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An Exquisite Perry Cabin Renovation

Mar 20, 2012 11:39AM ● By Anonymous

Brad Anderson wears many hats...designer, builder, and Anglican priest. He frankly admits he is a traditionalist, yet he is willing to try new things; after all, he became a priest only fi ve years ago, when he was 71. While he sometimes prays for his home design clients, Anderson’s recent clients primarily needed design and construction help with their second property, a townhome located in the Perry Cabin area of St. Michaels, on the Miles River.

Coming in town largely on weekends, they were unhappy with the small windows and cut up living/dining area in their townhouse. They wanted a better view of the river with its lively swarm of sailboats, as well as a more open fl oor plan. The resulting redesign gave them the view and openness they desired. Anderson enclosed the rear porch and removed a side store room, resulting in a panoramic view. Two major walls were then removed, and new pass-throughs were crafted. Then the design was topped off with traditional painted wood trim—bold pilasters, chair rails, cornices, and columns, all inspired by Colonial Williamsburg.

When asked if there was a particular home in Williamsburg that was used as a model for some of the details, Anderson spoke of his early days, saying in a courtly Virginian accent, “Growing up in Richmond, I went to Williamsburg whenever I could. I loved it. I could draw from memory every fence post there.”

Anderson did draw from memory the majority of the trim in the design, not relying on catalogues or computers. And the windows do not have standard 3 ½-inch “colonial” trim frames, but rather atypically wide pilaster surrounds. Light switches and return air ducts look like they might be from the 18th century because they are centered and trimmed with panel mold.

The 7 ½-inch dentil trim in the living room is painted white to match the eight-foot high ceiling, which gives the illusion of greater height. The tile backsplash in the kitchen is an off white, to provide a subtle contrast to the white painted cabinets. “There is such a thing as too much white,” Anderson says. The clients initially objected to the off-white tiles. “Live with them for two weeks, and if you still object, we can remove them,” he recalls. After two weeks, the homeowners, who wish to remain anonymous, had to admit the choice was fine.

Bold new pilasters frame the existing windows in the master bedroom and give importance to the view of the Miles River in St. Michaels.

A cheerful yet formal kitchen blends in with the main living areas.


Pamela Heyne, AIA, lives in St. Michaels and is a frequent contributor of home design articles to What’s Up? Eastern Shore. Special thanks to Brad Anderson and the homeowners of the Perry Cabin townhome.