A design team channels a coastal vibe in a clean-lined, traditional abode overlooking Maryland’s Eastern Bay
Bucolic farmland and a panoramic stretch of waterfront beckoned a couple looking for a vacation home on the Chesapeake. The 15-acre parcel overlooking Eastern Bay on Kent Island was already home to an abandoned, circa-1980s abode set amid cornfields. The couple saw an opportunity in the rundown house, which was in foreclosure. “We are water people and had looked forever for the right property,” the wife recalls. “This one checked every box.”
The husband, who owns a mechanical contracting company, and wife, a stay-at-home mom, envisioned a sprawling weekend getaway that would become their full-time residence once their three teenage daughters go to college. They tasked architect Christopher Pattey, who had designed their beach cottage in Bethany, with reimagining—and greatly enlarging—the 3,000-square-foot structure. Early in the process, Pattey brought in designer Erin Paige Pitts to orchestrate interiors that would harmonize with the architecture, and builder John Coursey to implement their vision.
“They specified a coastal-traditional vernacular, reminiscent of grand summer homes in The Hamptons, with cedar shingles and lots of indoor-outdoor flow,” Pattey says. “It’s really an estate. We increased the square footage to 8,100—not counting pavilions, verandas and a cabana that add several thousand more.”
Constrained by critical-area rules, Pattey retained the existing foundation, which forms the home’s central volume. This section encompasses a foyer and stair hall; an open-plan dining room, kitchen and two-story great room; a library; and a sunroom. Support spaces include a back hall, butler’s pantry, mudroom areas and laundry. The second floor was overhauled to accommodate en-suite bedrooms for the three kids, while a new 2,500-square-foot owners’ wing on the main floor features a separate circular, columned entry “to establish a sense of arrival,” Pattey says. Past a sitting room dubbed the “owners’ retreat,” a wide corridor leads to the bedroom, bath and closets.
On the opposite side of the house, an existing two-car garage now boasts a spacious second-floor guest suite complete with a chic kitchenette. A colonnade connects this structure to a new three-car garage, above which an unfinished rec room awaits the next phase of construction.
The owners’ program celebrated both farmland and waterfront, so Pattey conceived a linear design in which every room enjoys one of these vistas. “I didn’t want the linearity to be monotonous, so I created an octagonal tower above the main entry,” he notes. “It’s a vertical element that draws the eye. And the owners get the bonus of an observatory with panoramic views,” accessible from a spiral stair on the second floor. Pavilions with hipped roofs, cupolas, gables and porthole windows embellish the exterior. Says Pattey, “There’s not a specific rhyme or reason for everything; it’s about the proportions and what is pleasing to the eye.” Inside, he created a sense of coziness by delineating spaces in the open-plan central volume and owners’ wing with columns and ceiling-height changes.
When conceiving the interiors, Pitts turned to the home’s estuary environment for inspiration. “They have the most magnificent waterfront I’ve seen,” she observes. “There’s an enormous front yard that’s planted with corn in the summer and a creek with wetland grasses. I tried to mix the colors of the bay and sky with the textures of the property.” A crisp-white kitchen with backsplash tiles in blues ranging from subtle to bold provided a jumping-off point for the home’s overall palette of creams and whites punctuated by blue accents. In the butler’s pantry, vibrant blue cabinetry pairs with a mirrored-tile backsplash for a touch of glam.
Pitts furnished the house from scratch, honing in on light-stained woods, woven pieces and upholstery that convey both comfort and sophistication. She enhanced the sense of intimacy through warmth of materials and furniture groupings, selecting low-slung silhouettes that allow the views to take center stage. Her challenges included designing the home’s seven bathrooms in a range of styles and materials; the marble-clad, hexagonal owners’ bath situated at the end of a wide corridor is a standout.
To meet the clients’ desire for easy indoor-outdoor living, Pattey created an abundance of al fresco spaces. A water-facing veranda stretches the length of the main volume, spilling out to a patio with a fire pit. A screened pavilion and cabana—complete with powder room and outdoor shower—flank a pergola-covered walkway to another pavilion. The existing swimming pool has been refurbished, while an outdoor kitchen, dining area and owners’ wing patio give the family plenty of outdoor options. A landscape plan by Terra Nova Design softens the extensive hardscape.
The finished house boasts a seamless connection between architecture and interior design, thanks to a design team that was sympatico from the start. “When you team up early, there’s great synergy,” comments Pattey. Both he and Pitts contend that the trust the clients vested in the team enhanced the results.
The owners are thrilled with their newly completed abode, where they unexpectedly sheltered full-time for two months during the pandemic. “The process was long, about three years from design to the end,” says the wife. “But we made it exactly the way we want it.”
Renovation Architecture: Christopher L. Pattey, Associate AIA, Becker Morgan Group, Salisbury, Maryland. Interior Design: Erin Paige Pitts, Erin Paige Pitts Interiors, Annapolis, Maryland. Renovation Contractor: John W. Coursey and Son, LLC, Centreville, Maryland. Landscape Installation: Terra Nova Design, Crofton, Maryland.
Sectional & Fabric: ferrellmittman.com. Wood-Framed Chairs: mcguirefurniture.com. Coffee Table: Custom by erinpaigepittsinteriors.com. Fabrication: mitchellyanosky.com. Chandelier: arteriors.com. Drapery Fabric: fschumacher.com. White Urns on Console: Clients’ collection. Throw Pillows on Sectional: romo.com, quadrillefabrics.com.
Wood-Framed Bench & Fabric: furnitureclassics.com. Art above Bench: suzanneyurdin.com.
Table: centuryfurniture.com. Chairs: hookerfurniture.com. Chair Fabric: romo.com, osborneandlittle.com. Rug: Custom. Drapery Design: erinpaigepittsinteriors.com. Drapery Fabric: osborneandlittle.com, fschumacher.com. Drapery Trim: samuelandsons.com. Chandelier: urbanelectric.com. Barn Door Covering: phillipjeffries.com.
Backsplash Tile: annsacks.com. Countertop: cambria-quartz.com. Shades: Custom by erinpaigepittsinteriors.com.
Walnut Countertop & Wood Panel on Fridge: Custom by erinpaigepittsinteriors.com. Fabrication: warrenswoodworks.com. Stone Countertop: atlastile.com. Backsplash Tiles: walkerzanger.com. Round Table by Window Seat: tritterfeefer.com. Woven Chairs: palecek.com. Counter Stools: serenaandlily.com. Island Pendants: urbanelectric.com. Range Hood: ventahood.com.
Banquette: Custom by erinpaigepittsinteriors.com. Fabrication: mitchellyanosky.com. Table: tritterfeefer.com. Chairs: sikadesignusa.com. Light Fixture: paulferrante.com. Bird Pictures: Victoria-larson.com.
Bed, Inlaid Chest, Nightstand & Bench: bernhardtfurniture.com. Bench Fabric: fschumacher.com. Chairs & Ottoman by Window: caracole.com. Bedside Lamps: mrbrownhome.com. Drapes: Custom by erinpaigepittsinteriors.com. Drapery Fabric: janechurchill.com. Drapery Trim: fschumacher.com. Hall Settee & Fabric: vanguardfurniture.com. Picture over Settee: patricedrago.com. Console/Desk, Chandelier & Mirror: madegoods.com. Chair: hickorychair.com. Rug: Custom by erinpaigepittsinteriors.com.
OWNERS’ BATH: Tub: vanda.com. Chandelier: madegoods.com. Marble Tile: soliusa.com.