When looking for a weekend getaway from their busy lives in Washington, DC, an established professional couple found the perfect riverfront property on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. But despite its idyllic location on the Tred Avon River, the outdated house was in need of refurbishing.
“My clients were looking for help,” says designer Jamie Merida, who owns both Bountiful Interiors and Bountiful Flooring in Easton. “They bought the house—a 1970s river ranch—for its waterfront setting. But they wanted it to reflect their style and suit their needs.”
Merida collaborated with architect Jon Braithwaite of Atelier 11 Architecture and Bountiful’s lead designer Denise Perkins to bring the modestly sized, three-bedroom home up to speed. Its closed-off kitchen was desperately in need of renovation, as were its old bathrooms. “We gutted and opened up the kitchen to the main living and dining spaces, creating more of a great-room feel,” says Merida. “And we also redid the bathrooms.”
The kitchen—once home to white melamine cabinets, blue Formica countertops, and outdated appliances—now features modern maple cabinets, black granite counters with a leathered finish and a stainless-steel tile backsplash. Separating the kitchen and dining area, a sleek breakfast bar offers stools on one side for quick meals and food-prep space on the other.
“The homeowners both love to cook, and enjoy entertaining family and friends in a relaxed manner. We didn’t want to make the kitchen overly feminine, but kept it edgy and casual,” says Merida.
Since the prior kitchen didn’t relate well to the site with its single window, Braithwaite points out, “We added several windows for better visual access to the river.”
The back door leads out from the kitchen onto a spacious bluestone patio and lushly landscaped garden by Brian Kurtz of Solidago Landscapes; a guesthouse on the property has also been redone. The patio is furnished for entertaining large parties, with hardy teak furniture made comfortable with Sunbrella cushions.
“Jamie and I also added a covered porch off the kitchen,” Braithwaite continues. “The idea was to create an open-air space that would be protected from the elements and mosquitoes, and also connected to the river, kitchen, and patio—whether the couple is alone or entertaining.”
Most rooms in the house feature prominent river views—particularly the main living/dining area, where an entire bank of floor-to-ceiling windows envelops the space. While emphasizing the outdoors was key, Merida’s other goal was to display his client’s collection of outsider art. He selected “a monochromatic, restful palette running blue-gray with punches of truer blues. We used nothing that would detract from either the art or the scenery,” he explains. “I was going for an English country house look, with clean-lined, contemporary and sophisticated furnishings in multiple seating areas where groups or individuals could hang out doing different things.”
The main room divides loosely into seamlessly connected quadrants. There are two seating configurations in the rectangular living area. One arrangement features a Sam Moore sofa and Kincaid armchairs in a Schumacher stripe clustered around an industrial-cart coffee table. The other pairs a sofa and slipper chairs by Vanguard with a steel-and-travertine table.
Sandwiched between the breakfast bar and freestanding fireplace, the dining area features a rustic farm table and chairs by Restoration Hardware. On the far side of the fireplace, a pair of leather armchairs creates an intimate gathering spot. During the renovation, both sides of the two-sided brick fireplace were clad in clean-lined plaster to better suit the color scheme.
The one-story home’s luxurious bedrooms are pictures in serenity. “I wanted them to look like suites at a Four Seasons Hotel,” says Merida. Each boasts custom draperies, fine linens, and furnishings selected for style and comfort.
The master bathroom has a glass-walled steam shower, marble-topped vanities and a deep soaking tub opposite the window that takes advantage of its scenic river view. “It’s such a calming, ageless bathroom—classic, yet contemporary,” says Braithwaite.
The newly completed weekend home perfectly suits its owners’ needs and aesthetic sensibility. In the end, Merida says, it’s all about creating a comfortable environment. “Our clients just want to get here and quickly unwind.”
Writer and stylist Charlotte Safavi are based in Alexandria, Virginia. Robert Radifera is a photographer in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Renovation Architecture: Jon Braithwaite, Associate AIA, Atelier 11 Architecture, Easton, Maryland. Interior Design: Jamie Merida, principal; Denise Perkins, lead designer, Bountiful Interiors, Easton, Maryland. Landscape Design: Brian Kurtz, Solidago Landscapes, LLC, Church Hill, Maryland.