Fronted by a wide curvy driveway, this Annapolis house sits back far enough from the road that you could almost drive past and not even notice it. Almost.
Its curbside appeal practically forces you to brake. There’s the calming blue color of this modern, coastal-style cottage. Aptly named Open Air, it’s reminiscent of a pale blue sky on a perfect summer day—a fitting backdrop for the home’s exterior tidewater touches, from plantation shutters to decorative oval-shaped windows resembling portholes. The color complements the landscape architecture that delicately frames the home: shrubbery in shades of green, golden wavy ornamental grasses, and playful drifts of color that just might cause an observer’s blood pressure to plummet. The overall effect is enchanting.
It’s all part of a master plan, right down to the black-eyed susans, little allium, and plumed grasses that dot the grounds like small archipelagoes. The project is also an example of how architecture and landscape architecture converge successfully. Stephen Makrinos of Campion Hruby Landscape Architecture made deliberate planting choices that aim for an aura of tranquility, vitality, and relaxation. Catherine Purple Cherry of Purple Cherry Architects conceived a structure that encourages a sense of peace, where inhabitants may age in place.
It starts with the exterior where durability and whimsy co-mingle. The home’s shingle siding exudes the warm, textured appearance of wood. It’s actually made of synthetic shingles that look like real cedar but are built to stand up to the outdoor elements.
“Being on the water’s edge, we’re really conscious of exposure to wind, rain, and salt. We built the house to stand the test of time, says Chris Neumann, vice president of Bayview Builders.
Then there’s the exterior color. Purple Cherry suggested the sky blue hue. To her surprise, the homeowner embraced the recommendation. “Ninety-nine percent of my other clients would have said no,” Purple Cherry observes. They would feel a house of this caliber required a level of subdued sophistication found only in hues of gray or tan.
“She just let us go,” says Purple Cherry, whose client left behind a large and formal home in Bethesda and a hectic corporate job and lifestyle. Her dream was to retreat to a simpler lifestyle that would take her and her husband into their later years. (Unfortunately, he recently passed.)
“I think we get to a place where life has been so complicated, and we don’t want any madness anymore. It plays into the color tones,” says Purple Cherry. It also explains why she took great pains to secure that calming, coastal blue for the home’s exterior. Undeterred when she learned the color had been discontinued, Purple Cherry convinced the manufacturer to make one last run of it.
The soothing color scheme continues throughout the home’s interior, while specialized touches lend distinctive appeal. An accent wall in the master bedroom provides a subtle yet standout feature: textured wallpaper by Thibaut. In the “hers” master bathroom, clean white walls complement sophisticated tiling on the wall behind the tub, “Meridian Veil Blend” from Chesapeake Tile. In the predominantly white kitchen, the backsplash—Moscow Petite Cold Stone Mosaic, also from Chesapeake Tile—
is fanciful yet understated.
A floor plan for easy living
Aging in place was on the client’s mind when she shared her vision of a new home with Purple Cherry, whose design delivered. There are no steep steps leading up to the home’s front porch. The airy foyer takes your gaze directly through to the back of the home, with a panoramic view of the sparkling Severn River. The main level’s open floor plan showcases a breezy kitchen that flows into a living room whose vaulted ceiling, topped by a cupola, lets in natural light, as do numerous wide windows. The main living space is bookended by the master bedroom immediately to the right—no long hallways to navigate—plus his and her bathrooms. Just left of the kitchen, a roomy office with built-in bookshelves opens to a cozy back porch, complete with fireplace and coastal-casual furniture.
Given its amenities, appealing detail (think built-ins and intricate millwork), it’s easy to imagine never leaving the main level. But you’d miss out on the ground floor that offers its own allure, including a roomy bar and sitting area much brighter, bigger, and all-around more appealing than the average basement. Plus, there’s plenty of room for guests down here. During the pandemic, the owner hosted her niece for several weeks. Private accommodations included her own bedroom, office, and bathroom. The owners’ parents live in a suite on the bottom floor. They can simply walk out the ground-level doors onto the pool deck.
At the back of the house, one has more opportunities to gaze lazily over the waterfront. The pool deck is an obvious choice. So too are the lounge chairs and seating around the fire pit—all comfortably ensconced in the terraced landscaped hillside that eventually leads to the water’s edge. Each option affords unobstructed views of the river and the wildlife and people who play in and around it.
“I roll out of bed, get the paper, and sit by the pool with my coffee,” says the owner. “I never get tired of looking at the view.”
This home’s rolling gardens nourish creatures of all kinds. The river does the same on visible and invisible levels. Between the free-flowing water and the natural gardens, life is always happening.
Architecture and Interior design: Purple Cherry Architects, purplecherry.com, Annapolis, Maryland | CUSTOM Builder: Bayview Builders, bayviewbuildersmd.com | Landscape Architecture: Campion Hruby, campionhruby.com, Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 11, No. 5 2020