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What's Up Magazine

A Dream on Duvall Creek

Aug 09, 2018 12:00AM ● By Brian Saucedo

By James Houck  //  Photography by David Burroughs

Renovation and new construction usually don’t progress easily along critical area waterfront, but for this project—the dream of homeowners Jimmy and Suzanne McReady—everything, from architectural design to final nail and wall finish, was a smooth operation. The result is a 10,000-square-foot, three-story home built with the look of a Georgian Colonial that abuts Duvall Creek in the Arundel on the Bay neighborhood, just south of Annapolis proper. 

Boasting expansive views of the water, the property was a chance-find for the McReadys, who stumbled upon the listing while perusing the Sunday newspaper one morning five years ago. “We had been searching for property on the water that was close to where we were currently living,” Suzanne says. “We love this part of Annapolis and did not want to relocate to another area. When we actually were able to see the property, we loved it.”

The couple’s realtor would introduce them to architect Catherine Purple Cherry and the two hit it off. “We quickly realized she was the one for the project,” Suzanne explains. “She immediately picked up on our vision and asked questions about how we lived and where we spent most of our family time. Cathy’s passion for these kinds of details made the process easy and enjoyable.” The McReadys and Purple Cherry’s team would conceptualize a home (several structures actually) that feels equal parts traditional and coastal.

“The design process was very collaborative and they both were fully involved,” Purple Cherry says. “The starting point in the design process is always a series of saving images to Houzz folders, which has replaced printed magazine clippings from 30 years ago.” Houzz is a contemporary website and online community to share architecture, interior design, decor, landscape, and home improvement ideas and examples. It’s an often-used resource by contractors and clients to originate the design process—to foster creativity, wants, needs, and the overall direction that a project will take. 

“They wanted a long home,” Purple Cherry explains. “At one end, we developed a small glass wine cellar. They very much wanted a back stair in addition to the formal front stair. Most important was the open entertaining plan design where the family room and double-island kitchen and dining room are all connected with a wrap-around screen porch.”

Suzanne confirms that, “A screened porch and an open kitchen/family room were the big ones for us.”

To make this dream a reality, permitting for the removal of one of three structures was needed, as well as for the renovation of the remaining two. Because the timeline of this project was unhurried, permitting was approved and construction began unabated. Two years later—with the massive renovation of the guest house being the most time-consuming part of the build—the property was move-in ready.

Inside the main house, features include raised paneling, millwork, railings, and wood-strip flooring. The first floor of the home is meant for entertaining, with a casual space connected to the kitchen, dining, and living rooms. “The backside of the house explodes with the connecting rooms opening up to reveal a 180-degree view of the waterfront,” Purple Cherry says. 

“The kitchen is my favorite space,” Suzanne says. Its adjacent flow with other rooms is further enhanced by the adjoining wine cellar and a mudroom. 

The interior seemingly expands to the outdoors with a large screened-in, green-blue slate porch, which transitions to a waterside entertainment area. “The large screen porch with bead board ceiling for dining and sitting,” is what Purple Cherry reveals to be her favorite element of the home. “The formal front stair and the ceiling treatment across the great room,” are others she says.

The two staircases access the second floor, which features five bedrooms and the laundry room. According to Purple Cherry, extensive organizational strategies were incorporated to support a household of five. As such, there is also a home office and an in-law suite above each of the two garages. 

“We tried to create a home that did not look brand new,” Suzanne explains. “We wanted it to look like it had been there for years. And we wanted spaces where we could all gather.” Dream accomplished.