Just beyond the outskirts of Chestertown is this pastoral setting of pasture, fields and towering trees that surround a group of buildings including a main house, guest cottage and two barns. The property, once known as Mill Ford, is located on the upper reaches of Langford Creek’s east branch. Its history begins in the eighteenth century with its purchase by Daniel Perkins Jr., whose father had established a fulling mill, grist mill and saw mill on Morgan Creek. Daniel Perkins, Jr. built the main house and later renovations were made by his son and grandson. Subsequent owners included John Brice and his son, Joseph Brice, who continued to operate the mill until it was destroyed by fire in 1910. The original grist stone remains at the front corner of the main house and the Brice name lives on in the sign “Brice’s Mill Farm” at the entrance to the property.
The original house was a two-bay, two-story structure, with a brick chimney in the middle of each side gable elevation. The original kitchen may have been located in the basement since it has a brick fireplace sized for cooking. After the property sold in 1930, the current kitchen wing that telescopes down from the main wing was added, the stable was renovated and the dairy barn was built. On the day I visited, I drove along a gravel road under the shade of huge oak trees to arrive at the main house. The driveway continues past the detached garage with its “barn” style doors and the guest house opposite the barns. The simple forms of the white brick main wing and the white lap siding of the kitchen wing stand out against the green backdrop of trees that surround the clearing for the buildings. Wood steps lead up the center front door painted deep coral surrounded by moldings of olive green.
The front door opens opposite the “L” shaped stairs and the living room. Sunlight pours in from windows on three sides and is reflected off the bright white walls. I especially liked the crisp detailing of the windows set into the deep brick exterior walls. Instead of wood trim, the drywall continues around the recessed windows, accented by window sills of 400 year old stained pine. Next to the front door, a built-in cupboard and bench with a wood seat accommodates a neat row of wellies below and pegs above for coats.
The focal point of the living room is the wide brick chimney flanked by windows on each side. The white walls, pine floors, exposed beams stained a darker color and multiple windows create charming interior architecture. The living room leads to the dining room in the secondary wing with a built-in corner cabinet next to the front window and French doors on the rear wall leading to the screened porch. With tomorrow’s equinox signaling the beginning of fall, how delightful it will be to open the French doors to the cool fall breezes and enjoy dinner with family and friends.
As readers know, I love galley kitchens and I admired this kitchen’s olive green base cabinets, wood countertops interrupted by the Delft tiles on either side of the stove for easier transfer of hot pots after cooking, wood floors and a bead board wall for texture. I have missed radiator heat since my move from Pittsburgh and at the end of this kitchen, the radiator cover becomes a piece of furniture. The rear door of the kitchen leads to the screened porch with a hipped bead board ceiling and a colorful wood mermaid sculpture over the dining room’s French doors. The bistro table and tiled top beckon one to linger over that second cup of morning Joe to enjoy the peaceful landscape and the sounds of nature as the day begins.
A short hall off the kitchen passes by the powder room. Small spaces can have a big impact like this powder room with its tiled floor of small white octagon tiles with a black border, porcelain enamel wall mounted white lavatory top and black base and the white shiplap wainscot. Above the wainscot is a charming wallpaper pattern with an olive background featuring pairs of birds facing each other as if they are about to begin a minuet. Past the powder room are the stairs to the basement with its above ground windows for daylight and the original fireplace. What a terrific space with myriad uses from office to teen rec. room with its exterior door and steps up to the side brick terrace.
The second floor stair hall along the rear wall is sunlit by a window and I admired the wall hanging with its design of animals and geometric designs in earth colors. The primary bedroom is located above the living room and shares the chimney. Here the fireplace has a wood firebox surround painted white to blend into the white walls. The kilim over the wood floor, the twig rocking chair, wood chest of drawers and the white coverlet with flowers is a serene retreat for all, including the family dogs. Two other bedrooms and a bath complete the floor.
This family compound includes a cozy cottage currently occupied by a doting grandmother. The exterior siding of white board and batten siding casts playful shadows on the facades of the cottage that was built in 2017 from a Southern Living design by Patrick Jones. The floor plan works very well with the entry door opening opposite the wall behind the stairs to the loft bedroom and office space. The stairs overlook the living-dining area leading to a screened porch with views of the landscape. Behind the stairs are the mudroom/laundry with its own entry, kitchen and the main floor bedroom and bath. I especially liked the kitchen with its white cabinets, stainless steel appliances and island with double windows over the sink for more landscape views.
Brice’s Mill Farm is a private haven and unique opportunity for three generations to live together in a pastoral setting of farm fields and pasture with an architectural mix of the historic main house and the four-year old cottage. The property includes eight tillable acres, three acre pasture, ¾ acre paddock, horse stable, historic brick barn, workshop, and farm office. The only thing missing is a pond to replace the Mill Pond that once bordered the property!
For more information about this property, contact Richard Budden at Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate Company, 410-778-0330 (o), 443-480-1181 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org, “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.