Mixture of styles down by the river Many ideas rolled into 8,500 square feet

Dream Home

December 14, 1997|By Gary Hornbacher | Gary Hornbacher,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It may sound trite to say Vincent "Cap" and Susan Mona's Edgewater house is nestled on a two-acre piece of ground, especially when it is an 8,500-square-foot home with nearly 400 feet of frontage on the South River in Anne Arundel County.

But as one winds down Deepwater Trail and turns onto Deepwater Court, large trees and beautifully landscaped yards only yield tantalizing glimpses of the home in its protected setting.

Indeed, aside from a long dock extending into the river, a waterside view is equally private, revealing a wide band of sea grasses, indigenous plants and towering trees circling a manicured lawn and patio.

It is only as one pulls into the brick-paved, circular driveway that the whole house falls into view. It is a three-level, white-stucco shutterless home, with a black, tile-like roof; a three-car garage to the left of an imposing front entrance; the hint of a patio at one end balanced by an octagonal extension to the right of the entrance; and everywhere, it seems, sparkling glass windows, columns, arches and other architectural details.

Four years after the couple custom-designed and built their home, Cap said, strangers still occasionally knock on their front door, introduce themselves by saying they are planning to have their own home built and hesitantly ask if it might be possible to see the home's interior.

"It still amazes me," said Cap, a self-described entrepreneur and chairman of a family business that includes one of the largest electrical contracting firms in the region. "But I am proud to show it. You know, we almost pulled the plug on the building project after we got started because we were afraid it might be out of character with other homes in the area."

Call it serendipity or whatever, the story behind the building of the Monas' house is almost as fascinating as the home itself. The couple had been living in a large English manor home in Prince George's County and, with all but one of their children grown and out of the home, they felt they wanted a home that would reflect their lessened responsibility and lend itself to entertaining and enjoying time with kids and grandchildren.

"We knew we wanted a home on the water," Cap said, "something light, bright and airy. A place where the grandkids could run around and we could all feel like we were having fun."

Even before the Monas found their property, they had been collecting ideas.

"Files and files of ideas," Cap said. "We visited model homes taking pictures galore, clipped photos from magazines and even incorporated design touches I found in shopping malls. One of the key goals we started with is that we wanted the house to be 75 percent decorated before we ever put the first thing on the walls, meaning niches, columns, setbacks and a lot of architectural detail."

For want of a better term, the Monas describe the architectural style of the home as Floridian, pointing to an eclectic mixture of elements incorporating Italian, Mediterranean and Spanish touches with other design features taken from oceanfront homes.

"If imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery," said Cap, "we flattered the hell out of everybody."

Perhaps, but the result is a home that is very much in harmony with its setting and one that very much mirrors its designers' intent.

Upon entering the spacious, marble-floored foyer, one sees a metal spiraling staircase that leads to the upper level of the home.

To the right is a sun-filled octagonal office from which Cap stays involved in the operation of the several family businesses; to the front left, there is a TV/entertainment room which also acts as a command center for a computerized smart system that remotely controls the home's security system as well as lighting, heating and a sophisticated sound system for the home and grounds.

But it is the backside of the home's interior that commands one's attention.

The south end of the house features a cube-like great room, about 30-by-30-by-35 feet and elevated several steps above the rest of the home's floor. Lavenders, pinks, greens and other pastels provide a soft, open look; a custom-designed carpet holds several furniture groups and a grand piano, and, overhead, a huge suspended light can be adjusted to provide lighting that is pink, blue or a blend.

Two walls feature a variety of architectural detail -- columns, niches, setbacks -- and serve as a backdrop for the display of paintings done by Chris, the Monas' oldest son and an accomplished artist.

The third "wall" is anything but a wall. Rather, it is a series of expansive windows revealing an balcony wrapping around the home's backside and a panoramic view of the South River and the glistening homes on the opposite shore.

The home, notes Cap, boasts more than a hundred windows and thousands of individual panes.

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