Cathy Purple Cherry honors family time and striking views in a stylish Annapolis retreat on the South River
Looking out at a mesmerizing stretch of Maryland’s South River, it’s easy to imagine halcyon days spent in quiet contemplation. David and Margaret Condit had more social pursuits in mind, however, when they purchased the property in 2015 with the intent to build there. Their recently completed getaway near the Chesapeake Bay grew out of a desire for a gathering place. It often teems with activity, as the couple’s adult children and young grandkids congregate. “I’m a nester,” reveals Margaret. “I like to have our family there with us.”
When David hung up his hat as a DC corporate attorney years ago, the couple downsized to a condo in Florida, where they still happily reside. Yet they yearned for a spacious second home in a waterfront setting that would cosset their whole clan on holidays and summer breaks. With friends and relatives in the greater Washington area, they agreed on Annapolis and snapped up the scenic, two-and-a-half-acre swath. The red-brick house it came with was ultimately deconstructed and its materials donated to the Baltimore non-profit Second Chance.
The Condits had gathered inspiration for the new roost on trips to New England over the years. “We like the homes on Nantucket,” says Margaret. “So we knew that we wanted a Nantucket-style house from the beginning.” They asked architect Cathy Purple Cherry to channel their aesthetic vision and to devise a plan that would comfortably accommodate owners and visitors alike.
“We developed what I would call a classic Shingle-style, gambrel home,” states Purple Cherry. “It utilizes the hand-split wood-shake roof, cedar-style shingles on the walls and stone at the base. It’s classically Nantucket.”
Bespoke details—from curved balconies and bays to transoms with diamond-patterned grilles rather than standard rectangular grids—elevate that island’s coastal-cottage vernacular. “Those elements contribute to the beauty and sophistication,” notes Purple Cherry. “They help to refine the home.” Later in the project, she similarly polished the interiors by installing extensive millwork throughout, with ceiling treatments being the most dramatic examples.
“The molding,” David asserts, “is one of the house’s most distinctive features.”In terms of space programming, the Condits took the long view. They prioritized a ground-level owners’ suite and six bedrooms upstairs for frequent guests.
As Purple Cherry explains, they sought “an aging-in-place home in which they could live on the first floor but, at the same time, one that would support their three grown children and the spouses and grandchildren to come.”
At the heart of the plan lies an L-shaped entertainment space, flanked by the owners’ suite to the left and a bar area to the right. “The kitchen is tucked around the corner in the L yet still open to the great room,” the architect points out. A wall of windows and doors across the back showcases the South River panorama. Soirees often spill out onto a screened porch spanning the width of the living and dining areas. “Obviously I’m a big proponent of views and natural sunlight,” asserts Purple Cherry. “And of indoor-outdoor living.”
Starting at the threshold, the owners wanted to pay homage to their waterfront locale. “They were in full support of moving the stairwell off to the side, which allowed for that great nautical feeling in the front entry hall, with the barrel-vaulted ceiling,” recounts the architect. “You can see all the way through the home to the water. That view-through was so important.” The hall opens to a cozy den on one side and the kitchen on the other.
Margaret took cues from the setting as she determined a color palette. Watery blues run through most spaces—the upstairs bunkroom and grandkids’ bedrooms being vibrant exceptions. “I didn’t want a lot of color everywhere,” she explains. “I wanted the interior to fade to the outside.”
When it came time to select finishes and furniture, she took advantage of Purple Cherry Architects’ interior-design service. During a close collaboration, Cathy Purple Cherry and Margaret even trekked through North Carolina showrooms to find the perfect casually elegant pieces. “The layering of millwork, furnishings, fabric, artwork and accessories is the difference between the shell of a house and a home,” posits Purple Cherry.
“Just about anywhere, really, you can sit and watch the view.” —MARGARET CONDIT
A water-facing outdoor oasis, conjured by Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, adds to the home’s allure—and the family’s fun. A travertine terrace boasts a pool and fire pit, as well as areas for lounging, grilling and dining. The landscape plan balances the architecture’s New England genesis and its Chesapeake environs by combining classic plants, such as boxwood and hydrangea, with ornamental grasses and native Maryland perennials. “The goal was to make it feel like a Nantucket garden but without the heavy maintenance,” reveals principal Kevin Campion. “There’s a blending of formality with coastal living.”
Though relatives flow in and out, the Condits steal unhurried moments to take in the tranquil scenery. When asked to name the best vantage point, each reels off several contenders, encompassing indoors and out. “Just about anywhere, really, you can sit and watch the view,” concludes Margaret. “It’s particularly beautiful when a sailboat goes by or the sun is setting.”
Realizing their 7,300-square-foot gathering-place dream did not come without challenges. The picturesque property borders the site of a 17th-century trading post. Given that history, Anne Arundel County ordered an archeological dig before greenlighting construction. In the end, though, the couple’s patience paid off. “It was a labor of love,” says David. “It takes a lot to build a house like this. We’re happy to be enjoying it now.”
Architecture & Interior Design: Cathy Purple Cherry, AIA, LEED AP, principal, Purple Cherry Architects, Annapolis, Maryland. Builder: GYC Group, Westminster, Maryland. Landscape Design: Kevin Campion, ASLA, principal; Lindsey Tabor, project manager, Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, Annapolis, Maryland.
Landscape Contractor: exteriorimage.com. Lighting / Irrigation: terranovadesign.net. Pool: jpools.com. Pier & Revetment: andersonmarine.com. Arbor: walpoleoutdoors.com. Nursery: babikow.com.
Windows: jeld-wen.com through archwin.com.. Window Treatments & Upholstery: sewbeautifulwindows.com.
Paint Color: White Dove through benjaminmoore.com. Chandelier: visualcomfortlightinglights.com. Flooring & Floor Medallion: elitehardwoodflooring.com.
Furniture: kingsleybate.com. Outdoor Lights: primolanterns.com.
Chandelier, Sconces & Side Table Lamps: visualcomfortlightinglights.com. Sofas & Coffee Table: highlandhousefurniture.com. Sofa Fabric: centuryfurniture.com. Rectangular Ottomans: crlaine.com. Round Ottoman & Fabric: bradington-young.com. Rectangular Ottoman Fabric: Kravet.com. Side Tables & Blue Chairs: vanguardfurniture.com. Four Center Chairs & Fabric: bakerfurniture.com. Wall Paint Color: White Dove through benjaminmoore.com. Ceiling Paint: Silvery Moon through benjaminmoore.com.
Cabinetry & Stained Maple Countertop: lyndonheathcabinetry.com. Caribbean Mist Marble Countertop: gramaco.com. Lanterns: visualcomfortlightinglights.com. Backsplash Tile: chesapeaketileandmarble.com. Dacor Cooktop: adu.com. Faucets: brizo.com through fergusonshowrooms.com.
Pillow & Cushion Fabrics: perennialsfabrics.com; thibautdesign.com; victoria-larson.com.
All Furniture & Fabric: kingsleybate.com.
Bed & Chaise: bernhardt.com. Bedding: legacylinens.com. Night Table: kingsleybate.com. Table Lamp: visualcomfortlightinglights.com. Wall Covering: thibautdesign.com. Paint: Topsail through Sherwin-williams.com. Rug: bostancarpets.com. Chaise Fabric: vanguardfurniture.com. Side Table: dovetailfurnitureonline.com. Drapery Fabric: thibautdesign.com/af.
Polished Carrara Marble Flooring: chesapeaketileandmarble.com. Tub: vandabaths.com. Tub & Faucet Source: fergusonshowrooms.com. Cabinetry: lyndonheathcabinetry.com. Carrara Marble Countertop: gramaco.com. Sconces: johnrichard.com. Faucets: grohe.us. Paint Color: Rarified Air through Sherwin-williams.com. Shutters: sewbeautifulwindows.com.
Headboard & Footboard Fabric: Kravet.com. Bedding: legacylinens.com. Night Table: Owners’ collection. Lamp: reginaandrew.com. Drapery Fabrication: greenhousefabrics.com. Chandelier: visualcomfortlightinglights.com. Rug: maslandcarpets.com. Paint Color: Silver Mist benjaminmoore.com.
Bedding: potterybarn.com. Pillows: etsy.com; ballarddesigns.com; easternaccents.com. Paint: White Dove through benjaminmoore.com. Rug: helioscarpet.com. Light Fixture: shadesoflight.com.