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What's Up Magazine

Fun in the Sun

Sep 15, 2014 01:13PM ● By Lurdes Abruscato
Waterfront Property a Perfect Playground
By Lurdes Abruscato // Photography by Stephen Buchanan

Waterfront homes are implicitly fun, particularly since their location encourages lots of entertaining water-based activities. But throughout Anne Arundel County, we take our recreation seriously, and many of our homes reflect it, particularly this Severn River abode, which ramps up the fun factor dramatically by entwining fanciful and functional elements in every detail.

Boaters, water lovers, and sailing racers, Peter and Margaret McChesney had sought out a family home on area shores for a long time. They limited their search to certain neighborhoods for specific schools, commuting access for Peter, a principal at Washington, D.C.-based Palmer Staffing Services, and of course, deep water privileges. Though they came close to putting offers on a couple of places, none completely captured them. So it was kismet when this Winchester on the Severn property came up as a “preview”—they loved it immediately and put in an offer before it even went on the market.

It’s no wonder they did, based on the location alone. Sitting on a level piece of land—not always a guarantee for many waterfront properties—the backyard stretches out to the Severn, with open views of the Severn River Bridge, Naval Academy, and the Chesapeake Bay beyond. While the community offers a beach, boat launch, and waterfront recreation area, the home also includes its own patch of beach, launch area for small craft, and private pier. The pier contains multiple boat slips, with 8-plux feet MLW access. Since the yard is situated low to the water, it creates the perfect seaside setup: easy access to the Severn for swimming, water sports, and small boats, yet water deep enough to dock and sail bigger vessels and the added benefit of funneling directly into the Chesapeake.

Enhancing its waterside setting, much work has gone into the home’s shoreline, with lots of spaces and nooks for fun and entertainment. A wide-open, manicured lawn runs along the back of the home. Various outdoor niches include: a mulched area for a trampoline; sandy ground with built-in posts for a hammock; paver patio with a Jacuzzi, outdoor bar and grill; a treehouse area off the deck housing a hammock swing; an enclosed outdoor shower; and two levels of decks on the back of the home, including one with a large seating area and a retractable awning for shade.

Building Character

Originally the site of a contemporary structure built in 1970, the property incurred damage from Hurricane Isabel and the home was custom rebuilt in 2005. The finished product is a 4,600-plus square foot, four-bedroom, four-bath luxury residence filled with lots of whimsical and durable details inside and out.

Its quirky character is evident upon arrival. A sweet, white picket fence frames the front of the home, its lush flower beds and a winding path through the yard. But most striking is the home itself, a combination of stone, azure blue siding, sidewall shingles/cladding cut to different sizes for a traditional yet singular look, crisp white trim and unique lancet windows. Since purchasing the home, the McChesneys have maintained the front exterior look, simply adding a few more flower gardens, rose bushes, and landscape lighting.

The inside of the home matches the playful nature of the exterior—lots of practical, high-end, and family-friendly details, with just a touch of eccentric. Panoramic views can be had from nearly every room. The main floor is primarily one large open space made up of the kitchen, dining, family, and living areas. Elegant features, like columns, built-ins, and granite surfaces are interspersed with spirited bits, such as multi-colored backsplash tiles, unique light fixtures and ceiling fans, and exotic tile and stone work around the fireplace. A dramatic spiral staircase with a curved wood railing adds both heft and charm. Similarly, the bathrooms incorporate both luxurious and distinct items, including a soaking tub surrounded by inlaid river rock.

Not All Fun and Games

Rather than taking a good thing too far, the home balances its lively components with lots of traditional and useful features. The kitchen, for example, isn’t just a vessel for pretty tiling—it has a full gourmet setup, with double ovens, six-burner gas range, a stovetop water dispenser, an oversized island and more. Serving as a backdrop to the spiral staircase, a large work area encompasses two oversize desks with seating for four. And a bonus family room above the garage functions as a self-contained play area for the McChesney kids.

To even out the punches of color and eccentric features, the family opted for neutral décor, sand-colored walls in the main areas, and furnishings that are comfortable, sturdy, and more traditional in style. And, with so much emphasis on recreation, the home also addresses its byproducts, with two separate laundry rooms for any messes and storage.

The McChesneys note the features and layout are so ideal for their family, entertaining, and recreation, that they’d change nothing, with the small exceptions of having enlarged the outdoor fire pit and adding the built-in bar and grill. Everything is finished off so nicely, they say, all that’s left is to work hard on playing.