Living the nautical life

Dream Home

A shared passion for the sea is reflected throughout couple's home in Crownsville

Real Estate

November 03, 2006|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Sun

Michelle Jones, a 43-year-old shock trauma nurse in Baltimore, grew up spending her summers on the rugged coast of Maine. Her husband, 50-year-old Derek Jones, is Welsh, and proudly served in the Royal Navy. Their common denominator is the sea, which translates into a shared passion for anything nautical.

Their Crownsville neighborhood is called Arden on the Severn, an established area that began as a summer beach cottage community. And their home, which they refer to as a modified rancher (with more than 2,500 square feet, four bedrooms and 2.5 baths) started life years ago as a three-room seasonal getaway.

"I knew within the first 15 seconds that this was it, that the house had character," said Derek Jones, recalling the time he and his wife first saw the property over two years ago.

"The house needed to be loved," his wife added.

The couple paid $389,000 in September 2004 for the home, which sits on one-third of a wooded acre shaded by 100-year-old trees. The Severn River winds north and west of the property, with a public boat launch just a block away.

"We paid for a waterfront community," Michelle Jones noted. Large inboard and outboard powerboats sit in driveways along their street, including their own.

While immediately livable, the house needed work. The Jones spent approximately $40,000 on upgrades that included refinishing the wood floors, installing a wood stove in one of the home's three fireplaces, refurbishing a downstairs family room, building decks on two sides of the house, and replacing front windows.

It is in one of these windows that a small light can be seen glowing. This is symbolic, Michelle Jones says, of the welcoming lighthouses that guide ships to port. The glow is also a hint of what lies beyond the front door of this telescoping house with a green asphalt roof.

The rugged, solid appearance of a high, vaulted ceiling in the living room is tempered by soft, butter-cream painted walls, blue and white draperies, and brown leather furniture. Stamps of the nautical life are visible everywhere.

Tapestries of rocky coastlines share wall space with a clock inside a ship's wheel. A framed picture of a fictional harbor town in winter hangs over a marble fireplace with a wood mantel. A leather easy chair alongside the hearth completes a vignette that dominates the entire east wall of the living room. Table lamps boast wooden lighthouse bases.

In the dining room, a light fixture that hangs over a cherry table bears six shades of woven sea grass.

The kitchen conveys a beach cottage feel with 42-inch white wood cabinets, white tile backsplashes and an oak center island. Lighthouses printed on caf? valances coordinate with a 5-inch border of lighthouses around the kitchen's periphery. A large stained-glass panel of a lighthouse along a shore hangs in an opening that looks onto the staircase to the lower level.

"We bought the piece before we even saw this house," Michelle Jones commented of the panel's perfect fit. "It just shows that we were meant to be here."

On the landing to the lower level sits an upright rowboat hull that's been fitted with shelves. On display is Derek Jones' collection of curios called "Old Salts." The life-like figurines depict people going about daily chores, such as shucking oysters.

The lower level, or what is referred to as the "telly" room, is comfortably furnished with an overstuffed furniture suite of micro-fiber. A large model ship sits on the mantel of a brick fireplace. Here, as in the rest of the house, a comfortable ambience is achieved through the presence of nautical accessories and keepsakes.

"It's not fancy," Michelle Jones said in summing up the place she and her husband call home. "But it reflects the things we love."

Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Write to Dream Home, Real Estate Editor, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or e-mail us at real.estate@baltsun.com.

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