At Home in Heaven
Feb 11, 2013 09:21PM
● By Anonymous
But on a finger of land at the confluence of two Kent Island creeks, a family relocated from Annapolis and has created a permanent home where nearly all the space inside and out, is in regular use. And, yes, people came…and stayed. The owners and their two children enjoy their refuge so much, they say they rarely leave.
The couple—who we’ll call the Gleasons to honor their request for anonymity—were living with their two young children off St. Margaret’s Road in Annapolis a half-dozen years ago, when Dave turned to his wife, Sarah, and said they should find a home on the water. Dave wanted his kids to experience what he had enjoyed as a boy growing up on Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland. Sarah, who describes her childhood in Pennsylvania as “landlocked,” was thrilled and the search was on.
With Dave working in Arnold, they originally searched in Annapolis, but Queen Anne’s County offered more land for their dollar. Dave, who had already built three previous homes, was eyeing resales when the couple stumbled upon a vacant lot outside Romancoke. A vague photo in the ad showed only a pathway with some trees, but down the pathway, as the couple discovered, was a picturesque homesite, on a generous two acres with 600 feet of waterfront where Tanners and Cove Creeks meet.
It was settled.
There was a builder attached to the property but unlike other developments, where Dave had chosen from a selection of models, this home would be a custom design.
Dave scoured the Internet until he found a blueprint that reminded him of houses in Florida, where he lived when he met his wife, with an open floor plan featuring plenty of windows.
He printed a PDF for the builder, who worked with the couple.
“We tweaked it,” Dave says.
“We picked everything,” says Sarah, “down to the toilet paper roll holders.”
The result is a home that makes the most of its waterfront location, at once both elegant and user-friendly, with lots of touches that reflect the family’s preferences and do-it-yourself approach.
Orienting construction so that most of the house faces directly south, where the view extends to the Eastern Bay and beyond, the Gleasons made sure they could enjoy year-round views. From the atrium, those entering through the front door can see the water across the living room through eight-foot windows, which also form an entire wall of the family room and kitchen, where they spend much of their time together indoors.
Dave had a dock built on the north side of the property along Cove Creek, so it was close to the back door but not marring the southerly vista. Huge bay windows also grace the main floor master bedroom and an upstairs bedroom. Since a high water table prevented them from building a basement, the kids’ playroom was built upstairs with panoramic views to the south and east.
The couple chose tropical colors accented with deep mahogany-stained trim for doors and windows. Decor and furnishings reflect Sarah’s preference for modern elements as well as Dave’s attraction to Tuscan style.
“We wanted to make people feel they were at the water,” says Sarah.
“But not at the beach,” Dave quickly adds, noting his dislike for kitsch and Adirondack chairs.
Their combined sensibilities have created grace that’s easily both enjoyed and appreciated by family and friends.
On a Remington baby grand piano and nearby guitar, both children learn to play music beneath the high, coffered ceiling of the tastefully decorated living room. An expanse of Corian countertop divides the kitchen and family room, featuring a large fl at screen and comfy leather furniture that has retained its stylishness through years of use.
The master bath, with its large, glass-walled Florida-style shower, is where the Gleason’s nine-year-old daughter prefers to conduct her toilette.
There are plush curtains they never need to close, made by Sarah’s seamstress mother.
Accessible elegance and do-it-yourself charm also defines the Gleasons’ outdoor living.
Dave planned the large terrace which extends from a pristine saltwater pool, in daily use by the kids and their friends, to a fi re pit and outdoor dining area. He had an expansive granite-topped barbecue area built around his favorite Weber grill and he added a granite table for eight near an herb garden where fresh basil and mint can be plucked for the evening meal. Dave does all the gardening himself and the children clean the pool.
Their side-yard dock, where the water depth can range from 1 to 3 feet, accommodates a mini-fleet of smaller craft that allows them to spend all the time they want on the water, as well as amuse and even bring home dinner for the string of guests they have through the summer.
While they could keep something larger at the development’s marina, where the water is deeper, the Gleasons would rather not drive up the road and are content with smaller craft they use regularly.
They started with a kayak, which the kids could stand up in, Sarah says. They’ve added a jet-ski with room for three adults and enough power to pull their 12-year-old around on a wakeboard all day.
“We’re always on the water,” says Dave. An unassuming jon boat is excellent for local trotlining, Dave says, and a morning’s outing can net crabs for up to twelve. A 17-foot American Skiff is perfect for when they do want to leave (by boat rather than car) and grab a meal in St. Michaels or Kent Narrows.
Though six years old, the Gleasons’ home still feels new even in all its use. “We take care of it,” says Sarah. Dave’s preference for uncluttered space also led them to create design details that assured “everything has its place,” says Sarah.
A porch was added off of a main-floor powder room and makes a perfect place to conveniently store wakeboards, life vests, kayak paddles, and the crab steamer, all out of sight.
Not fond of climbing through a bedroom ceiling for storage, Dave added a walk-in storage space above the three-car garage, that, he points out, is actually used for parking cars. A large outdoor shed provides enough room for all the other stuff.
The family has all the space it needs in this 4,800 square-foot home and it’s hard to imagine anywhere better tailored to their desires.
“It’s our slice of heaven,” says Sarah of her home. Once you’ve found that, why, indeed, would you ever want to leave?
Photography by Tony Lewis, JR.