`Silo' built to let light in

Arundel consultant's two-story round house on 9-foot pilings offers grand bay views

October 26, 2007|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Sun

Mary Uyeda is a woman drawn to the light and in love with a view. Two years ago, she took advantage of both.

That's when, after eight years in Seattle, she returned to the Anne Arundel County community of Shady Side where she had a bay-front home. But it was in poor condition. Aside from wear and tear, the house, which had been rented out, suffered significant damage from Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003.

Uyeda knew she couldn't touch a Chesapeake Bay waterfront property of nearly a half-acre for anything close to the $110,000 she'd paid in 1988. So she decided to start over, going high and grand in a glassy round house built atop 9-foot pilings to elevate it above the flood plain. The choice of structure was novel, she thought, letting in lots of light. And the storm-resistant design made sense for the site.

"FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] told me if I were to tear down and build to code, they would help me," she said.

Uyeda contacted Deltec Homes, a North Carolina-based company specializing in unique, energy-efficient circular homes.

"The company sent all of the exterior panels, the walls, joists, beams, floors and pilings," she continued. "I hired a local crew to assemble everything and a consultant for the interior."

Uyeda spent $90,000 for the Deltec pieces in her chosen 37-foot-diameter interior, and an additional $200,000 for finishing interior materials and labor. Construction began in June 2005, and she moved in the next March.

Calling her house a "two-story silo with a capped roof," the structure sits at the end of the street. The exterior, of Hardy Plank concrete fiber siding, is light green with darker green trim. Steps from street level lead to a pressure-treated pine deck in cedar stain that surrounds three-quarters of the house.

Inside, the raised first level is awash in light from windows at every one of its 14 panels, and cool breezes from ceiling fans. The back half of the house faces southeast with a breathtaking view of the bay, its wildlife and sailboats gliding on the water.

The interior flooring chosen by Uyeda is 5-inch planked hickory, its striations from light beige to umber providing texture and interest. The first-floor walls are painted a light sea green and the color of Dijon mustard.

Uyeda's love of folk art is demonstrated everywhere. On the walls, three-dimensional tin works of flowers and children flying colorful kites are the creation of Louisiana artist Pat Juneau.

Covered window seats, wicker easy chairs and a pine dining table with straight-back chairs are the main furnishings on the first floor.

"I got rid of my bulky stuff, the clutter," Uyeda said, while pointing out a few items such as a carved oak side table with marble top that belonged to her mother.

Her kitchen boasts cabinets of the same hickory as the floors with burgundy laminate countertops. A collection of wicker baskets adorns kitchen shelves.

The remaining portion of the first level includes a den, where Uyeda works as a semi-retired consultant in health care research and policy, and a combination laundry room and bathroom.

A winding, hickory staircase to the second level opens onto a great room, its cathedral ceiling formed by the domed roof. A semicircle of eight large windows offers bay views. Colorful creative accessories on this level include handmade quilts on the beds of the master bedroom and guest room and a collection of oil lamps for "when power goes out," Uyeda said. The street side of the top level has a large dressing room and master bath.

The 2,000-square-foot roundhouse is a comfortable retreat for Uyeda and her 5-year-old dog, a mixed chow and shepherd named Rocket. Though Uyeda relishes the solitude of her deck and the dazzling views, regular visits to Baltimore and Washington offer balance.

"The quiet is the best and the worst of it," she said.

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. Find our Dream Home archive at baltimoresun.com/dreamhome.

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