Whole House Over $500,000

Judge’s Vision Award

Ilex Construction & Woodworking, Easton, Md.

Located on 22.5 acres overlooking the Maryland waterfront, this Georgian home was originally built by a Baltimore captain of industry in 1923 as a private residence. The home served as his base for all the activities associated with the outdoor life on the Chesapeake Bay. Apparently the tide of events changed for the captain and at a chance encounter on the beach in Hawaii, the home and its belongings were sold to a Maryland based entrepreneur.

The homes furnishings were sold at auction in 1942, and the property was donated to a Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church who later added two separate wings off the back of the existing house consisting of a five-story dormitory and three-story chapel. Throughout the years, the building had been sold to various commercial and single family owners until the current owner purchased the property in 2002 with plans to renovate the entire structure for their private residence.

The homeowner wanted to enhance the tone of the original residential Georgian architecture while the local government wanted the majority of the construction to take place on the existing footprint, allowing no encroachment on steep banks or setbacks from the waterline. Demolition started with the first set of approved schematic designs and thus began what was a series of discoveries and design developments.

Ilex Construction & Woodworking’s client is a world traveler and as such the contractor provided regular, detailed reports by Internet and was available at anytime the client’s schedule allowed him to review the work in progress.

In addition, the contractor worked with the owner to incorporate stone, metal and wood which were shipped from overseas. Various design meetings were held for over two years to incorporate all materials and fine-tune every aspect of the house.

No part of the residence went without the homeowner’s touch; as an example, the wine cellar was originally filled with 8 ft. of dirt and was to remain that way. After the homeowner noticed an area of such size not being utilized, the contractor began excavating the dirt and created an intimate space, mixing new with old for the final design.

To honor this outstanding property, this year’s Master Design Award judges have given this Whole House remodel the Judge’s Vision Award.

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