March-April 2013 | INSPIRED DESIGN




Salisbury’s Becker Morgan Group pulled out all the stops to create a South Point masterpiece worthy of national acclaim

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: Cheryl Nemazie

It’s pretty gratifying just to be able to imagine the possibilities, so how great must it be to actually realize them? Well, there’s one lucky South Point family who know the answer thanks to the Becker Morgan Group, which created a bayside Shangri-La that won two national awards and may be without rival on the Lower Eastern Shore.

That family — from just outside Philadelphia — had originally contemplated renovating the home that had been there when they acquired the property. But when Becker Morgan’s Jason Pearce surveyed the situation, he explained that renovating the home wouldn’t be that much less expensive than building a structure from an original design. That’s when the client saw the handwriting on what would become his brand-new walls. Not that the project would be easy. In fact, the breathtaking result could be fairly described as a combination of sweat, ingenuity and good fortune.

“This wasn’t really a buildable lot,” said Pearce, the Becker Morgan architect who’d spearheaded the ambitious project, “because of its location in the critical area and protected wetlands, which would have necessarily pushed the footprint of the home way back to South Point Road had it not been for the expansive concrete table laid over the lot by the previous owner. That’s really what made this possible.”

Because concrete is considered an “impervious substance,” Pearce was allowed to design the new house right on the footprint of the previous one, which is about as close to the bay as you can be without having to wear a snorkel to mow your lawn. But proximity like that comes at a price. 

A structure set in within the coastal high-hazard flood zone, like this one, required that it be at least one story above the existing grade. So, Pearce set a series of tapered stone piers to function as the home’s foundational support, followed by beautiful and earthy cedar shingles on the roof and walls, with all-weather Azek trim, HB&G PermaCast columns and PermaPorch railings. Elaborate latticework and trim from Azek deployed at ground level not only permits safe water flow but also offers discreet concealment of storage areas while aesthetically punctuating the home’s beachy yet weather-resistant countenance. When all was said and done, the modern-day palace rose a heady five levels above the bay and provided an amazing 9,200 sq. ft. of livable space, including a 14’ diameter observatory, a 45-foot-high widow’s walk and a detached 600 sq. ft. guest cottage that sits directly over the footprint of the original Assateague Island ferry house.

There’s no way around it: As you attempt to enter the one-of-a-kind domicile, you must first breach the all-encompassing wraparound porch, which seems to serve its home the way a moat does a castle. Appropriate, considering the structure is idyllically ensconced between the Sinepuxent Bay on the east side and Newport Bay on the west. Its square footage would be enough to constitute a commodious living space in itself. Once inside, however, one is greeted immediately by an ocean of rich, dark walnut flooring with high ceilings and a circular open staircase and railings that elaborate upon the home’s awe-inspiring grandeur. The south-facing 18’ diameter entry tower with vaulted walnut tongue-and-groove ceiling and exposed, spoked rafters convey a decided nautical feel while offering a picturesque view. It also is the conduit to the floor plan’s home-within-a-home guest-and-recreation space, which includes a guest suite, rec room and state-of-the-art movie theater over a three-bay garage with an extra side bay suitable for watercraft. 

The guest suite, located on the third floor, includes a large circular window in addition to partially open, partially enclosed balcony that allows enjoyment of Sinepuxtent Bay even during inclement weather. The continuous collar ties throughout the third floor act as an aesthetic flourish while providing additional structural support. Over on the other side, the 450 sq. ft master suite is the size of many Manhattan studio apartments, but this space includes a private covered balcony — a feature of each of the home’s five bedrooms. It boasts a large master bath (one of five, not including two additional half-baths) with a glass-enclosed shower sufficient to accommodate a house party, claw-foot tub and makeup vanity.

The great room, meanwhile, is even more vast. At a whopping 900 sq. ft, it has more than enough space for the plush furnishings, home electronics and baby grand piano that occupy it. Embellished with a luxurious coffered ceiling, the room supports a parlor area in the stacked, cylindrical geometry of the home’s southeast face, in addition to three beautiful sets of French doors that open outward onto balconies. 

Off the great room is the home’s large formal dining room and gourmet eat-in kitchen with butler pantry. A second-level TV/lounge area with sundeck and hot tub enable the owner’s teenage kids to have their own space without encroaching upon their elders, even though the home’s four-person elevator makes communion that much easier.

Certainly, the owners have much to be ecstatic about. But so do Becker Morgan Group and Pearce, who’s recently back from Las Vegas after receiving the 2013 Best in American Living Award (BALA) for the finest One-of-a-Kind Custom Home over 6,501 sq. ft. The magnificent home’s builder, Joseph T. Dashiell Builders of West Ocean City, was awarded the Professional Builder Award in the same category.



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