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What's Up Magazine

Resplendently Redone

Mar 01, 2018 07:00AM
By James Houck
Photography by David Burroughs

A 1930s-built Federal-style waterfront home in Centreville quadruples its footprint

A bucolic drive north from the one of the Shore’s arterial highways (301), through green pastures and quaint Centreville, leads to the headwaters of the Corsica River; an offshoot tributary of the more expansive Chester River. There, a batch of properties and piers dot the eastern stretch of the river’s shoreline, adjacent to large swaths of farm and farm ponds. Road names like “Quail Run” and “Green Cove Point” intersect with others such as “Middle Fox Farm” and “Red Fox Farm;” all harbingers of Eastern Shore living, where waterfront meets the farm. 

This serene location, seemingly just a hogs call away from downtown Centreville, combines the idyllic peace of country lifestyle with the active opportunities a river provides. And it proved a match made in heaven for the new homeowners of a 1930s-built farmhouse situated on 10-plus acres. 

“We were looking for a piece of waterfront property to buy and sit on for several years until we were ready to down-size,” states the homeowner, who’s opted for anonymity. “I saw this property online the day it was listed and went to see it the next day. Everything about the property was everything I ever dreamed of. I loved the tree-lined driveway, the almost panoramic view of the river, and the look of this beautiful home.”

It was love at first sight for sure, however, the owners developed a vision to expand and customize the property to their specs, wants, and needs. This would require quadrupling the structural footprint and, having selected Guy Pilli of Pilli Custom Homes to perform the renovation/build, our owners were introduced to Catherine PurpleCherry and her team at Purple
Cherry Architects, who would lead the project’s design. 

“[They] were very collaborative while also trusting of my design recommendations. Our design task was to quadruple the footprint of the existing house, yet develop the addition in such a way that it respectfully grew from the Federal period home,” Cherry says. 


“There were two main things we wanted to accomplish with our renovation,” the homeowners explain. “We wanted to add a first-floor bedroom and bump out the kitchen and have it join up with the family room to create an open-space primary living area. In the existing part of the house, we wanted to enlarge the dining room and take the corner cabinet built-ins to the ceiling, create built-in shelving to display collections, and then redesign the moldings in those rooms and in the foyer.”

Challenge accepted and successfully accomplished by Cherry and Pilli. In fact, of the myriad obstacles one might expect with a renovation/addition of this scope being done within the
critical area waterfront, the actual hurdles were minimal. “There is a streambed located to the right of the home that expanded the buffer and restricted the reach of the footprint to the right of the front door,” Cherry notes. That was it. As for the hands-on build, everyone made an interesting discovery, which necessitated an equally intriguing solution.

"I love every room, but I would have to say that the family room/kitchen combination and our bedroom are my favorites.”

“When the windows were being replaced throughout the house, it was discovered that there was no insulation in the house,” the homeowners reveal. “Rather than destroy the plaster walls, the decision was made to take off the exterior wood siding, place the insulation, and then re-side the house.” Problem solved. 

Notable features are many with privacy and the river view ranking high on the homeowners’ list. One of their favorite rooms—the centerpiece—is dubbed
the “train room,” a unique space that features custom built-ins to house an extensive model train collection. Another room features additional built-ins, custom-fit for an oyster plate collection.

“[His] favorite room is the train room,” notes the Mrs. in this equation. “I love every room, but I would have to say that the family room/kitchen combination
and our bedroom are my favorites.”

Cherry points out a couple exterior architectural elements that add to the property’s unique character. “On the entry side of the home, the beautiful 30-foot-long trellis that embellishes the garage is one of my favorite features. On the water side of the home, the copper-faceted roof over the new kitchen eating area nook is another of my favorites.” 

And when the homeowners enjoy a cup of coffee in that nook, with a picture-perfect view of the Corsica River, they can do so knowing full-well that everyone’s dream of building new
tricks into an old home was realized.