Serenity Now

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It must have been kismet. When the new homeowners of this waterfront Annapolis townhouse were looking to move from the Eastern Shore to the capital city several years ago, they asked a woman if there were any homes for sale in her community. At the time there weren’t, she responded, adding that she and her husband had recently bought their house but that they came on the market very infrequently.
Fast forward a few years and the couple renewed their home search efforts. A friend mentioned she thought she knew of a great place for sale and, you guessed it: It was the home of the woman they had spoken to earlier.

The couple not only happily bought the house, but the entire contents as well, from the custom-designed furniture to the previous owners’ extensive collection of art and sculpture.

“Buying a turnkey home has really been a joy,” say the new homeowners. “It’s like going on vacation and never leaving.”

The 2,400-square-foot Severn River townhouse was painstakingly renovated by the previous owners, who called on Florida-based interior designer and space planner H. Allen Holmes to adapt the 35-year-old townhouse to a maintenance- and clutter-free lifestyle, but one that also was welcoming to their many friends and family.

Not only was the house completely gutted architecturally, but the homeowners also started with a clean slate when it came to the furnishings, which reflect a more modern aesthetic, one that the new homeowners appreciate as well.

To make the house meet his clients’ needs, Holmes—who worked with Annapolis architect Scarlett Breeding and custom residential contractors Lynbrook of Annapolis—reconfigured the interior space, combining four bedrooms into two and creating two spa-like bathrooms and spacious his and her closets.

To keep clutter under control, Holmes thought of the house as if it were a boat and created a central core that keeps everyday appliances and tableware out of sight. When the cabinet doors are open, they slide back into the core, maintaining the sleek lines of the kitchen/dining area but keeping the amount of workspace intact as well.

“Allen really thought outside the box here,” says the new lady of the house. “Everyone who comes to our home says the same thing: ‘Wow, I’ve never seen anything like it.’”

Holmes also used materials that would enhance the design sensibility and feeling of space and light, from the striking stainless steel and glass staircase to translucent movable glass panels (used instead of blinds) and an Israeli agate dining table that sits atop acrylic sheets for a floating effect.

“There are custom details throughout the house,” says Holmes—such as the living room TV that rises out of the floor at the touch of a remote so that it does not compete with the view of the harbor or “argue with the art.”

The reconfigured floor plan, which offers more generous wall space, is ideal for the eclectic art collection, which is now enjoyed by the new homeowners, and includes works by such artists as American abstract painter Brian Rutenberg, artist and illustrator Roxie Munro and American impressionist painter Marilyn Bendell.

Holmes didn’t know at the time that two sets of homeowners would enjoy the results of his work. But he’s happy his attention to detail has been so appreciated.
“Every aspect of this house is unique,” says Holmes. “It’s an art piece in itself.”

RESOURCES

Architect: Scarlett Breeding of Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects, 410-268-1213. http://www.absarchitects.com.
Builder: Ray Gauthier of Lynbrook of Annapolis, 410-295-3313. http://www.lynbrookofannapolis.com.
Designer: H. Allen Holmes of H. Allen Holmes, 772-245-8586. http://www.hallenholmesinc.com.

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