Before 1998, John and Bobbin Kreider lived for 16 years in Howard County in a saltbox-style home known to their neighbors in Dayton as the "Red House." Bobbin Kreider was happy with their 17 acres, where she was able to keep three horses.
That was before she saw an advertisement in an equerry newsletter on the attributes of a 27-acre horse farm with barn, stalls, outbuildings and a two-story farmhouse, circa 1880. And it was only nine miles from the "Red House." After looking at the property in Sykesville, she was thrilled, but her husband was less so.
"I loved the property but hated the house," said John Kreider, 58, recalling the tiny, chopped-up rooms. "It was a mish-mosh re-done multiple times. I agreed to buy it only on the condition we add one large room."
They paid $720,000 for the whole package, noting that the farmhouse and outbuildings weren't really that bad. But that's not to say there wasn't work to be done. Over the years, the Kreiders have re-roofed six run-in sheds, set 10,050-feet of fencing, repaired the horses' stall barns, updated the property's pool and tennis court, replaced all windows and doors in the original house, replaced the house's standing seam metal roof and installed an outdoor riding arena.
The couple, who both grew up on farms in Pennsylvania, one in Lancaster County and the other in Bucks County, sought help from architect Roy Griffith of Jane Rode Associates, who provided them with five different options for additions to the farmhouse. What had begun as a one-room plan soon morphed into a complete renovation of the farmhouse as well as a two-story addition that included a great room, large kitchen, basement and two upstairs bedrooms.
"We had a budget to work with, and expenses were more than we expected, [but] we realized that we had one shot at doing it right," said John Kreider, a senior vice president of advance technology at Oceaneering International.
And so the couple moved into the apartment over their barn — a cozy space which they now rent out — while contractor Ken Mauck and designer Roselind Cronin proceeded on the task at hand.
Cronin, they said, "figured out our taste right away," including their desire "to bring the outside in." Cronin's design on the long, open rectangular kitchen created a space that would draw people into the room, instead of making them feel that they were walking down a bowling alley.
Meanwhile, Mauck was meticulous with the details, including duplicating the oldest molding in the farmhouse and working it into the renovation, as well as the new addition, to create 220 bulls-eye medallions on windows and doors.
"Ken [Mauck] and five men became our good friends," said Bobbin Kreider, 57, who runs the farm. "You got the feeling that they were doing [this work] on their own home."
The addition, together with the farmhouse, created a total of 4,000 square feet of living space.
Earth-tone colored paints, such as soft taupe on the great room walls, enhance the stone of the fireplace, the tan leather sofa and chair and the walnut dining room table and bench. Curtain-less windows throughout the farmhouse add to the minimalist effect the Kreiders desired, while helping to bring the outside inside with incredible views for every season.
Bead board in the farmhouse's dining room has been kept intact to set the stage for a colonial dining room suite purchased at Ethan Allen.
Upstairs bathrooms utilizing materials such as granite, ceramic and marble enforce the use of nature's resources.
"The lighting, design, and materials reflect our love of nature and our love of simplicity in a simple, clean design," said Bobbin Kreider. "The result is a peaceful sanctuary for us, [and] brings the outdoors inside."
The renovation and addition were so successful that the couple haven't had any second thoughts about leaving the "Red House."
"I can't think of anything that we wish we would have done differently," John Kreider said.
Making the dream
Dream element: The Kreiders' 4,000-square-foot farmhouse comprises the original structure, dating to 1880, which has been completely restored, and a new, two-story addition designed with many architectural elements of the original. The house sits on 27 acres, complete with barn, stable with six stalls and other outbuildings.
Design inspiration: For the interior decor, the couple worked closely with Roselind Cronin of Sulin Interiors to achieve a minimalist design by focusing on natural materials such as a variety of woods and stone, ceramic tile and leather furniture.
Surprise touch: In the original part of the home, a hallway opens on to the library, where a huge stone fireplace sits against the hallway wall. The Kreiders extended the stonework on the hall side of the wall to give the impression of a massive chimney.