“So, can you pick out whichh part is the addition?” designer Jane Hill Stokes asks as we stand in front of her client’s house. I must admit, I can’t. The entire L-shaped, latte-colored home with its white-columned porches looks as if it’s graced the property as long as the towering silver maple out front.
And that was exactly the goal, Stokes tells me. “The idea was to make the new look old,” she says. “To make the addition look as seamless as possible.” Stokes, who runs ADR Builders Ltd. of Timonium with her husband, Gary, specializes in high-end, large-scale additions, like this one on a 75-acre Baltimore County horse farm.
Her clients, a couple with a passion for raising and showing racehorses, had purchased the property in the early 1990s. The house was “typical 1950s architecture,” according to the homeowners, a brick-and-siding two-story that seemed at odds with the rural landscape and circa-1809 barn out front. In 1998, when twins doubled their family size, they knew it was time to expand. “We wanted a basement to get rid of the toys that were always in the living room, and my husband wanted a fireplace that didn’t fill the house with smoke.”
The challenge, says Stokes, was how to unite the new 3,274-square-foot addition with the original house as well as another addition that had been added in the mid-1990s. “There was already two shades of brick [from the earlier addition]. The question was: What would the addition be? How could we blend everything together?”
The client’s interior designer and family friend, Jane Williamson, of Atlanta’s Jane Williamson Antiques and Design, suggested covering the entire structure in stucco, to achieve both a sense of cohesion and a timeless country look. “It definitely pulled everything together,” says the homeowner. “We wanted the house to have the look and feel of the farm. [Now] it looks like it was always here.”
Visitors enter through the addition, which has become the home’s main entrance, into a 20-by-5-foot hallway floored with gray ceramic tiles. Off to the right, a mudroom with a window seat that opens to reveal storage for boots, is usually the first stop for the family, and serves as sleeping quarters for its three black labs. (Five cats, 10 chickens and 13 horses also live on the property.) Off the entryway beyond the mudroom lies the laundry room, colorfully wallpapered in reproduction French travel posters (“It takes me away,” says the homeowner), and then a powder room with a French chandelier and a sink made from an antique pewter basin.
The 250-square-foot kitchen, with its chocolate brown wood cabinets and pale granite countertops, opens to the left. “We were always tripping over each other in the [old] kitchen,” says the homeowner. Now the family has plenty of space not only for dinner and late-night snacks, but for entertaining extended family during the holidays. An island provides ample space for meal preparation, and two dishwashers take care of cleanup.
Back in the hallway, a staircase leads to the finished basement where the four kids, ranging in age from 5 to 16, watch TV or play games. Another stairway leads upstairs to bedrooms and a bath for the eldest children.
The entryway ultimately opens into the 15-by-25-foot family room. A floor-to-ceiling granite wall, made from Pennsylvania stone purchased at a Cockeysville quarry, is the room’s focal point. A heavy beam from an old barn embedded in the wall crowns the fireplace and serves as a rustic-looking mantel.
Family members and guests relax in the two comfortable antique leather chairs by the fireplace or on the floral print side chairs, all found by Williamson and the homeowner during shopping sprees in Atlanta. An ottoman with a leopard-skin print and red legs adds a touch of playfulness to the room. The room is homey and unpretentious but retains a sophisticated flair. “We wanted it to be elegant, yet comfortable,” says the homeowner. “It’s not a showplace. It’s a home we live in— a country home, full of kids and animals.”
The house remains a work in progress according to the homeowner. But she says she couldn’t be happier with the transformation thus far. “The house didn’t fit the property when we started out,” she says. “Now it looks like what it should have been all along.”
ADR Builders Ltd. Jane Hill Stokes and
Gary Stokes, Timonium, 410-561-0221 Jane Williamson Antiques and Design Atlanta, 404-261-1081