Spy House of the Week: Bungalow Bliss

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This unique seven-acre property on Swann Cove has two charming bungalows, one the main house and the other a guest house tucked into the woods, another guest suite over the three car garage and a second garage with a screened porch. Walking or biking on cleared trails through the woods down to the water, stopping to pick and savor grapes, apples or peaches from the organic orchard, passing by beautiful gardens, fishing, relaxing by the outdoor fireplace on the brick terrace or just gently rocking on the hammock near the water, are some of the delights that await lucky guests.

I loved the main house with its hipped roof and front gable, the river rock chimney against the warm yellow lap siding and the bow windows. The screened porch spanned the width of the house and would be the perfect place to sit on the swing or one of the rocking chairs and wait for friends to arrive. The river rock fireplace surround was the focal point of the living room and a graceful arched opening led to the dining room with its bow window. The ground floor master had the other bow window for a cozy retreat with views to the landscape.

The galley kitchen was dominated by the professional stove and one side of the galley was a wall of windows with the sink and dishwasher below and bar stools for guests to keep the cook company. The hardwood floors, white cabinets with period hardware, dark countertops and white walls would make any cook linger.

The guest cottage tucked into the woods was equally charming with its hipped roof broken by a wide front gable and large picture window, full front porch and the symmetry of the three-bay porch and double front entry doors flanked by tall windows.

The long screened porch behind one of the three car-garages would be the spot for cocktails before dining al-fresco on the brick terrace by the outdoor fireplace-perfect for a dessert of roasted sliced peaches from the orchard as a topping for ice cream!  

 

 

For more information about this property, contact Cindy Genther with Rock Hall Properties Real Estate at 410-639-4003 (o), 443-480-1953 (c) or cindy@rockhallproperties.com, “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.

Senior Nation: A Sexagenarian’s Musings on “Aging in Place”

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One of my favorite movies is “The Thin Man,” based on the first of six mystery novels by Dashiell Hammett. Nick Charles is a retired detective who manages his wife’s inheritance; however, his wife’s adventurous spirit soon has them assisting the police in solving cases. The inspired casting of William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora made the series pure pleasure to watch.

In the first movie, “The Thin Man,” Nick and Nora are asked to help find a missing inventor who had shown signs of forgetfulness. During a New Year’s Eve party at the Charles’ apartment, the son of the inventor is surrounded by reporters asking questions about why his father would want to disappear. The overly erudite son answers “Well, he is a Sexagenarian.” One of the reporters exclaims “I can’t print THAT” and the camera pans to show Nick’s bemused face as he chuckles over the reporter’s limited vocabulary.

As this sexagenarian reaches another birthday this week, I am contemplating, even more, the challenges of “aging in place” in my early 20th-century farmhouse. Shortly after moving in, I removed the tub shower in my first-floor bath and modified the floor joists to slope the floor in the shower area. The added benefit is the extra floor space I now have in my small bathroom. I am currently designing my kitchen renovation with five feet between my galley kitchen layout for ADA clearance if that ever became an issue for me.

Whenever I design a new home or undertake a major renovation with a client, we discuss design features that would enable them to remain in their home as they grow older. Instead of the 36” wide hallways stipulated by the building code, 42” wide hallways are better for maneuvering a walker or wheelchair, and 36” wide doors make access to rooms easier. Stacking closets in a two-story house creates a shaft for a future elevator so the house could be fully accessible. Leaving space in an attached garage for future addition of a lift to the main floor eliminates the need for an exterior ramp. Many houses have three steps from a deck or porch to grade, and the code does not require a handrail. However, adding handrails is safer for people like me who need to grip a handrail for support when maneuvering steps.

I just completed a “Smart Home Technology” course as part of Continuing Education for renewal of my architectural license. This technology has had an enormous impact on home design and can be as simple or complex as you need. Voice-activated controls, security systems that can lock exterior doors and provide video of your exterior door areas, lights that can be voice or motion activated to eliminate the need of timers for lamps, etc., are all part of the technological integration of your personal devices with today’s technology to keep you independent as long as possible. It’s then easy to relax, pour one of Nick’s signature martinis and watch a great movie like “The Thin Man.”


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.

Spy House of the Week: Swann Point Farm

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This 177+ acre site on a private and secluded peninsula offers expansive views of its rural surroundings including shoreline on Tavern Creek with easy access to the Chesapeake Bay. The main house is a classic 19th century farmhouse that was completely restored in 1998. An addition at the rear of the house increased the square footage to over 5,550 sf.

I loved the main house with its classic front façade, center gable and a front porch with a hipped roof and decorative brick chimney caps. The house’s white siding and red metal roof in its setting of green grass and fields would inspire any Plein Air painter. The side elevation is equally appealing with a two-story bay window projection. A large deck spanned the length of the addition with a shady area under the second floor porch above.

During the renovation, the original stairwell connecting the three floors and the 100-year old heart pine floors were carefully restored. The addition contained a large roof deck for 360 degree views of the countryside and the Chesapeake Bay. A dramatic pyramid shaped skylight filtered light through the stairwell below. The addition’s main floor open layout of sitting room, sunroom, dining and kitchen area, large windows to bring the sunlight in, water views from the house and its blue and white color scheme were very appealing. The original part of the main house contained the formal living and dining rooms.

Four master suites in the main house, a guest suite over the garage next to the pool, a separate guest house very close to the water and outdoor activities including tennis on the fenced hardtop court, fishing or crabbing from the private pier, launching a boat from the boat lift, floating dock or cement ramp, or paddling in a kayak from the boathouse and exploring the Bay makes this property the perfect retreat for entertaining family and friends

 

 

 

 

For more information about this property, contact Brent Allen with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage at 410-263-8686 (o),410-349-7764 (c) or Brent.Allen@cbmove.com, “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.

Spy House of the Week: Craftsman Country House

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Given my keen appreciation of the craftsman style in architecture and if I could ever afford a house in the country, I could easily imagine living in this one. The house is surrounded by woods on three sides for privacy. The tree-lined drive begins at the road then makes an angled turn to end at a circular court paved in brick with a water feature encircled by colorful plants. I loved the front elevation with its angled footprint that was parallel with the shoreline below, the stair tower element with wrap-around windows at the top room, second-floor balcony, gables and eaves, mix of stone and wood siding and varied sizes of windows. The color splashes of the red metal roofs over the balcony and the hipped roof of the tower were perfect accents. The second-floor roof projected down to provide covering for the front door with a shed dormer above.  

I also loved how the rear elevation was as stunning as the front and opened up to its water view with walls of windows and transoms and a deck for relaxing and enjoying the views of Pleasant Cove off the Sassafras River. Below the deck a pristine lawn ended at a colorful meandering mix of flowers that marked the edge between lawn and the wooded bank of the cove. Two mature trees in the middle of the lawn with another water feature and a planting bed of various types of hostas and colorful accents of vicuna broke up the lawn expanse and provided some shade.

More delights awaited within. The living-dining-kitchen was a true “great” room with its wood floors, stained wood door and window trim, wood ceilings underneath the gable roofs and light-colored walls to reflect the sunlight from the windows and skylights. The stone fireplace was the focal point to define the sitting area and the angled bar that marked the kitchen boundary would be a great spot for guests to gather while the cook made final preparations for a dinner party including a trip to the wine cellar. In between the two spaces was the dining area for eight.

When I write about a house of the week I usually have one favorite room but this stellar house had so many. The great room, the sunroom surrounded by windows, transoms, and a second half-moon transom at the end wall, the master bedroom with its wrap-around windows and beautiful craftsman styled furniture would all be serious contenders. One of the Owners was the architect who is currently designing a smaller house so I look forward to featuring his next design in the future.

 

For more information about this property, contact John Burke with Gunther McClary Real Estate at 410-275-2118 (o), 443-206-3727 (c) or jburke57@gmail.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”. Architecture by the Becker Morgan Group, 302-369-3700.

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.

 

 

Habitat Book Review: A Place of Houses by Charles Moore

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The seminal book of my architectural education was “A Place of Houses” by Charles Moore, with his partners Gerald Allen and Donlyn Lyndon. The firm’s fourth partner, William Turnbull, drew the beautiful axonometric drawings of houses in the book, ranging from the historical Tidewater house, Stratford Hall, in Virginia to many of the houses that MTLW designed throughout their careers. Their book was published the year before I graduated from architectural school and profoundly influenced my thinking about residential design throughout my career to this day. It is written for anyone who is contemplating building a new house or remodeling an existing one.

The authors set the scene by writing about three towns they believed showed how individual houses grouped together can bestow a unique sense of place on an entire community; Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, Santa Barbara, CA and Sea Ranch in northern CA. Edgartown’s three centuries of New England architecture, Santa Barbara’s decision to rebuild in the Spanish Colonial style after the devastating 1925 earthquake and the new architecture of Sea Ranch were all unique places.

I was fascinated by the first pictures I saw of the Sea Ranch condominiums. The stunning black and white photography made the simple geometric house forms seem to rise naturally from the rocky cliffs along that part of a barren stretch of Pacific coastline and to resemble rock formations themselves.

Climate and topography have always influenced the form of houses. Houses here in Maryland evolved to primarily deal with the hot summers. Unlike New England houses where the fireplace was centered to conserve heat for the surrounding rooms, Tidewater houses located the fireplace on the exterior wall, with rooms along a double sided central corridor through the middle with doors at each end to catch the breezes. In other parts of the country, a preferred way for arranging rooms evolved from the New England boxes to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie houses such as the Willitts House in Highland Park, where he removed walls between rooms and extended wings in four directions to spread across the flat site.

The authors believed there were three factors to be considered in designing a house, and they christened them “The Order of Rooms”, “The Order of Machines” and “The Order of Dreams”.


They describe rooms in their simplest forms as a space with a floor, walls and a ceiling. Space is brought to life by its dimensions of length, width, and height and is animated by light. Variations in the height of a room alters the feeling of the room- my old farmhouse has 7’-4” ceiling heights and whenever I visit homes with heights of nine feet or greater I keenly feel the striking spatial change.

The authors felt the opposite factors of movement and repose are important characteristics of a room. A single focus like a fireplace inglenook, a bay window, etc., becomes the center of interest and invites repose. The authors also believed “focus” organizes the interiors of rooms and “outlook” occurs through windows, which can bridge between near and far views.

The authors divide machines into two groups, self-operating like HVAC units or small machines that we operate directly, like a washer or dryer. These machines require spaces and must be considered in the design of a house. They also consider stairs to be “machines” since they assist us in vertically moving between floors. One of the most beautiful stairs I have ever seen is one illustrated in the book, the central hall in the Nathaniel Russell House in Charleston, SC, with its sinuous stair that connects three floors in a graceful spiral.

My favorite order was the last, the order of dreams. Around the middle of the 19th century, American domestic architecture changed with the popularity of Pattern Books. Instead of the sole New England Colonial style, these books offered an international range of styles from Greek Revival, Gothic, Queen Anne, Tudor, Swiss Chalets, etc. Now homeowners could select a house style to match their dreams.

The order of dreams encourages you to imagine your house fulfilling your memories and daydreams so you can create special places for them to be nurtured. One of the author’s examples of how dreams inspired an iconic house is Fallingwater. The family would picnic opposite the waterfall and dream of their house with that view. In a master stroke of genius Frank Lloyd Wright placed the house over the falls instead and the everyday became extraordinary.

Think about the places you have seen or read about that linger in your memory. For me, a few of them are a glimpse of a garden with a trickling fountain through a gate in Charleston, SC, the two-story library at Biltmore House with its massive fireplace, terraces where Fred and Ginger danced, and the screened porch at the Buckhorn Inn in the Great Smoky Mountains of my home state of Tennessee.

Collections and other memorabilia give clues about the things that matter most to us and need an important place in our homes. I collect pitchers and Oaxacan wood carvings of animals in colorful patterns. I also love genealogy. Along my stairwell are five generations of my family on my mother’s side back to one Antonio DePrato of Barga, Italy. I see my great- grandfather Mac in my brother’s face and I like to think my love of roses “stems” from my great-grandmother Rose.

The authors end the book with a series of thoughtful questions to encourage one to contemplate how their answers will tell them what they want their house to be. I used their list as a base to compose my questions for clients to create a ‘building program’ to guide the design. I have made many changes over the years but the core list remains a thoughtful guide.


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.

Spy House of the Week: City Chic and Historic Charm

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This charming house in the Historic Riverfront district might have begun its life as a ship Captain’s home. I like to think that the Captain would concur it combines the best of both worlds- 19th century historic architecture with a 2001 renovation that opened up the interior without sacrificing any of the period detail. There was a full front porch for watching the river activity and the front door opened to reveal an open plan living, dining and kitchen area. A corner fireplace was the focal point of the living room and a bay window wall defined the dining area with views of the rear landscape and garden.

This cook loved the galley kitchen with its off-white craftsman-style cabinets and period hardware, mix of glass-fronted with closed upper cabinets, and the arched soffit over the professional range. A table for two with bar height chairs separated the kitchen from the dining area. A French door led directly from the kitchen to the sunroom which was my favorite room with its cozy upholstered furnishings, another table for two and a larger table at the corner for informal dining. I was envious of the in-progress puzzle on the table top-I love puzzles but my two cats like chasing the puzzle pieces more! French doors led from this space to a wrap-around deck with views of the rear yard with mature trees for shade and privacy.

The master bedroom was spacious with room for a sitting area defined by a wall of built-in millwork. I could easily imagine propping up against the padded headboard and reading until I fell asleep. The deep mocha walls, crisp white trim and neutral bed linens created a restful retreat. Both bathrooms were quite stylish-the gray-toned tile wainscot in the master bath covered the wall to the sills of the high windows which was a great backdrop for the white European-depth lavatory cabinet with storage units on both sides. The second bath had a subway-tile wainscot in white with several accent rows of black that echoed the black underbelly of the claw-foot tub. The period pedestal sink was next to a linen cabinet for ample storage. There was a second bedroom on the second floor and a spiral stair led to a cozy attic bedroom.

For more information about this property, please contact Jennifer Mobley at Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate Company, 410-778-0330 (o), 443-350-5917 (c), or jmobley@cbchesapeake.com, “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.

Spy House of the Week: Queen Street

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This charming farmhouse caught my eye for how the taupe siding and charcoal roofing blended into the surrounding wooded site. The farmhouse was once part of the Barroll Farm and sits high on a hill with views to the Chester River framed by mature magnolia and willow trees. Realtors always advise sellers to dress up their front entrance and this seller heeded that advice. Brick steps led to a porch with turned columns and handrail. Both the front door and the storm doors were painted the same accent red as the shutters. Sidelights and a transom above the front door completed the welcoming entrance.

The front door opened to the living room with windows on three sides for daylight and views to the landscape. The mix of upholstered pieces flanking the fireplace opposite the stair with an open railing created a lovely room. The dining room with its antique pieces was the perfect space for dinner parties. The kitchen with its light-colored finishes was open to a breakfast area with double windows and the antique table was a pleasant contrast to the more modern kitchen cabinets.

The ground floor master suite’s open plan contained a cozy sitting room wrapped with windows on two sides and a wide wall opening to the sleeping area. An alcove off the stair landing to the second floor with a workspace in front of a window with views to the landscape below was a great space for quiet work or study.

My favorite room was accessed by a spiral stair to the third-floor attic. The open room spanned the entire length of the house and I loved the wood floors painted green and the pitched ceiling painted white to reflect the light from the double windows at each side gable walls and dormer windows. Open shelving under the knee walls and window seats all combined to make a great space for myriad uses.

One of the former farm sheds has been reborn to match the exterior look of the main house and would be a great office, studio or workshop.

For more information about this property, please contact Doug Ashley at Doug Ashley Realtors, LLC, at 410-810-0010 (o), 410-708-0480 (c), or dougashley@dougashleyrealtors.com, “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.

Spy House of the Week: Hammond Haven

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I love to visit houses of creative people since they have such great personalities. As an art lover, I was thrilled to find Nancy Hammond’s country retreat for this week’s feature. The house is separated from the water by mature trees and the weather-stained shake siding blends into the surrounding landscape. The white trim is traditional but the mint green shutters foreshadow there are further colorful delights inside.

The original building was a guest house that was designed by the architect Bob Hammond with an entry, living room, kitchen and a one-bedroom suite, Nancy planned an addition with a new center wing that was offset from the original guest house for another entry, laundry and dining room. Access from the dining room to the spectacular screened porch that spanned the length of the original wing extended the living space. A third offset wing contained another guest suite and the master suite.

A spiral stair led from the living room to a loft recreation room and the main stair led to two studios. A large deck offered respite from work and a bird’s eye view of the half-moon brick terrace and landscape below. I loved the large studio with its pitched ceilings broken by honey- colored collar beams, the wide picture window with a tall transom above on the north wall (perfect light for an artist). A row of small windows on the side wall let in more light.

The sitting room had a wall of windows to the screened porch and the same collar beams defined the transition from wall to ceiling plane. Upright sconces bounced light off the high ceiling for a warm glow. The boat- shaped glass topped coffee table angled to the seating directed the flow through the room. The neutral colors, a contemporary sofa juxtaposed with a Shaker settee and glimpses of accent walls in the kitchen and dining room created great interior architecture.

The oval antique oak table in the dining room reminded me of my own table that was my great-aunt’s and the deep apricot walls were a wonderful background to display art.

If were a guest I would claim the corner bedroom in the original wing. I loved the dark oak craftsman bed with two prints centered over the headboard and the soft blue and yellow color scheme. Two high windows flanked the bed and a wall of windows to the screened porch made this suite special.

The perfect country retreat for the lucky person who next calls this home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about this property, please contact Trey Rider with Meredith Fine Properties at 410-822-2001 (o), 443-786-0235 (c), or trey@treyrider.com, “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.

Spy House of the Week: Pentridge Pleaser

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I have written about several houses in the Pentridge neighborhood and this house caught my eye for its simple exterior telescope- style architecture and monochromatic exterior color scheme. The approach to the house is lined on one side with dense screening of mature trees and the other side opens to a grassy meadow. This serene and private site on the East Fork of Langford Creek was enhanced by the talents of a landscape architect who added areas of indigenous plants and trees. The dock is framed by overhanging branches of trees along the shoreline and the view opposite Langford Creek is pristine and undisturbed. Two decks at each end of the house are great outdoor rooms for relaxing and dining.

The traditional styled exterior belies its contemporary interior. I love stairs as design elements and when you open the front door the stair spills out in two directions from the spacious entrance hall to the interior hall. Stair winders led to the stair landing illuminated by a window to shed light onto the interior hall below. I liked the floor functional definition with brick at the front door as a “walk-off” surface leading to warm hardwood floors throughout the rest of the house.

I loved the varying ceiling planes from the one-story entrance hall and the sitting room with its bulkhead over the fireplace that rose to meet the two-story ceiling of the dining room. My favorite interior was the sitting room with its sensuous red-orange long settee, contemporary glass topped accent tables, patterned rug, mid- century modern club chairs, a Mackintosh side chair, stove-pipe fireplace and colorful art, all framed by walls of white.

I also loved the large dining room with its rear wall of tall windows and large transoms above. The side wall had French doors leading to the deck. The large kitchen had triple windows over the sink for views to the creek and a French door leading to a deck. The warm wood cabinetry and the stainless-steel appliances were accented by black granite countertops. This delightful room would inspire any cook.

The interior hall led to a room that is used as a study. The focal point of the room was the triple end window with tall transoms that created a pitched ceiling. The light blue walls and darker fabrics and rug made a contemplative space for work.

The ground floor master suite had access to the rear deck and I liked how the four-poster bed with its low posts didn’t overwhelm the room. There was also a second master suite on the second floor. The stairs ended at a sitting area overlooking the sitting and dining rooms below. The open slat wood railings maintained the feeling of openness through to the dining room transom windows with views of the surrounding trees.

 

 

 

 

For more information about this property, please contact Tracy Stone of Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate Company at 410-778-0330 (o), 443-480-0610 (c), or tstone@cbchesapeke.com , “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.