A Delicate Balance in Rugby Hall

A Delicate Balance
in Rugby Hall

By Dylan Roche | Photography by Geoffrey Hodgdon




“My job is to create balance and create solutions for how they want to live—
it’s a question of how they want to use this house.”


That’s how Bob Berry of Three B Architecture describes his approach not merely to architecture in general but also to a home in the Rugby Hall community of Arnold that was recently designed for a highly active family with four children. 

The homeowners wanted comfort, utility, and beauty. Berry used the raw power of architecture to create custom spaces that delicately balance these desires. He found creative ways to manipulate traditional forms to meet the family’s every possible need: from a three-car garage, a mudroom, and laundry room (with a laundry chute) to a combined office and homework space and a main-level primary bedroom with a full view of—and easy access to—the pool.

There is also something extra special: a gymnasium equipped for two children in training to be gymnasts. When the house was still a work in progress, there was unused square footage over the garage. When the pandemic forced the world into shutdown, many activities the children enjoyed were canceled. Just in time, Berry joined forces with Laura Bauer of Ivory Stone Interiors to transform the extra space into a playroom and gym. Now, there would be plenty of room for games and for practicing maneuvers such as back handsprings and flips. 

This was the sort of chemistry and creativity driving the project and an example of the synergy between architect and interior designer. Berry conceived the structure with Bauer’s design plan in mind. The ground floor features an open floor plan where there’s a clear transition between spaces. Different ceiling heights and freestanding columns ensure that the great room, the kitchen, the den, and the dining room feel like their own distinct spaces. 

According to Berry, something important was needed to maintain flow and privacy: the addition of wings. “In some of the early designs, it was a rectangular house with perpendicular wings that came off,” Berry says. “In a later design session, just by rotating two of the wings by a slight degree, we opened up the yard and created a lot more usable area—and it opened up the view and some of the sightlines.” 

Aesthetically, the goal was to have everything flow easily from one room to the next. Describing the look as “relaxed coastal,” Bauer says, “We tried to keep everything light and bright and airy. It’s about texture and material selection and color,” she adds.

Rattan and subtle colors like light blue balance out the house’s grandiose scale; rooms feel tranquil and calm rather than imposing. While many similar elements do appear throughout, Bauer does like to incorporate some surprises. “We want to keep it interesting while still creating a consistent flow,” she explains. “In each room, I tried to mix it up a little bit.”

One such place was on the tray ceiling in the dining room—an architectural element that Berry was already using to create aesthetic variation in a more traditional space. Bauer opted for a paint color by Benjamin Moore called Kendall Charcoal for the tray ceiling to contrast with the white walls painted a shade called Greek Villa from Sherwin Williams. “It’s about finding something fun to add to the space,” she says.

Bauer knew the home’s interior would need thoughtful design to hold up to so much activity while still looking beautiful. While she chose engineered wood floors throughout the main level—Bauer believes in always using either solid wood or engineered hardwood in the primary living space—she shifted to luxury vinyl planks in the basement rec room. Durable materials are essential when it comes to raising children. With this in mind, she suggests using quartz or porcelain tile in bathrooms rather than marble, as marble is porous and ages quickly.

Even with so much to consider and so many elements to incorporate, this collaborative effort between Berry and Bauer never felt inconsistent. Instead, with its coastal-inspired aesthetic and structured-but-open spaces, the home strikes a delicate balance between grandeur and comfort, exactly right for this busy family.




ARCHITECT: Bob Berry, Three B Architecture, threebarchitecture.com, Annapolis, Maryland | CUSTOM BUILDER: Signature Dream Homes, signaturedreamhomes.com, Stevensville, Maryland | INTERIOR DESIGNER: Laura Bauer, Ivory Stone Interiors, ivorystoneinteriors.com | LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Barks Road Landscape Architecture, barksroad.com, Arnold, Maryland



© Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 13, No. 6 2022