Home & Design

Sofas from Hickory Chair and a Stark rug create a cozy spot near a fireplace adorned by a thick mahogany-slab mantel. A wall of windows overlooks Caulk’s Cove.

The façade conveys a barn-like aesthetic, from a silo at one end to slatted barn doors that slide across the steel window system at the front entrance; the screened porch is on the right. Dobson Lawn & Landscape enhanced the grounds.

The silo houses the minimalist rift-cut-oak-and-steel spiral staircase, fabricated by The Iron Shop in Pennsylvania.

The kitchen combines Richwood cabinetry, Silestone countertops and a stone-look, porcelain-tile backsplash. Oak beams, a hammered-copper Native Trails farmhouse sink and a mahogany-and-steel island sound a rustic note.

The top of the fireplace wall anchors the loft, where steel trusses designed by Dayton make a strong architectural statement. Capacious chairs that pull out for sleeping guests share space with red-leather chairs from Dennis & Leen.

The spiral stair is illuminated by a sleek, modern SkLO Studio chandelier made with hand-blown, smoky-glass spheres.

A massive fireplace anchors the great room; the loft is visible behind it. Despite soaring ceilings, designer Sherrie Petermann kept the space intimate with Kravet sheers and a rustic Formations chandelier.

Party Pad

A design team conceives a rustic-modern hub for entertaining on Caulk’s Cove near St. Michaels, Maryland

Linda Higgins had big ideas when she purchased a 12.5-acre parcel on secluded Caulk’s Cove, an inlet off Broad Creek near St. Michaels. She and her late husband built a sprawling residence and a guest house, then purchased the adjacent 13-acre parcel to protect their privacy. But what to do with the scenic new swath of land?

The answer came after some years of orchestrating family gatherings and fundraising events at home. “I decided to build a large gathering space where I could host 35 to 40 people without needing extra tables or tents, where our extended family could stay when they visit,” Higgins says. To realize her ideal, she turned to the trusted team with whom she had collaborated on her previous projects: architect Christine Dayton and interior designer Sherrie Petermann. Builder Jay Chance also joined the mix.

From the get-go, Higgins, a business consultant, knew what she wanted. She envisioned a year-round space that would convey the feeling “of being outside even though you’re inside,” she explains. “I didn’t want to lose the concept of being in a beautiful, open setting and seeing the water.”

Her vision extended to form as well as function. “Linda wanted a structure that would be reminiscent of a barn,” Dayton recounts. “She requested that it sit up on a knoll as barns often do, so we sited it on the highest part of the property with a view down to the creek.” The plan created an open line of sight from the front door—incorporated into a storefront window system by Solar Innovations—to the back of the house, where a corresponding window system reveals the cove beyond.

In keeping with the barn theme, a two-story silo dominates one end of the structure. Its construction required some finessing. “The silo cap was so heavy it had to be constructed on the ground and then craned into place,” recalls Dayton. Clad in hardy NuCedar PVC shingles and board-and-batten siding to match the main house, the barn is topped with a standing-seam metal roof. Slatted barn doors slide across the window walls to control the light and protect against heat and bad weather. A bluestone patio runs the length of the water-facing side; it offers room to congregate and a built-in outdoor kitchen complete with a sink, grill and wood-burning pizza oven. A screened porch, also facing the water, is a quiet spot for contemplation.

Visitors to the 2,800-square-foot party barn, as it was soon christened, enter an airy, open space with a 26-foot-tall vaulted ceiling and a spacious loft. Working with a structural engineer, Dayton conceived a series of black-painted steel trusses that support the massive roof and—paired with an oak-paneled ceiling—lend rustic beauty to the room.

An open kitchen at one end of the main level is delineated by a beamed, single-story ceiling. Opposite, a giant wood-burning fireplace clad in limestone-look porcelain tile is almost big enough to walk into. Flanking the fireplace, oak barn doors slide back to access a bedroom suite on one side and a bathroom and home office on the other. A short hall leads to the silo, which contains an architectural highlight of the project: a sleek spiral stair up to the loft that marries oak treads, a steel frame and a gracefully curved oak banister.

When it came time to furnish the interiors, Higgins opted to repurpose pieces from a previous abode. Fortunately, designer Sherrie Petermann had selected those furnishings—upholstered seating in luxe, classic style—so she and her client were on the same page.

“When you get someone who knows your taste, it’s easy to work together,” Higgins comments.

Still, “it was a challenge to bridge the gap between rustic and sophisticated,” Petermann observes. In front of the fireplace, she juxtaposed plush sofas and an elegant carpet with a coffee table that sports a teak-root base and vintage ladders that double as display shelves to create a collected aesthetic that “feels authentic,” she notes.

“I tried to make the kitchen barn-like yet beautifully appointed,” says the designer, who selected a stone-look, porcelain-tile backsplash and a copper farmhouse sink. A 14-foot-long island dominates the space; it’s made of galvanized-steel piping and mahogany slabs and was designed by Petermann and Higgins, then fabricated by Jay Chance.

Throughout the building, small, custom details abound. Pounded-metal strips border the fireplace, handcrafted by E.R. Harvey Metalworking, which also crafted the giant fire screen and metal supports that adorn the mahogany-slab mantel. The generous dining table, fabricated by Chance, unites a leathered-granite top with a trestle base that mimics the ceiling trusses. White oak surfaces—from floors to barn doors to ceiling panels—are finished with a vinegar wash devised by Chance to impart an aged look.

Sadly, after the work was completed, Linda Higgins’s then-husband passed away. She has since remarried and, following a sleek commercial renovation masterminded by Dayton, she and her current husband, Glenn, opened the Chesapeake Seafood Market in St. Michaels. When they’re not working, the couple enjoys time off hunting, gardening—and, of course, gathering with family in the party barn.

Architecture: Christine M. Dayton, AIA; Joshua Startt, project manager, Christine M. Dayton Architect, P.A., Easton, Maryland. Interior Design: Sherrie Petermann, Allied Member ASID, Petermann Designs LLC, Vero Beach, Florida. Builder: Jay Chance, Chance And Associates, Inc., Easton, Maryland. Landscape Design: Dobson Lawn & Landscape, Inc., St. Michaels, Maryland.



Steel Beam Fabrication: anchor-enterprises.com. Fireplace Metalwork: Custom through erharvey.com. Fireplace Tile: Ronnie’s Tile; 410-714-1501. Wood Mantel: Custom through chanceandassociates.com. Fireplace Masonry: Tri County Masonry; 410-819-8615. Flooring: harveymillwork.com. Barn Doors: Custom through chanceandassociates.com; erharvey.com. Stair: theironshop.com. Stair Fabrication: chanceandassociates.com. Cable Railings: feeneyinc.com. Windows: solarinnovations.com; marvin.com through twperry.com.

Roofing: metfabint.com through annapolisexteriors.com. Stone Foundation: Tri County Masonry; 410-819-8615; semcostone.com.

Light Fixture: sklo.com. Drapery: kravet.com. Ladders by Fireplace: petermanndesigns.com. Sofas, Side Tables, Armchairs, Side Chairs & Dining Chairs: hickorychair.com. Sofa Fabric: osborneandlittle.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Coffee Table: petermanndesigns.com. Lamps on Dining Table: janbarboglio.com. Chandelier: formationsusa.com. Dining Table: Custom through chanceandassociates.com; petermanndesigns.com.

Sink: nativetrailshome.com. Chandelier: formationsusa.com. Cabinetry: Custom through Richwood Limited; 443-205-5297. Kitchen Island Design: petermanndesigns.com. Beams & Kitchen Island Fabrication: Custom through chanceandassociates.com.

Rug: michaelian.com. Red Leather Chairs: dennisandleen.com. Red Leather Chair Fabric: Lee Jofa through kravet.com. Side Table, Ottoman & Fabric, Gray Chairs & Console beneath TV: hickorychair.com. Trusses: Designed by Jeremy Walbert; fabricated by anchor-enterprises.com.

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