Set In Stone
A Dover couple converts a 1960s brick rancher into a modern-day castle on a lake. And talk about a view.
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Flow blue and Wedgwood blue pottery are grouped on a side table. Her collection of miniature chests is displayed on a ledge leading to the lower level. She discovered the circa 1770 canopy bed in the guest room at an antiques shop in Accomac, Virginia, on the lower Eastern Shore. On a fireplace mantel, she arranged a tin tray, screen and box decorated in tole painting, a folk art style.
“I call it farmhouse eclectic,” she says, “country but not cute.”
She inherited her love of Americana from her mother, an antiques dealer who introduced her to auctions. Her collections establish a relaxed tone throughout the house, from the painted Pennsylvania Dutch blanket chest on the lower level to the butterfly cupboard in the dining area, a piece she bought from a home on Dover’s historic green.
Built in 1960, the rancher originally had eight-foot ceilings, the standard of the day. To make the house feel lighter and brighter, the homeowners sacrificed storage space in the attic in order to raise the ceilings.
Off the foyer, a large formal living room is much the way his parents left it. There’s a central fireplace—the original brick has been covered in stone—and Colonial-style eight-over-eight pane windows.
“As soon as you come in the front door you get a look at the lake,” she says. “The entire house is oriented toward the water.”
To provide a panoramic vista, the homeowners expanded the footprint of the house back to the retaining wall and added a two-story great room with soaring, 13-foot ceilings. They installed commercial-size panes of insulated double-pane glass to maximize the view. The floors are pine, milled in 10-inch wide planks.
A pair of big, cushy sofas provides casual seating. She found the rustic, oversized coffee table at Mitchell’s Interiors in Laurel. With a distressed finish and aged patina, the piece looks like an antique. “But it is actually new furniture made from old wood,” she says.
The couple enjoys cooking together—he handles meat and fish, she prepares the side dishes—so a large kitchen with several work areas was a priority. The space is open to the gathering room, which allows the couple to interact with their guests when they are hosting the party.
“Plus, when you’re in the kitchen cooking, you can see the lake outside,” he says.
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