N.B. I know this is two snarky posts in a row, but don’t worry, I am not going to make a habit of it!
A few years ago, I was down in Southern Maryland visiting a friend and came across a complete and total monstrosity of a house. The locals told me that the owner of the property had to search long and hard for an architect who would execute their dream house. I wrote about the house here and here.You should take a moment to read the comments.
Earlier this week, I noticed a lot of visits to my blog from Buzzy’s Country Store, located in Scotland, Maryland, just a mile or so from this house. Buzzy and the other locals refer to this property as the “Redneck Taj Mahal” and have been quite critical of it, because it doesn’t fit into either the landscape or the locality. It’s just plunked down in the middle of a field. It is so far out of scale from every other house near it, that it’s been an object of derision for the past five years.
a few so many features about this house that don’t make any sense to me. One is the arches under the loggia that look like they’re made from cinderblock. That space looks rather cave-like and I imagine the rooms that lead out to the terrace are pretty dark. Another feature is the random placing of darker stone as an accent and the quoining, which appears to be a bit excessive.
I am not an architect, but I think that the past five years on the board of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation, and now the AIA, have had some influence on my architectural knowledge. So when I saw this, I nearly choked.The columns are a little formal for a horse barn, and are missing their plinths and bases which makes them look unstable. When you look at the columns supporting the roof on the house, they are missing both their bases and their capitals. A simple Doric capital would have gone a long way in balancing these and making them more elegant. For a good explanation of the classical orders of columns and why they work, click here. From the aerial photographs and from this and the other images, it’s hard to tell whether there’s a driveway in the front of the house, so the loggia looks like it just leads to a lawn, which makes no sense.
As you enter through the front door, you arrive in a huge center hallway. Although I am not quite sure what the style of the house is, the windows don’t work. Are those candles in each window? I hope not!The windows are not divided lights, rather the muntins are snap-on or in between two panes of glass. You can see the the windows better in this image. (And it does look like there are candles in each window.) There are no window sills on the exterior of the house, which makes it seem very flat, with nothing to break up the plane.I would rather see sets of French doors than this combination of doors and windows.Funnily enough, for a house on the water, none of the windows look like they can open. I couldn’t live in a house where the windows didn’t open.
Back to the interior - it turns out that the front hall isn’t really a hall, it is actually all open plan, with the hall, living and dining rooms merging into one huge space. The house isn’t actually that big – it’s less than 6,000 square feet on four levels, with four bedrooms and five baths. The height of the ceilings and the marble floors make the room seem very cold. There’s no architectural detailing around either the ceilings or the floors which makes it look unfinished. And the tall ceilings dwarf most furniture.
Of course, there’s a huge “designer” kitchen, but I can’t say I am a fan of the combination faux candle/light fixture/pot hanger that they’re using. It looks like you’d need a ladder to get the pots and pans down, so maybe they’re just for décor (gag). The ceiling is just too high for the cabinets. I think it would look a lot better if they were a) either all the same colour, or b) the same height.Additionally, I can’t quite figure out where the kitchen is, unless it’s on the one side of the house you can’t see in the pictures. In the UK, real estate listings are required to have the floor-plan of the house included. I wish this one had it!All of the windows you can see are the ceiling-height rectangular ones, while the one over the sink is arched.
Since it’s a “designer” kitchen, it must have the requisite name-brand range… Check. And black granite, too! But how would you ever get anything out of the cabinets above the stove with out a ladder? And anything you drop on the stone floor is going to SHATTER into a million pieces.
Rather uninspired staircase for such an imposing house. And what’s with the niche three-quarters of the way up the wall? And why doesn’t the hand-rail go all the way to the bottom of the stairs? So many questions!
For more information on the house, please click here. It’s filled with enough real-estate fluff to stuff an army of decorator pillows, including this totally false and nonsensical statement:
The antebellum-style plantation mansion, only four years old but with period architecture, recreates the kind of manor halls that existed on the early great estates of colonial Maryland, until they were mostly destroyed during the English Civil War, in which Maryland alone of all the American colonies participated, and subsequent troubled times that culminated in the last witchcraft trials, that disenfranchised many of the original land masters.
I won’t bother dissecting this for you, but suffice to say, the estate agent is mashing together periods covering 200+ years and there was only one small battle of the English Civil War and that took place 100 miles away.