Historic Farmhouse Gets a Modern Update


Washington D.C. Family Builds an Eastern Shore Getaway

By Elizabeth Heubeck | Photography by Geoffrey Hogdgon


From the top of its long and winding gravel driveway, this historic farmhouse on Long Creek on the Eastern Shore appears every bit as traditional as when it was built in the early 1700s. But up close, the impression quickly changes. Recent renovations and additions to the home, both dramatic and thoughtful, have created the perfect marriage of historic and modern.

“I try to be incredibly respectful of a home’s historic fabric,” says Cathy Purple Cherry, whose firm, Purple Cherry Architects, took on the extensive renovation project from start to finish. Pilli Custom Homes did the remodel, bringing their attention to the construction.

Post-renovation, the first level’s new open, awe-inspiring kitchen and adjacent living room have become the home’s cheery focal point. The airy kitchen, with its exposed brick wall, soaring ceilings, and handsome wooden beams, flows directly into the newly built living room, whose understated cream and white color scheme complements the light-filled space, courtesy of expansive windows. Both the kitchen and living room afford a picture-perfect view of the home’s generous yard, which faces the creek. The scenery is both captivating and relaxing, tall grasses circle the home and sway gently with the wind. It serves as a perfect contrast to the busy lives that the homeowners lead in Washington D.C.

The generous 40-foot-long screened-in porch along the back of the home provides a front-row view of the Long Creek. Gazing at the serene creek need not be a solo affair here, as the spacious addition allows for comfortably entertaining up to 10 people. “Very rarely do you see porches of this scale,” Cherry observes.

The home’s other functional additions are designed for family life and entertaining. The back entrance, adjacent to the gravel driveway that easily accommodates four large cars, leads directly to a spacious new mudroom, with plenty of storage compartments. From there, just off the hallway leading to the kitchen, other admirable features include an alcove with a generous built-in dog bath, perfect after a romp in the creek; a new bathroom; a washer/dryer; and, tucked right beside the kitchen, a wine pantry, complete with a full-sized refrigerator.

Step into the original parlor and you immediately time travel back a few centuries, where small, intimate spaces were once the norm. “We were tiny people,” says Cherry, noting the low ceilings, narrow hallways, and diminutive rooms which were characteristic of homes of the past.

The owners, wanting to maintain the integrity of the historical home, knew that Cherry would respect their choice to do so. Subsequently, only minimal changes were made to the original structure. Two new bathrooms, one in the master bedroom and one in the second-floor hallway, were added. While many modern-day house hunters demand copious storage space, the bedrooms in this historic home were not retrofitted with additional closets or shelves.

What the rooms of the original home lack in modern amenities they make up for in a charming nod to the past. Working fireplaces adorn five of the home’s rooms. In the small room off the kitchen that likely once served as the main parlor, a piano conjures up images of guests gathering around it in the evening as a primary form of entertainment.

The beauty of this renovation is that the home can be enjoyed in both its original and modern iterations. That may mean lighting a toasty fire on a chilly evening and enjoying the intimacy of its original parlor rooms, or grabbing a favorite bottle of wine from the pantry’s refrigerator and sharing it with several guests on the roomy screened-in porch.


ARCHITECT: Cathy Cherry and Alan Cook, Purple Cherry Architects, purplecherry.com, Annapolis, Maryland | CUSTOM BUILDER: Henry Crew, Pilli Custom Homes, pillicustomhomes.com, Millersville, Maryland | INTERIOR DESIGN: Katie Carlin, Purple Cherry Architects | BATHROOMS: The Last Detail, thelastdetail.net, Gambrills, Maryland; Design Solutions, dsikitchens.com, Annapolis, Maryland | APPLIANCES: ADU, adu.com, Annapolis, Maryland | TILE: Atlas Marble & Tile, atlastile.com, Arnold, Maryland | CABINETRY: Dan McPherson, The Last Detail | HEART PINE FLOORING: Wood Floor Creations, woodfloorcreations.com, Greensboro, Maryland | WINDOWS: Jeld-Wen, jeld-wen.com | FIREPLACE MANTLE: The Last Detail | LANDSCAPE INSTALLATION: F.A. Hobson Landscaping, Inc., fahobsonlandscaping.com, Queenstown, Maryland | DECK: Pilli Custom Homes



Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 10, No. 3 2019