For nearly 25 years, Washingtonians Rick Lincicome and Cheryl Flota have spent weekends and vacations relaxing on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. They built a home in Rock Hall, a small harbor town, during the 1990s and purchased 15 acres on nearby Gray’s Inn Creek in 2010. Their idea was to replace a flood-damaged farmhouse on the property with a new modern residence.
“We wanted our home to be contemporary, open and comfortable, with a continuous and seamless relationship to the outside in all directions,” says Lincicome, a former corporate architect. “There are no bad views to the water or the woods, so we built extensive decks and floor-to-ceiling glass doors to move easily from the inside out.”
At the start of the project, he worked with landscape architect Miles Barnard of South Fork Studio to locate and configure the house. Their challenge was to capture water views while complying with critical area laws governing the protected buffer around the Maryland shore of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. The decision to preserve trees near the house led to an L-shaped dwelling with a large willow oak anchoring the courtyard between the two wings.
To develop the building design, Lincicome and Flota turned to the architects responsible for their first Rock Hall home, DC-based Jane Treacy and Phillip Eagleburger. “We enjoy their willingness to collaborate with us and their commitment to quality design and deep knowledge of residential construction,” says Flota, a lighting designer.
Before embarking on their second Rock Hall project, Treacy and Eagleburger had renovated the homeowners’ residence at the Watergate in collaboration with Washington-based designer Ernesto Santalla. “We loved all their design work on our apartment,” says Flota. “The fact that they all worked together so seamlessly made it easy to continue that collaboration, and we invited Ernesto to be part of the team again.”
Raised on concrete piers to meet flood-zone requirements, the new one-level home is clad in durable cedar siding and topped with sloping roofs to shed water. “Rick’s style is classic modern,” says Eagleburger. “We brought in flourishes he hadn’t considered, like the V-shaped roof over the screened porch.”
With the basic scheme of the house already established, Eagleburger refined the layout so that spaces used on a daily basis—living and dining rooms, kitchen and master suite—are located closest to the water. “We also made the screened porch on the water side as big as the living room for entertaining and hanging out,” he says.
The home’s more private side fronts the courtyard and incorporates two guest suites, a home office, utility and laundry rooms. Each wing of the L-shaped home is only one room deep to maximize daylight and views of the creek and courtyard.
Flota designed the home’s lighting plan, relying, she says, “on both natural and artificial light to balance the effects throughout the day and into nighttime.” Recessed and surface-mounted halogens illuminate walls, horizontal surfaces, and artwork. A few decorative fixtures, such as Bega pendants over the dining table, help define specific spaces.
Santalla ensured the décor was sophisticated yet practical, with a color scheme grounded in the hues of nature. “The design reconciles the desire for a contemporary home with the reality that the owners and their guests participate extensively in outdoor activities,” he says.
Slate-covered walls anchor the living room and master bedroom at either end of the main wing. Furnishings are a mixture of contemporary and classic modern pieces, vintage finds and family heirlooms. To save space in some rooms, Santalla created custom designs, including a walnut headboard with built-in nightstands and shelving in the master bedroom.
Since the house was completed in 2013, Lincicome has retired from his job at a large architecture firm and he and Flota now spend more time on the Eastern Shore. In addition to fishing and hunting, they enjoy shopping at the Chestertown farmers market, buying fresh ingredients for meals prepared at home.
Open to the living and dining areas, their kitchen becomes a hub of activity when visitors arrive. “We love to have guests participate in cooking great food and testing new menus,” says Lincicome. “We wanted to have the ability to eat and entertain within the kitchen while maintaining great views.”
Writer Deborah K. Dietsch is based in Washington, DC.
Architecture: Jane E. Treacy and Phillip R. Eagleburger, AIA, principals; Brian Underwood, project architect, Treacy & Eagleburger Architects, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Ernesto Santalla, AIA, Ernesto Santalla, PLLC, Washington, DC. Builder: Patrick G. Jones, Inc., Chestertown, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Miles Barnard, South Fork Studio, Chestertown, Maryland.