Spy House of the Week: Bungalow Bliss

Share

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”

Share

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

Share

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.

Queen Anne’s County Bay-Wise Master Gardeners Offer Summer Tips

Share

Summer’s here and mid-shore gardeners are bracing for plenty of dry hot days that can stress gardens and landscaping—and gardeners as well. The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners’ Bay-Wise committee, which regularly consults with homeowners about their gardening practices, has come up with 10 guidelines to help gardeners keep plants and lawns healthy, and protect often substantial investments of time, effort, and money.

Yet the ultimate reason for the Bay-Wise guidelines is protecting the Bay from further pollution. According to the University of Maryland Extension, which trains and sponsors Master Gardeners, most homes in Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties are within a half-mile of a stream or other waterway flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. What we do in our yards rapidly impacts, drains, or runs into the Bay waters. It’s important we all get it right and not rely insecticides, weed killers, and fertilizers to get us through summer.

Bee on Eastern Purple Coneflower (Photo Taken by Rachel Rhodes)

1. Water generously in the morning. Make sure you’re aiming for the roots and not the foliage. It’s tempting to give drooping foliage a shower on extremely hot days but such showers encourage leaf mildew. Pots should be watered until it drains out the bottom. Some people prefer using a watering can over using a hose.

2. Mulch. Mulch and mulch if you haven’t already, but no more than 2 to 3 inches. This protects the roots and helps the soil to retain moisture. Plus it cuts down on weeds that steal moisture from your plants. Use whatever works for you. There are a variety of options available.

3. Move anything that’s in the wrong place. If something seems to be suffering from too much sun or too much shade, a cloudy day is a good time to rescue those tender plants and move them to where they will prosper.

4. Mow smart. Set your mower at 3 1/2 to 4 inches. Slightly longer grass blades shade the roots, conserve moisture and discourage weed growth. Remove no more than 1/3 of the grass height each time you mow. Make sure that your lawnmower blades are sharp.

5. Encourage pollinators by using native plants. They’re genetically equipped to survive the vagaries of weather and provide habitat for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. To prompt re-blooming, remove spent blooms on flowering bushes and plants.

6. Watch for invasive insects and disease. They’re destructive. Keep up your vigilance and remove or treat them. Japanese Beetles, for example are looking for lunch anywhere they can get it. Unfortunately, rose bushes seem to be their favorites. Hand removal works; then drown them in a jar of soapy water.

7. Trim off suckers and tie up your tomato plants before they get heavy and droop. This will ensure a good summer long harvest. Check the beans, squash, peppers, peas, and whatever else you have planted for problems or invaders. Daily vigilance is key.

8. Compost your plant-based kitchen scraps and yard waste. Diseased plants or foliage should go in the trash.

9. Weed like your garden depends on it.Weeds steel moisture, nourishment, and even sunlight. Weeding after a rain makes it easier on you and morning makes it more pleasant. Most of the weeds can go in the compost.

10. Be grateful. We all live within the embrace of the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. We all are then stewards of the land and bear the awesome responsibility of gardening wisely. We need to minimize the use of fertilizers and other pollutants that sadly end up in the Bay.

To arrange for a Bay-Wise Master Gardener team visit to consult on your gardening practices, questions, or problems, contact Rachel Rhodes, Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator at 410-758-0166 or email rjrhodes@umd.edu. Master Gardener visits and advice are always free and generally, a visit to go over your yard, identify problems, and suggest solutions takes somewhere around two hours. Two links that might be helpful for you: The first, a charming visit with some young gardeners at Washington College explaining what Master Gardeners are all about http://www.washcoll.edu/live/news/10129-gardening-wisdom and for further information on the Bay-Wise Program and other environmentally sound practices, please visit www.extension.umd.edu/baywise or see us on Facebook @https://www.facebook.com/QueenAnnesCountyMasterGardeners

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Spy House of the Week: Craftsman Country House

Share

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.

 

 

Queen Anne’s & Talbot County Master Gardeners Visit Honeybee Flower Farm

Share

Stepping onto Honeybee Flower Farm in Cordova, MD you are immediately transported into a sea of varying shades of yarrow that flow from pink to white intermingling with green mountain mint, pink cone flowers, blue bachelor’s button, asiatic lilies, and black and yellow black-eyed susans as far as the eye can see. As rows and rows of flowers, shrubs, and trees intertwine, owner Carrie Jennings describes how each plant has a purpose on the farm and their purpose when designing arrangements for her clients or for the Easton Farmers Market.

Along the way, bees buzz from flower to flower, birdschirp happily, and you begin to realize how transforming a landscape can create a habitat that not only you enjoy but one that can service a greater purpose. Slowly the farm transforms from a cottage garden to neat and tidy rows of flowers that are destined for bridal bouquets, rehearsal dinners, and anniversary parties.

Photo taken by Rachel Rhodes

Long before the start of Honeybee Flower Farm, owner and operator Carrie Jennings was in the landscape industry. During this time, Carrie developed a passion for creating garden landscapes and habitats. While working full time for the Maryland Department of Agriculture at the Soil Conservation District in Queen Anne’s County for the last 17 years, Carrie’s dream of running a cut flower farm came to fruition in 2012, when Carrie and her husband Chris built a home and developed the 5 acre property into what is now Honeybee Flower Farm. Throughout this six year period, Carrie has been working full-time and running her part-time business, which caters to several full service events every year offering cut flowers for weddings, dinner parties, and special events. As the years have gone by, the farm has evolved with the addition of a hoop house which helps Carrie get an early start to the season and a walk in refrigerator which helps preserve flowers until they can get to the market.

Like any small business owner knows, taking the leap from a dream into reality can be a bit unnerving. Carrie says “her passion to create her own vision of beauty” helped drive her, whether that includes designing her landscape or bouquets for the Easton Farmers Market, she does it all.  As Carrie transitions into the next part of her career she says she’s “focused on spending more time creating beautiful arrangements for her clients.”

The Queen Anne’s & Talbot County Master Gardeners visited Honeybee Flower Farm on June 22, 2018.

For further information about Queen Anne’s County Master Gardner programs please call or email the University of Maryland Extension Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator, Rachel Rhodes, at 410-758-0166 or rjrhodes@umd.edu or see us on Facebook @https://www.facebook.com/QueenAnnesCountyMasterGardeners

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Habitat Book Review: A Place of Houses by Charles Moore

Share

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

Share

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.

Adkins Arboretum’s Forest Fair is Saturday July 7

Share

Revel in a day of forest fun when Adkins Arboretum celebrates its inaugural Forest Fair (with a Medieval Flair), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., July 7.

Adventurers of all ages are invited to embark on a forest quest, visit Robin Hood’s hideout and join in medieval games. Entertainment includes falconry and beekeeping demonstrations, ballads, dance, and performances by Shore Shakespeare. Archery and swordplay will add to the fun. The truly stout-hearted may visit the apothecary for a lesson on natural remedies or forage with a local peasant.

Medieval costumes are encouraged, and imaginations are a must. Forest Fair is $10 per person. Admission is free for ages 5 and under. Refreshments from Smoke, Rattle & Roll and unicorn rides are available for an additional fee. Advance registration is appreciated. To register, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.