along the hall a dropped beam is a perfect perch for a family of waterfowl gymnasts and the beam defines the hall area that widens to create a home office space. Above the dropped soffit at the rear wall are transom windows whose headers follow the slope of the ceiling opposite the transoms over the front door to brighten the space with sunlight. The white walls are the perfect background for the owners’ collections and I especially liked the grouping of baskets and ceramics over ledges in the living room and the masks on the wall to the dining room.
One side of the gallery hall is the entertaining area with the open plan living-dining area, kitchen, pantry, den and screened porch connecting to the waterside terrace. The dining room has delightful varied wall heights-the wall at the gallery hall stops below the header that supports the transom windows at the front of the house and a pair of windows at the front wall for additional light. The wall at the kitchen side extends to the underside of the sloped ceiling and a perpendicular wall creates a niche for the fireplace with an exposed chimney pipe that is open to the kitchen.
The tile floors and stained wood beadboard ceiling extends into the kitchen. I love corner windows for their diagonal panoramic views and the pair at the rear of the kitchen offer views of the landscape. Under Cabinet and above cabinet accent lighting further enhance the space. The living area at the rear of the house has a brick wood-burning fireplace and the walls at the gallery hall have “cut outs” for light and openness and windows and a French door lead to the waterside screened porch. The cozy den at the front of the house has a sloped stained wood beadboard ceiling, corner windows and a niche for the TV with a ledge above for display.
On the other side of the gallery hall is a shorter hall between the front guest suite with its Murphy bed and the Master suite at the rear. At the end of the hall is the great room with its own exterior entrance, terrace and loft studio/bedroom. The master bedroom has windows at each waterside corner between a “bump-out” for a closet and a recessed niche for a wide wardrobe unit that does not protrude into the circulation area.
The vista from the short hall ends at the great room with its dramatic architecture. One corner has stacked windows at both the first and loft levels since the loft handrail is set back on one side for an overlook from the loft. The one-story corner has a window and a door to the private terrace. Built-ins for books and space for a large screen TV would make it easy to linger here over a lazy Sunday afternoon of reading or binge watching TV. The loft wall opposite the overlook railing has double stacked windows below a sloped ceiling and a ships ladder stair leads from the loft up into a delightful tower space that offers birds-eye views of Fairlee Creek or star-gazing at night. This wing of the house can be closed off to create a very private guest space.
The other option for guests is the detached guest house that is located next to the carport. The space is currently furnished as the owner-architect’s office and has its own full bath, kitchenette and sleeping loft. Between the guest house and the main house is a heated workshop/storage shed.
Private wooded waterfront site on Fairlee Creek, one nautical mile off the Chesapeake Bay, captivating contemporary architecture, imaginative interior architecture, stylish interiors and a building complex of approximately 3,500 sf-who could resist?
For more information about this property, contact Paula Reeder, GRI, Associate Broker, Long and Foster Real Estate at 410-643-2244 (o), 410-708-4947 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more photographs and pricing, visit www.longandfoster.com/paulareeder “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.