Country Contentment

March 15, 1992

The name belies the mood. Fanciful and romantic, Mount Misery offers its owners an abiding sense of history, and a marvelous integration of indoor and outdoor living.

Built in 1805 as the manor for a large waterfront farm, and named Mount Misery after an extinct volcano on St. Kitts island, the house today commands four immaculate acres overlooking Rolles Creek near St. Michaels. The owners are Thomas A. Stohlman, an architect, and his wife, Joanne Lawson, who works for a landscape architecture firm. Since purchasing the place in 1986, they have capitalized on their mutual affection for fantasy and the pleasures of the country life.

They first divided the land into four individual spaces, each with its own purpose: a pool area, a cut-flower area, a modest athletic field that terminates in a little fruit orchard, and an area for shrub roses and antique roses. All interconnect and relate to the house through an immaculate gravel walk bordered by bricks. Each area is visually enclosed by contemporary versions of small structures made to recall traditional Eastern Shore utility buildings. The structures' columns are cleverly and inexpensively constructed of PVC sewer pipe, sometimes topped with open cedar trelliswork in the shape of a roof, and planted with wisteria or trumpet vines.

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