A Wye River masterpiece that through one man’s vision became a reality
The owners of this 7,500-square-foot, four-bedroom home on the Wye River dreamed for years of a casually elegant home that drew the beauty of nature inside. Styled after Georgian center hall colonials, the waterfront home is a blend of colonial inspiration combined with modern innovations.
“Because this was our first custom home, we wanted to see our dreams fulfilled and be fully engaged in the process,” the owners said in a statement.
Selecting an architect and builder
Annapolis architect Chip Bohl has been designing homes since 1976. The owners of this property were introduced to Bohl through friends and immediately knew he was someone they could trust.
“We found Chip to be versatile and talented. When you give Chip an idea, he runs with it and it turns out spectacular,” according to the owners.
The owners met with Bohl several times in the two months during planning, and once visited their home to see how their surroundings suited them.
During their search for home sites, the owners found the site where their current home now sits. They had challenges with the then-existing home, which was built in the 1970s. Bohl attended the home inspection and explained that the home was outdated and not properly oriented to take full advantage of the view. The owners agreed to demolish the existing home and build a new home that would achieve their vision.
Chip compiled a list of five top area custom home builders who could best bring his plans to life. Hiring a builder who connects with the client and also works seamlessly with the architect is essential. Chip sent his plans to these builders and requested bids, which he reviewed with the homeowners. The clients then met with the top three contenders and selected Brad Lundberg of Lundberg Builders because they felt comfortable with Lundberg and his project supervisor, Keith Germershausen.
In his 40 years in business, Lundberg has developed a reputation for clean job sites, respectful workers and attention to detail, qualities that were essential to the owners. They were also impressed by Lundberg’s connection to many quality subcontractors, which set him apart from some competitors who had lost a number of subcontractors after the economic recession in 2008.
“Choices in materials have grown exponentially,” according to the owners. “Your job is to integrate your personality into the process, make timely decisions, listen, and be direct about what you want.”
Owner involvement is an important part of the homebuilding process, and they relied on Lundberg’s clear communication from the very beginning of the project. To accommodate the owners’ busy work schedules, Lundberg installed a camera on an 8-foot post to film construction so the owners could watch their home being built. Lundberg and Germershausen hosted weekly progress meetings with the owners, using video calls when the owners were unavailable to meet in person.
Considering the environment
The owners are concerned about being good stewards of the environment.
“Living on the water, every day is a lesson in conservation. You are naturally inspired to preserve,” they said.
The owners selected a geothermal heat pump with a natural gas heat backup, as well as some other technology, but did not fully outfit the home with everything available in anticipation of what will soon be on the market.
“Because we are on the cusp of a new technology platform, we didn’t want to get stuck using what could soon be obsolete,” according to the owners. “We are pre-wired for solar and sound advances and will be ready when the timing is right.”
Lundberg suggested donating materials from the existing home, and the home was dismantled board-by-board and donated to the Loading Dock. Started in 1984 in Baltimore, the Loading Dock is a nonprofit building materials recycling center that annually saves more than 12,000 truckloads of surplus building materials from landfills, and only accepts building materials in usable condition. People who donate materials receive a tax deduction.
Some of the owners’ favorite features of the home are what make it unique.
A basement is an unusual feature for a waterfront home, but the poured concrete prevents major leaks. The home is insulated with foam, which offers additional support in the walls and also helps control the temperature indoors. The lift-and-slide glass doors open up the screen porches into expanded interior living space. This feature allows the owners to create an open flow for entertaining, but also allows for more intimate conversation nooks.
Guests can take advantage of the breezes and views from four screened porches. The entry courtyard provides both a historically styled entry as well as an outdoor entertaining space sheltered from the wind.
Lundberg Builders’ sister company, 314 Kitchen Design Studio, honored the owners’ vision for family gatherings and formal entertaining by designing a kitchen with custom-built cabinetry, a spacious butler’s pantry, a second dishwasher in the kitchen and a kitchenette adjoining the media room in the basement.
Building a dream
The owners of this property offer tips for others who are hoping to build their own home.
“First, you want someone who cares as much for the product as you do,” they wrote. “Second, no process is perfect. You want someone who will take responsibility when things go wrong and solve the problem. Third, the more of your personality you involve in the building of your home, the more satisfied you will be. (We know of someone who collected artwork for years in a barn, and had the home built around these pieces.)”
So, as you consider the possibilities your future holds, let your imagination take wing. Start a notebook or binder to capture your thoughts and desires for your dream home. Include articles and photographs from home and design magazines. And then begin assembling your own dream team to turn your aspirations into reality.