The “Thomas Cuff House”, circa mid 1700’s, has not only historic charm that was impeccably restored in 1987 to the highest standards but also two substantial additions/upgrades that give a new definition to “turnkey”. All the modern conveniences and comforts one seeks for today’s lifestyle are here-only one block off High Street in Chestertown. The deep site contains the main house and a verdant oasis with hardscape, mature trees for shade and colorful plantings between the main house and the two-car garage off the alley. Exterior stairs lead from the brick walk at the garage to the one bedroom loft apartment above.
Extensive archeological exploration including siding, roofing and stair remnants guided the restoration of the original house with its simple frame, two-story structure with a central doorway flanked on each side by 6/6 windows. Two similar windows are on the second story front and three on each gable, one on each floor. The door and window frames have a simple ovolo backhand molding. The original interior plan of the front four rooms on both floors remains with two rooms on each floor, each with a fireplace served by the large central chimney. Many of the original materials and finishes of the rooms on one side of the house had been lost to a fire but the other side’s rooms’ vertical beadboard paneling, exposed beaded corner posts and the simple moldings of the windows and the four-panel doors were saved.
The original rear addition was unstable and after stabilization it was expanded into a new addition that is invisible from the street and fits seamlessly to the original part of the house in its form, materials, similar windows, siding and color palette. The main floor contains an entrance/stair hall, powder room, galley kitchen, living room and sunroom. The original portion of the house contain the family room and dining rooms, with the original fireplaces and massive brick chimney.
A brick sidewalk leads from the front of the house to the side entrance hall with a graceful stairwell that rises three floors with wide landings and windows to filter sunlight down through each level. A wide wall opening leads to the exquisitely appointed living room with a soft yellow and white color palette of finishes and furnishings with its focal point of an early Federal style fireplace (rescued from a demolished late 18th century Delaware house), with built-in keystone arched millwork on either side. Jib doors lead to a screened/glassed-in porch that continues the living room’s color palette with the addition of red accents. Wrap-around windows and transoms create the perfect transition to the secluded fenced rear garden with hardscape for relaxing or outdoor dining.
The original rooms at the front of the second floor is now one room that is used as a spectacular office that is bisected by built-in millwork around the massive chimney with a fireplace on one side and windows on three sides for sunlight throughout the day. A guest bedroom, hall bath and storage are off the stairwell and the rear of the house is the master suite overlooking the garden below. Instead of serene yellow, the explosion of red on the walls of both the master bedroom and master bath was an unexpected and delightful surprise. The white cabinets and bath fixtures are center stage against the red walls but I especially liked the master bedroom’s interior architecture. Pitched side walls of red meet the flat ceiling plane of white. Peaked ceilings over the dormer windows were painted white instead of red that cleverly accentuated the dormer form and the portion of red wall above the window.
I love urban gardens that provide much needed privacy and this garden is an irresistible “outdoor room”. The high stained wood fence adds texture and privacy. Low brick walls not only support planting beds but also provide extra seating for large parties. The hardscape area next to the sunroom is sized for both relaxing and dining. The low curved brick wall that defines the end of the hardscape is a backdrop for the round table and chairs for al-fresco dining. A tall reddish crape myrtle’s branches spread out like a fan to partially hide the rear garage and the hardscape narrows to become a brick walkway to the entrance of the garage that has access to the alley and exterior wood stairs to access the loft apartment.
Impeccable “before and after” turnkey renovation that preserves the best of the past, beautiful interior design, water views from the front porch and a peaceful rear garden private oasis-Bravo to the owner for her vision!
For more information about this property, contact Coard Benson with Benson and Mangold Real Estate at 410-770-9255 (o), 410-310-4909 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more photographs and pricing, visit www.coardbenson.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.