A family home more likely to be seen on a midwestern lakefront fits beautifully in the Mid-Atlantic. Designed by Minnesota architect Kathryn Alexander and built by Maryland-based Mueller Homes, this beautiful home situated on 64 acres in Carroll County overlooks a forest conservation area with a running stream.
“The homeowners wanted something unique that complemented the property,” says builder Paul Mueller, Jr. To that end, Alexander designed the 4,800-square-foot home to take advantage of the graded slopes and changes in elevation, with large windows providing views of the natural surroundings.
“Before we started the design, we walked the property to see the terrain, the views, and the light, and to envision how the house would be set on the lot,” says Alexander. “The land and the homeowners are always our inspiration.”
Mueller, Alexander, and interior designer Stacia Smith of Homewood Interiors worked closely together to create a family home whose style could be described as farmhouse chic meets industrial—a look not typically seen in the Mid-Atlantic.
Alexander, who hails from the Midwest, believes that coming from a different region of the country gives her a fresh perspective on a new look for this area. “Each region of the US tends to gravitate toward certain styles, and this breaks it out of the box a little,” she says. “Midwestern styling is a little softer and more playful than East Coast houses… more relaxed, and less purist in style.” She adds that midwestern lakefront homes are often constructed from rustic, natural materials to blend into their environment, whereas Mid-Atlantic homes, often built from brick, reference their colonial heritage with more formal, ornate styling.
The unexpected result is a rustic yet modern concept home designed for an active family with two young children and a beloved family dog (who gets its own dog shower in the mudroom!).
Many features make this home a real standout. The one-of-a-kind stair rails combine hand-selected reclaimed wood paired with industrial cabling. Custom cabinetry in the butler’s pantry and powder room—as well as the wood cubbies in the mudroom—have been handcrafted from reclaimed circle sawn wormy chestnut. A handcrafted walnut furniture cabinet in the master bath suite references the modern rustic effect seen throughout the house. The brick floor has a unique Flemish bond pattern. Each random-width plank of the floors and stair treads, crafted from planks of white oak barn side wood, was hand-selected from early 19th-century barns, micro-beveled, and wire-brushed.
“This is a very detailed home with high-end materials. At the same time, it’s a very usable home that’s built for longevity,” says Mueller. He points out features such as a main floor owner’s suite, a vaulted screened porch with a fireplace that overlooks the private backyard with a pass-through from the butler’s pantry that can act as a serving bar, and his and hers private offices, which have proven especially useful during these times when many of us are working from home. Alexander also included a back staircase, designed to access a more private suite so that a nanny, grandparent, or long-term guest could have their own space apart from the family.
When it comes to the interior, Smith calls this project a ‘dream job’. “The homeowners gave me some adjectives of what they were looking for to get me started, and then pretty much turned me loose,” she says.
Smith kept the color palette of pale gray, cream, and beige neutral throughout the home, with occasional accents in black and a striking navy island in the kitchen. The main pops of color can be found in the children’s rooms. “We wanted the interior to reflect the exterior, with the same tones that can be found in the stone, siding, and roof,” says Smith.
With help from their creative team, this active family now has a distinctive home that is a fresh blend of two distinct architectural styles.
CUSTOM BUILDER: Mueller Homes, muellerhomes.com, Annapolis, Maryland | ARCHITECTURE: Kathryn Alexander, Alexander Design Group, alexanderdesigngroup.com, Wayzata, Minnesota | INTERIOR DESIGN: Stacia Smith, Homewood Interiors, homewoodinteriors.com, Glenelg, Maryland | LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: Intreegue Design, intreeguedesigns.com, Elkridge, Maryland
Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 11, No. 6 2020