Architect Dave Riegel conceptualized a design in the tradition of a grand European estate for this Severna Park home.
The estate evokes both classic and elegant design.
The great room features an 18th-century carved-limestone fireplace and two-story windows.
The custom kitchen has two large islands, two stoves, and handcrafted cabinetry.
The pier at the estate's 900-foot waterfront.
After securing a sweeping 20-acre plot of waterfront property five minutes north of Annapolis, a jet-setting businessman moving from California back to his native Maryland gave architect Dave Riegel a few basic specifications for his future home, beginning with its grand size—about 12,000 square feet. But when it came down to specifics, the homeowner left many of the decisions to Riegel. “We went over the criteria, and in the middle of the meeting, the owner said, ‘I’ve got to catch a plane,’” recalls Riegel, owner of Riegel Design Studio in Severna Park. “He walked out the door, turned, and said, ‘I really like a French country style—and make it brick.’”
For days the architect sketched, envisioning a main house with pitched roofs and flared eaves, including Gothic elements such as 20-foot-tall cathedral windows. When presented with the completed plans, the businessman liked what he saw, but announced a last-minute change: “He was really into world-class yachting, and he’d just bought a boat,” explains Riegel. “To service that boat, he needed a wood shop, which meant a new wing on the house.” The 12,000-square-foot plan eventually grew almost another 10,000 square feet, and was completed after a three-and-a-half-year building phase in 2002.
Today, the expansive residence features a wine cellar made with beams from a 200-year-old church in Pennsylvania, as well as a billiards room, screening room, pool with a three-bedroom pool house, and boat dock stationed on 900 feet of the picturesque Severn River. But the six-bedroom estate evokes classic (and comfortable) elegance more than stuffy pretense or ostentatious flash. On the market for $19.5 million, its rooms feature cozy floor plans and occasional soaring ceilings—the walls in the main home’s first-floor living room rise to more than 22 feet. The warm décor is tied together with handcrafted moldings and rich walnut floors throughout.
“I like an eclectic look [when it comes to] fabric and furniture choices: florals and stripes, cutesy fabrics and ornate brocades,” says the estate’s co-owner, who is proud of her home but eschews the spotlight. “There’s something very comforting about a room that looks like it’s been put together over time.”
Working with interior designer Arlene Critzos, founder and president of Interior Concepts in Annapolis, the owners created a tasteful pastiche by combining old and new, across a range of influences. “In every area,” says Critzos, “we started with a unique piece: an 18th-century wall of wood in the music room; an early-1900s children’s billiard table used for cocktails in the library; an AGA stove in the kitchen; a Brazilian table in the breakfast room.”
With its French carved-limestone fireplace, dramatic two-story windows (“taking you from the front door right out to the water,” says Critzos), and bergère chairs, the great room is the showstopper. “When you want to entertain in a fancy way, the house can really be dressed up and sparkle,” the homeowner says, adding that her typical days there are spent pursuing gardening and quilting.
Her sophisticated sewing studio is located in a space called the Carriage House, just above her husband’s workshop. It’s “the crème de la crème” of quilting rooms, explains decorator Critzos. “Every wall that is not a window is built-in with stacks of fabrics arranged by era”—’40s vintage, ’50s retro—stacked in bundles that she gathers from quilting shows. “There are work tables, machines, spools of thread in cabinetry, a sitting area with a television…. It’s pretty grand.”
This homey-deluxe theme runs throughout the residence, and throughout the lives of its owners. “After we have dinner, my husband and I like to snuggle up in the library, the smallest room in the house, and watch TV,” says the homeowner, who welcomes extended family to stay in the couple’s two guest suites in the main home. The peaceful setting and view of the river are also a draw. “Sometimes you look out there and [it glimmers] like diamonds,” she says of the water. “It’s just so… beautiful.”
photography by alan gilbert (exterior); sean shanahan (dock)
January 31, 2019