A Wardour Beauty: Several major renovations turn a century-old structure into a stunner
When a charming two-story Georgian-style home situated on a 1.5-acre waterfront lot in Wardour with views of the Severn River went on the market in 2000, Wayne and Linda Huyard knew they had to buy it. The couple is passionate about renovating, and they love the challenge of designing homes with modern amenities while maintaining and respecting the original character and charm. So they decided to embark on an exciting adventure: to restore the home, which was built in 1916, with the goal of remaining true to the time period of the original structure. With this particular property, they were also faced with the additional challenge of increasing the square footage of the home—about 2,000 square feet—to six times its square footage—while still maintaining its scale.
But the Huyards knew an architect who embraces challenges, facing them with enthusiasm and passion: Cathy Purple Cherry, principal of Purple Cherry Architects, in Annapolis. They consulted her about the project, and, not surprisingly, she was definitely up for the task.
“We have worked with Cathy on five major projects, two of which were in Maryland, and she is a master at complex projects,” Linda says. “The home in Wardour was by far our most challenging project due to the attention to all the details involved with restoring such a large house and maintaining its charm. We believe old architecture should be respected, especially in Wardour, a community that is full of old world Annapolis charm. Plus, the challenge is fun.”
An Architectural MasterpieceIndeed, attention to detail was critical to the success of a project of this magnitude. Architecture has transformed dramatically from the early 1900s to the present day. In the past, homes were constructed for function rather than aesthetics, and they were smaller in scale and compartmentalized. But with the passage of time, homes became much larger.
“The trend shifted from smaller homes to mega mansions, which if not done well can feel vacuous,” Purple Cherry says. “I love the home in Wardour because it’s different, and it also teaches lessons about older structures and how smaller scale living can support intimacy and add a human element that often gets lost in mega mansions. At about 12,000 square feet, the home is still large, but it consists of smaller living spaces. Today’s buyers want warm, comfortable homes, and the home in Wardour demonstrates the desire for the intimacy of smaller scale rooms.”
In order to transform the Wardour property and achieve the project’s goals, the original house was gutted and now forms the central core of the new home. Purple Cherry maintained the original eight-foot ceiling heights, rebuilt the stairs, preserved old bricks and fireplaces, replaced windows, installed gardens to reflect those of 100 years ago, and much more. The result was a resounding success: a fully restored home with modern amenities that maintains its scale and nods to the past with its early 1900s charm.
Indeed, the home is a veritable work of art—unmatched in its craftsmanship and architectural detailing. A few of its many exceptional living spaces include a unique wine cellar designed for entertaining, an elegant main kitchen, a luxurious butler’s pantry with stainless steel appliances and a volcanic ash floor, a magnificent bar, and an amazing pool.
Love at First SightThe Huyards, however, had to sell the home because Wayne’s corporate work often requires them to relocate. (They currently live in Livingston, Montana, and have five children.) But a home of such profound grandeur doesn’t stay on the market for long. In fact, the house caught the eye of one of the current homeowners, David Williams, several years before it was even listed. David saw the home during the early 2000s and immediately fell in love with its classic character. He bought it when it went on the market in 2011.
“The home is very well done,” says David’s wife, Kathryn. “You immediately notice the attention to detail in the built-in cabinetry and millwork and the architectural design. The home feels both traditional and modern, and Cathy did a great job of incorporating the original character and design elements into the newer parts of the home. You really can’t tell where the old ends and the new begins. Outside, we love the rambling nature of the home and how the entire property interacts with the water.”
The couple also loves that the home is ideal for family gatherings. David has four children from his previous marriage, and David and Kathryn have a baby daughter. Although David’s three adult children live on their own, the home offers a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere when they visit during the weekends or holidays. The family enjoys hanging out around the kitchen island while they cook and relaxing in the cozy family room on Christmas morning. In addition, the couple entertains a lot, so the bar and the wine cellar are fun, unique spaces to host dinners and cocktail parties.
“Cathy is extremely good at what she does,” Kathryn says. “We’re building a second home on the Eastern Shore, and it was a no-brainer that we would work with her on the project. She has great taste and vision and amazing attention to detail. There is nothing cookie cutter about her work, and we’re excited about all the thoughtful design elements that she will bring to our new home.”