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What's Up Magazine

Cape Dreamin’

Oct 30, 2014 11:42AM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Carol Sorgen // Photography by Stephen Buchanan

Bill and Nancy Schneider like to say they have “saltwater in their veins.” So when Bill retired from his Montgomery County dental practice, the couple knew what they had to do—turn their weekend Cape St. Claire waterfront getaway into their full-time residence. That was 12 years ago and the Schneiders, and their Annapolis-based architect, Catherine Purple Cherry, are still as pleased with the results as they were the day the project was finished.

“I’m very proud of the fact that the home seems both timeless and contemporary,” says Purple Cherry, who adds that her objective with every client is “first and foremost, good design.”

The Schneiders first bought the 1940s-era brick bungalow in the ’70s and made several changes over the years, adding a deck and a second story, for example. But when they became empty nesters, they turned to Purple Cherry with a very specific wish list. At the top of that list was to take advantage of the expansiveBay views, a not uncommon request for waterfront homeowners.

“We’re outdoors people and we like to feel connected to the water no matter where we are,” says Nancy, who served as the general contractor on the project, making use of the organizational skills that served her well in her role as an advocate for children and families in Montgomery County.

The Schneiders also wanted the home to have the feel of a large cottage, to be relaxed and comfortable, and to reflect how they live day to day, so they asked for a home with good scale, lots of light, and not darkened by porch overhangs; Purple Cherry accomplished that with transom windows and 9' ceilings. The couple also saw no need for a formal living or dining room. “We like open living,” Nancy says. “One big great room suits us fine.”

Also high on the Schneiders’ wish list was a porch that runs the length of the great room so that the couple and their family—two sons and five grandchildren—and friends can sit and watch storms roll in. “It’s like a play that unfolds before our eyes,” Nancy says. And though the couple has collected many eye-catching works of art and American craft through the years, Nancy says, “The best art is out the window.”

The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home sits on an 80'x30' lot. Theslightly less than 5,000 square feet aredivided among three floors, with thelower level opening up to an in-groundpool and patio, landscaped with nativeMaryland plants. Two of the upstairsbedrooms are connected by a sleeping porch, and on the main floor, Bill’sstudy and an adjacent powder roomcan be transformed into a first floor master suite should the need or desire arise.

Throughout the home, Purple Cherry tried to incorporate the Schneiders’ personalities and lifestyle, from the kitchen counters made of granite quarried in Maine, where they regularly sail, to the simple spaces that showcase both family heirlooms, such as the wedding quilt made for them by Bill’s mother, to the art and crafts collected on their varied travels, many taken through the James Renwick Alliance, the Washington-based nonprofit organization that encourages connoisseurship and collecting of contemporary American craft.

For architect Purple Cherry, the gambrel-roofed, shingled residence is a quintessential coastal home that takes advantage of its setting from both a visual and lifestyle standpoint. “It presents beautifully from the street, blows you away with the view as soon as you open the door, and has a dynamic flow that is conducive to both quiet conversation and large gatherings,” she says.

As for the Schneiders…“Cathy gave us a masterful, well-functioning design for casual, very social living,” Nancy says. “We wouldn’t have done anything differently.”