When Steve and Judy Goozh bought their 100-year-old home on Southern Maryland’s Breton Bay, they knew they were facing a major renovation. Everything from weathered clapboard to choppy spaces clamored for attention. To the new owners, though, the water views were worth the trouble. They enlisted architect Paul Maarec to transform the 5,000-square-foot house into a welcoming retreat that would capitalize on its waterfront locale.
The Bethesda couple’s hunt for a second home “on this side of the bay bridge,” says Judy, led them to the Leonardtown property. The original landowners, who traced their Maryland roots back to the 17th century, had built a traditional farmhouse on the property in 1914. Then, to accommodate their extended brood, they erected a second, two-story structure and bridged the gap between buildings with a low-ceilinged entry hall.
The house clung to its past when the Goozhes found it nearly a century later. The first challenge was unifying the home’s disjointed halves, constructed 10 years apart. The upper levels remained unconnected, with no access from the bedrooms on one side to those on the other. Maarec designed a pergola-topped terrace leading to each side that joins the levels while retaining the historic home’s original, quirky structure. “There is a difference in elevation between the eaves,” explains Maarec. “The terrace creates an element to link the two without being offensive.” And it offers panoramic bay vistas.
Inside, the foyer’s ceiling was raised to a lofty 12 feet. Other architectural changes opened the floor plan and captured the views. Maarec reconfigured the first floor on the older, right side—removing two interior walls, transferring structural loads and relocating the dining room to create an airy family room and kitchen. “We kept the shell and worked within the existing walls to create larger, open spaces,” he says. “A major concern was to bring the outdoors in.”
Before, tiny windows blocked sunlight and the view; now, walls of French doors with transoms lead to a new wraparound veranda with spectacular vistas. “I can’t imagine having this property without this spot to enjoy the view,” says Steve, an orthodontist.
The waterfront dictated the décor, too. Judy envisioned a palette inspired by sea glass and a laid-back vibe. She turned to designer Amy Gudelsky of Urban Country for help. Gudelsky combined furnishings from the Bethesda retailer with family heirlooms and painted antiques. “We did a modern take on Country,” she says. “We used serene, watery colors to blend the two sides of the house and make it feel cohesive.”
Now located in the former parlor, the dining room boasts pale-blue walls that connect it to its bayside surroundings. The layout accommodates various scenarios for entertaining. With a married son and daughter and five grandchildren, the Goozhes requested seating for family gatherings, so Gudelsky installed two tables. “Turned end to end, the tables can seat a large group,” says the designer, “or just one works for smaller groups. They give you lots of options.”
The watery hue reappears in the great room on the opposite side of the house, where wood paneling and ceiling beams previously lent a dreary hunting-lodge feel. Gudelsky painted the beams white and the ceiling blue to lighten the mood, and removed the drab paneling. Furnishings are inviting and practical. “The upholstered chairs swivel, so you can watch TV or look at the view,” says Judy. “I want guests to be able to sit down anywhere and feel good.” The adjacent screened porch extends the relaxed living space.
Upstairs, six bedrooms welcome frequent visitors. Gudelsky gave each room a distinct personality, yet the quiet palette prevails. For example, the master suite is wrapped in whispering gray-blue while yellow enlivens one of the guest bedrooms.
However, the family room and kitchen amp up the color. Vibrant accessories invigorate creamy walls and a tan sofa and checkerboard wall tiles accent whitewashed cabinets and soft green granite countertops. The cheery space fits the family’s easy-going lifestyle. “The kitchen is the hub,” says Judy. “And, of course, the water’s right here.”
Indeed, weekends on the six-acre property—especially for younger guests—mean aquatic activities and simple pleasures such as fishing, kayaking, hiking and roasting marshmallows. “It’s a great retreat,” says Steve. “The grandkids love swimming in the bay. We have to ring a bell to get them out.”
For their part, the adults often celebrate the setting from the veranda. “We have friends down to visit and make all these plans, and then we sit here and do nothing,” says Judy. “It’s a place to settle down.”
Catherine Funkhouser is an Arlington, Virginia-based writer. Photographer Geoffrey Hodgdon is based in Deale, Maryland. Photographer Angie Seckinger splits her time between Potomac, Maryland, and Spain.
Renovation Architecture: Paul Maarec, North Potomac, Maryland. Interior Design, Amy Gudelsky, Urban Country, Bethesda, Maryland. Contractor: Mike Mummaugh, Paragon Properties, Leonardtown, Maryland.