During my drive to preview today’s feature, I was listening to my fave NPR program, Scott Simon’s “Weekend Edition”. He interviewed the VP of Chicago’s Morton Arboretum who spoke about 2023 being a “mast” year in which trees drop an overabundance of acorns and other nuts. I learned that “mast” years tend to happen every two to five years from a number of factors, including pollen. After parking my car under a canopy of oak trees, I gingerly made my way across the front yard to the sound of acorns crunching beneath their blanket of leaves. I soon reached a meandering path of random sized stones that enlarged into a welcoming freeform terrace leading to the front door. How fitting that today’s feature is an “Acorn” house!
I admired how well this Acorn house nestles in a clearing with sunlight filtering in from the tall trees and how its exterior palette took its cue from the trees’ bark color. The simple arrangement of shed roofs of different heights and lengths creates a very pleasing composition. I especially liked the bay projection at the side elevation with its “greenhouse” arrangement of glazing, skylights and the triangular accent window under the side eave.
This side elevation reveals the walk-out partial lower level and the wrap-around deck above. The walkway covered by the deck leads to steps beyond to access the deck and the upper deck off the primary suite. The deck at the main level of the house accommodates a hot tub and a table and chairs under the shade of the red umbrella. I especially liked the deck’s railing design of slender light gray posts supporting the thin cable that disappears into the landscape to maximize the view of Bolingbroke Creek.
As I walked around the site high above Bolingbroke Creek with expansive views of protected woodland, I paused several times to savor the peace and privacy of the house’s unique location. I followed the meandering path of large stones and discovered the stone terrace with a table and chairs under an umbrella. This terrace is the perfect spot for relaxing after a day on the water or enjoying an al-fresco meal.
The front door opens into a foyer across from the stairs and I glimpsed white walls and sloped stained wood ceilings beyond for further exploration. The centrally located “L” shaped main stair is above the shorter flight to the lower level and introduces the spatial organization of the floor plan. One shed roof two-story wing contains the main floor bedrooms and bath with the primary suite and an office/bedroom on the second floor. The other shed roof two-story wing contains the open plan living-dining-kitchen area above the partial lower level family room.
At the top of the stairs is the living area with beautiful wood floors and ceilings. The “Goldilocks” slope of the ceiling was “just right”-enough height to create a sense of enclosure without being too high. The wide opening of the wood sliding door and the dual transom with its header to the underside of the sloped ceiling frames the view of the deck, woods, water and sky. I admired the eclectic interior design with its mix of an antique Hoosier cabinet, craftsman coffee table and end tables, contemporary lounge chair and ottoman.
As I turned around from the door to the rear deck, the spatial geometry opened up with the sloped ceilings, the foyer’s full height window with the header of the transom that stretches to the underside of the ceiling, and the partial height walls surrounding the kitchen. The plan offsets and the diagonal vista outlined with expanses of doors and full height windows projects one into the surrounding landscape as if you were in a treehouse.
At the corner of the living room, the wood doors and full height windows to the wrap-around deck offer stunning panoramic views of Bolingbroke Creek.
My fave space is the dining area that projects beyond the main floor walls to create a delightful space. The trio of picture windows and sloped roof windows maximize the view of the water and the low awning windows provide natural cooling in the warm weather months. Round dining tables are conducive to conversation and this table can expand to accommodate more guests. The clever detail of two rows of tile below the awning windows creates space for potted plants and herbs.
The galley kitchen is opposite the dining area and the kitchen’s walls of varied heights provides views of both the foyer below from the deep ledge behind the sink wall and the wood railing of the second floor office/bedroom above. Sunlight streams into the kitchen through the transom over the front door. The tile flooring matches the tile along the dining area’s baseboard and the efficient layout with its neutral palette awaits the next cook’s color accents.
Overlooks are a great way to experience spatial volumes and this overlook provides a diagonal view from the second floor bedroom/office’s down to the main floor’s open plan kitchen-dining-living area to the deck and water beyond. The kitchen’s partial height walls inserted into the open plan further defines the spatial relationships. The deep ledge behind the kitchen sink’s counter would be a great space for plants or a display of colorful ceramics.
The second floor primary bedroom at the rear corner of the house also has wood floors and a wood sloped ceiling. Opposite the bed is a wall of closets for ample storage space. The wide sliding glass door with an uplight/downlight fixture over its header leads to the private balcony overlooking the woods and the water beyond. Stairs lead down from the balcony to the main level deck with the hot tub. The adjacent primary bath has a skylight over the whirlpool tub for natural light and privacy.
Opposite the primary suite at the end of the second floor hall is a large office overlooking the foyer. This pleasant work area has space for two desks, a sitting area for breaks from computer work and sunlight from both the transom window over the front door and the side wall’s window.
The lower level contains a spacious family/media room/fitness area with a freestanding stovepipe fireplace on the opposite wall. Built-in wood millwork along one interior wall has storage for family photographs, books, games and mementos. A wide sliding glass door with a full height window opens onto a terrace that spans the length of the space underneath the wrap-around deck above.
The Acorn Deck House Company has been designing and constructing prefabricated custom homes since 1947 and this home one of the best examples in their portfolio that I have seen. Nestled in a clearing surrounded by almost five acres along Bolingbroke Creek, opposite protected woods, this site offers peace, privacy and the soothing sight and sound of water. You feel part of nature as you walk along the meandering stone paths, relax in the outdoor rooms of the lower level covered terrace, main level wrap-around deck and the primary bedroom balcony or launch your boat from the pier and spend the day on the water. The house is sited on high ground which provides long vistas of the water from both the outdoor spaces and from the interior rooms’ large expanse of sliding doors and full height windows-wonderful contemporary design!
For more information about this property, contact Meg Moran, GRI, with Long and Foster Real Estate-Christies International Real Estate at 410-770-3600 (o), 410-310-2209 (c), or [email protected]. For more photographs and pricing visit www.megmoran.com , “Equal Housing Opportunity.”
Jennifer Martella has pursued dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. She has reestablished her architectural practice for residential and commercial projects and is a referral agent for Meredith Fine Properties. Her Italian heritage led her to Piazza Italian Market, where she hosts wine tastings every Friday and Saturday afternoons.