We always thought a waterfront home was out of reach,” says Kassie Genovere, co-owner of an Annapolis hair salon for kids. But when her close friends announced they had found an affordable riverside home in Annapolis, Genovere convinced her husband Larry to start looking for their dream house on a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Their search led to the purchase of a muddy lot at the confluence of the Rhode River and Cadle Creek in Edgewater, Maryland. “Standing here, I knew I was home,” says Kassie, pointing toward the shoreline. “The creek is so close and it’s such a beautiful, peaceful place.” They decided to buy the land and build a new house that would take in the views.
After interviewing several local architects, the couple chose the firm Hammond Wilson to design a house big enough for themselves, their teenage kids, Jake and Carly, and guests. “It was truly a wonderful experience,” reflects Larry Genovere. “They listened to us and created what we were looking for.”
Architect Leo Wilson organized the house as an L-shaped structure wrapped around a patio with swimming pool and spa. “We designed the interior spaces to flow into this large, outdoor living space,” says Wilson. “As far as the image of the house, the owners wanted something that looked like it belonged on the Chesapeake Bay.”
So the architects took their design cues from historic Shingle-style houses. They distinguished the exterior with varied rooflines, projecting bays and balconies and wide, overhanging eaves that visually reduce the size of the 5,500-square-foot house. “The gables and dormers in this home aesthetically add interest in addition to providing the opportunity for more water views,” says project architect Sandie Martino.
Inside, the rooms are arranged around a double-height foyer centered on a spacious stairway with a built-in bench. “We use the staircase as the focal point of a house,” says Wilson. “It’s an opportunity to create a first impression, a sense of craft and quality as soon as you open the front door.”
Among the homeowners’ unique requests were two family rooms, one on the main floor and another on the second floor. “We needed an out-of-the-way place for the kids since they were getting older,” says Larry of the upper-level space. Both rooms offer river vistas through banks of windows; the second-floor family room opens to its own balcony.
The main floor includes a small, formal living room, now used by Kassie as her private retreat. Across the hallway, the dining room, with its tall wainscoting and chandelier, is reserved for dinner parties and holiday meals. “It’s not just for show,” insists Kassie, “but we usually entertain in the kitchen.”
It’s easy to see why—the airy cooking and dining space captures wide water views through an entire wall of windows and doors. Annapolis kitchen designer Sandy Payne centered the room on two 12-foot-long islands used for food preparation, casual meals and buffets. French doors open directly to the limestone-covered pool deck, one of several stone structures on the property built by Larry Genovere’s masonry restoration company.
At one end of the kitchen, doors flanking a fieldstone fireplace lead to a screened porch that serves as another gathering spot. “It’s my favorite room,” says Larry. “It’s tranquil and quiet, but you still hear the boats and wildlife outside.”
On the upper floor, the master suite offers some of the best water vistas from a built-in window seat and a balcony. The kids’ bedrooms are located at the ends of the hallway, a short distance away from the second-floor family room.
As the home’s construction drew to a close, Kassie tapped Dream House Studios of Annapolis to decorate the main rooms in neutral colors that don’t compete with the views. “She wanted to keep the furnishings comfortable, nothing too formal,” says designer Erin Olexia. “We went with a country, Ralph Lauren feel and made sure there was furniture that the kids could sit on.”
Evident throughout the house are well-crafted architectural details, from ceiling beams in the family room to air grilles hidden within doorways. They establish a feeling of traditional authenticity within family-friendly interiors supportive of the Genoveres’ daily activities.
“Of all the new houses we’ve designed,” asserts Wilson, “this is the most livable.”
Writer Deborah K. Dietsch is based in Washington, DC. Kevin Weber is a Baltimore-based photographer.
Architecture: Leo A. Wilson, AIA, LEED AP, principal; Sandie P. Martino, project architect, Hammond Wilson, Annapolis, Maryland. Interior Design: Kim Mohr, Erin Olexia, Dream House Studios, Annapolis, Maryland. Builder: Bret Anderson, president; David Attenberger, project manager, Pyramid Builders, Annapolis, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Kevin Campion, Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, Annapolis, Maryland.