It’s hard to put a finger on what is most extraordinary about The Rest, a historic Tidewater property in Easton, Maryland, dating back to the pre-Civil War era. Until you see it, of course. The four-acre site on the Miles River is complete with an allée of sycamores and a Colonial-style residence built in place of an original home that burned down in the 19th century.
“The first impression is one of casual beauty, but once you open the front door, the Jeffersonian-style architecture knocks your socks off,” says Jamie Merida, owner of Bountiful Interiors, who most recently worked on the home with lead designer Amanda Friend. “The foyer has a barrel-vaulted ceiling with arched Palladian windows and there are two sets of enfilades.”
The homeowners, Andy Hess, CEO of a construction management company, and his wife Susan, a pilates instructor, were also smitten with the property at first sight. They had downsized from a Potomac house to a DC condo and were looking for a second home where they could spend quality time with their grown children, close family and friends on weekends and holidays.
“This was the 13th house we’d seen,” recalls Susan Hess of the fortuitous day in 2009 when they discovered the property. “The French doors in the back on the river were open. There was all this light and a breeze coming in. The architecture took our breath away and we knew this was the one.”
They purchased the property knowing that the house—built by a Philadelphia architect in the 1960s—would require a lot of work. Exterior elements needed repair and the infrastructure needed an upgrade. The kitchen, last renovated in the 1970s, cried out for a total overhaul. The Hesses brought in Jennifer Gilmer to update the kitchen, and worked with Fiona Weeks of Easton-based Dwelling & Design on the dining room. They also focused their attention on converting the unused attic into a master suite.
As their plans took shape, the couple discovered Bountiful Interiors, Merida’s Easton home-furnishings store and design studio. “Susan was especially drawn to our signature Tidewater style, which is a fresh, clean take on traditional,” says Merida. “Some of the earliest Colonial homes were located in the Tidewater region, stretching from South Carolina to Delaware. We’re smack in the middle here. It’s an area and lifestyle that’s rich with tradition, but doesn’t have the stiff formality of the inland cities. What we consider Tidewater style is a relaxed, refreshed version of traditional forms and furnishings, with the use of painted wood finishes, bold patterns and a brighter palette.”
The Hesses turned to Merida and his team to help with the overall redesign of the home. The couple’s mandate was simple. While their former Potomac home had been formal and traditional with a darker palette, they wanted their Eastern Shore escape to capture a look that was “pretty, crisp and bright,” in Susan’s words, but also “livable” enough to accommodate casual get-togethers as well as their dogs and grandchildren.
From the foyer, with its patterned rug in striated shades of blue, to the dining room, with its alternating chartreuse and turquoise upholstered chairs, the décor is awash in vibrant colors that stand out against white millwork. Upstairs in the master suite, the blues and greens soften to restful seaglass hues.
Patterned textiles, with contemporary interpretations of traditional motifs, further define the décor. These include stripes, chevrons, botanicals, geometrics and paisleys. Chinoiserie also works its way into the skillful pattern play, as well as into small furniture and home accessories such as garden stools and ginger jars.
In the kitchen makeover, done in conjunction with Gilmer, Merida and Friend modified an antique counter that now serves as a breakfast bar and island lined with French café stools. An existing cupboard, custom-painted in celadon, takes up an entire wall to provide aesthetically pleasing storage.
“One of the homeowners’ favorite spaces,” says Friend, “is the screened porch in the back, where the ceiling is painted sky blue in traditional Eastern Shore style.” The porch is deftly divided into seating and dining areas, focused on weather-
resistant furnishings and Sunbrella fabrics. The distressed pine dining table is eight feet long and the hub of many a casual meal. Just outside, the lush lawn dips down to the river.
Last year, Merida and Friend put the finishing touches on the living room. Among the updated transitional elements are a geometric wool rug and a painted sideboard, as well as a variety of occasional tables, standing lamps and art.
Reflecting on the completed project, Merida enthuses, “It was so refreshing for us to use saturated colors and bold patterns with abandon—and end up with a house like this.”
He commends his clients for taking their time and getting to know the house gradually during the design process. “Decorating over time can be enjoyable,” says the designer. “You and your client develop a special relationship and can take your time finding the perfect item for a particular spot. Above all, it allows you to be more creative.”
INTERIOR DESIGN: JAMIE MERIDA, principal; AMANDA FRIEND, lead designer, Bountiful Interiors, Easton, Maryland.
DINING ROOM—pages 152, 153: Dining Table: stanleyfurniture.com. Dining Chairs: leeindustries.com through dwellinganddesign.com. Wall Color: dwellinganddesign.com. Chair Upholstery: sunbrella.com. Chandelier: olystudio.com. Lamp on Sideboard: curreycodealers.com. Rug: dmikc.com. Sunburst Mirror: chelseahouseinc.com. Sideboard: vanguardfurniture.com. Painting over Mantel: nancyhammondeditions.com. Blue & White Jars: gjstyles.com.
LIVING ROOM—pages 154, 155: Draperies: ralphlaurenhome.com. Sofas, Club Chairs, Bar Cart & Art above Bar Cart: Owners’ collection. Lamp on Bar Cart: curreycodealers.com. Console: stanleyfurniture.com through brookscollection.com. Matching Green Lamps on Console: pacificcoastlighting.com. Art above Console: screened prints, custom for bountifuldecor.com. Rug: dashandalbert.annieselke.com. Coffee Table: modernhistoryhome.com.
FOYER—page 154: Console: Custom, made in England using reclaimed wood. Ottomans: Custom. Art above Console: Vintage Louis Vuitton poster.
KITCHEN—page 156: Kitchen & Custom Hood Design: Jennifer Gilmer, CKD, and Meghan Brown, gilmerkitchens.com. Cabinetry: greenfieldcabinetry.com. Island: sarreid.com. Range: subzero-wolf.com. Pendants: visualcomfort.com. Window Treatment Fabric: stroheim.com. Window Treatment Fabrication: draperiesetcinc.com.
POOL AREA—pages 156,157: Chaises: Owners’ collection.
MASTER BEDROOM—page 158: Upholstered Bedstead: Design by bountifuldecor.com. Nightstands: modernhistoryhome.com. Bedside Lamps: lampworks.com. Bedding: Custom by bountifuldecor.com. Bench: globalviews.com. Rug: helioscarpet.com.
DRESSING ROOM—page 159: Mirrored Vanity & Chair: Owners’ collection. Rug: helioscarpet.com.
MASTER BATH—page 159: Tile: Carrara marble. Tub: waterworks.com. Fixture above Tub: curreycodealers.com. Window Treatment & Seat Fabric: kravet.com. Fabrication: draperiesetcinc.com. Cushion & Pillow Fabrication: bountifuldecor.com. Sconces above Sinks: visualcomfort.com.