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What's Up Magazine

Always Sunny on the Wye

Jan 16, 2018 03:00PM ● By James Houck

Photography by David Burroughs

When I first step into the home of Paul Kelly, an exquisite staircase meets me at the foyer and I’m encouraged to immediately scale its steps, over which a remarkable chandelier keeps watch, to make way toward our photography team who’s in the midst of getting the perfect shot…of a bathroom. 

But it’s not an ordinary bathroom. It’s a work of art, whitewashed in gorgeous tiling, a clawfoot tub, his and her powder areas, built-in cabinetry (again white), a floor-to-ceiling (literally) master shower/sauna…all of which is complemented by minimalist décor with a touch of nautical influence. Beyond the staircase, it’s a very nice introduction to Kelly’s custom-built home. 

Throughout our visit to the property, which overlooks the Wye River adjacent to Eastern Bay off Kent Island, room after room is a showcase of smart architecture, aesthetics, décor, and, even, technology (the climate-controlled wine and spirits cellar is a perfect example). It’s a testament to the vision that Kelly had for his first custom home and his partnership with Purple Cherry Architects (PCA). 

“Since I was building a first-time custom home; there were many [must-have architectural features and amenities],” Kelly says. “Definitely a sunroom, music room for my grand piano, 12-foot ceilings, a main floor wine cellar as my two previous wine cellars were in the basements, two-plus car garage, a real fireplace as well as a gas one too, swimming pool, and an outdoor kitchen and shower.” 

Cathy Purple Cherry, owner of PCA, elaborates. “The conception and design process with Paul was extremely collaborative. He participated in biweekly meetings throughout the entire design journey. His aesthetics are impeccable so it was a true joy to be a part of the team.”

Purple Cherry suggests there are several unique features that truly set this design/build apart from others. “The wine cellar being visible from the family room was a unique feature for this home. Often wine cellars are found on lower-level floors and not visible in the public spaces. In this case, Paul desired to feature his incredible wine collection in a very visible way with a glass front door connected through sightlines to the dining, kitchen, and living room areas. It’s a true gem.” 

“The second unique design element of this custom home is that the client desired to create an inner winter family room with access to a wraparound solid porch that converts to a summer sunroom. What is specifically unique about their design is that when you experience the winter room, you truly have limited visible connection to the outside. When you experience the wraparound sunroom, you are connected to a 180-degree view of the water. The polarity of the two experiences is truly unique.”

Kelly echoes those sentiments, “My favorite room is the sunroom; it’s a four-season room with four swivel rocking chairs to turn to either view the pool area and the beautiful Wye River or the replica Irish fireplace burning in the winter.”

When the weather turns warm and the pool opens for business (Kelly has already hosted company parties on the pool deck), the outdoor amenities enhance the entire experience…some with the swipe of a finger, as Kelly demonstrated to me. Features such as fire-bowls, pool jets, and landscape lighting are all remote-controlled via a phone app. Very savvy. To the side of the pool, a four-star outdoor kitchen with pizza oven ensures that Kelly and guests can satiate cuisine cravings. And when a long day overlooking or on the river turns to evening and it’s time to clean up, a large, outdoor shower beckons.

“Now being late October [at the time of this writing]; I haven’t showered once inside since mid-May,” Kelly says. “Not sure how long this will last, but the master shower will welcome me once again real soon.”

Outside to in, and from 100-year-old vintage heart of pine wood floors to the shingled roof’s crest, this bucket-list build is a stunner that should entertain Kelly, his family, and friends for years to come. 

“I knew what I wanted and they [PCA] were there to accommodate every detail possible; a true ‘Grand Slam,’ Kelly notes.

Contractors & Consultants:

Builder Bayview Builders LLC Architect Purple Cherry Architects Cabinetry Craft-Maid Custom Cabinetry in Reading, PA Windows Jeld-Wen Doors Heister House Millworks in Mt. Pleasant Mills, PA TileIn Home Stone and Tile Flooring Old Wood Delaware Cabinetry Hardware/Fixtures Ferguson and Walter Works Recessed Lighting Annapolis Lighting Landscaping McHale Landscape Design for waterfront buffer area and Hugo Lemus of SJB Landscaping for remainder of yard Paint Island Furniture Studio