A custom gem built by T&G Builders created a traditional space for its homeowners to display their extensive art collection that also maximizes the property’s breathtaking backdrop on 30 secluded acres in Worcester County
Balancing the breathtaking scenery of bayside Worcester County with an extensive collection of artwork was the house-building challenge for property owners Christie Taylor and Fred Sprock, along with their construction team at T&G Builders in Berlin.
“You’ve got art on the outside and art on the inside; how do you get the balance?” said Sprock. The problem was solved with a clever combination of house height and an inside-out wall design. The couple and their architect, Jeff DelSordo of Charlotte, NC, designed the backbone of the house as a central corridor that amounts to a built-in art gallery. It left the rooms unfettered by solid exterior walls. Instead, windowed and screened walls open the outside to those inside the house, and the center of the house is left for the couple’s personal artworks, solving their dilemma of “how to hang paintings in a house without losing the windows,” Taylor said.
“Whatever room you’re in, you feel like you’re outside,” added Taylor, whose sketches were the main inspiration for the design. A painter of salt marshes and the owner of an art gallery in Charlotte, she knew they wanted to invite the beauty of the nearby Chincoteague Bay into the house as much as possible. They also felt the best views would be achieved at a height. “We knew we had to go up to get a view,” Taylor said. “That’s why we have a treehouse.”
Along with mixing the indoors and the outdoors, Taylor and Sprock wanted to meld the past with the present. Throughout the house — and in addition to traditionally painted walls — they incorporated farmhouse walls constructed of spaced boards. Furniture and framed photographs from their respective North Carolina childhoods are placed around the home “to mix that traditional look with the modern,” said Taylor.
The house includes other features that make it stand out, as well, said Ron Wesche, sales and marketing manager for T&G Builders. Completed in 2012, the building has a central elevator; a southern-style sleeping porch; wide-plank reclaimed wood flooring and wall finishes; Marvin integrity windows; first-floor breakaway walls in case of extreme storm flooding; vertical knotty, shiplap cypress siding for a timeless look on the exterior; and a rooftop deck where birdwatchers come to search for brown-headed nuthatches on Delmarva Birding Weekends.
“We offer one of the most informative and customer-friendly experiences available locally when thinking of building or improving,” Wesche said. “The team knowledge and current technology make for a clear understanding of the process and a complete visual of the project prior to starting. Our reputation continues to get stronger and stronger each year, and I attribute that to the experience, which is followed up with everlasting quality.”
Taylor and Sprock agreed. “They were very committed to giving us a great product,” said Taylor, who noted other features they and their guests enjoy, including a firepit, screened porch, metal shed roof, natural materials, carport and mudroom. The four-level house also features spacious art studios — one each for Taylor and Sprock, both of whom are paint artists themselves. A central tower where the elevator is located begins at the ground floor and stretches up through all four levels, serving as the springboard for the L-shaped rooms on each level. Each level also can be reached by a staircase and features a powder room and a utility room.
The ground floor is home to the mudroom and elevator entrance, while the second floor holds the studios, two guest bedrooms with baths, as well as the sleeping porch. The third floor is home to the den, kitchen, living/dining room, and the screened master bedroom with his-and-her bathrooms and a deck. The fourth floor holds an attic and the rooftop deck. The couple have frequent guests, who can receive T-shirts with the name of the property, which Taylor and Sprock call “Camp KissmyAssateague.”
Along with their rescue dogs, Clara and Louise, Taylor and Sprock have achieved their dream of living and working in a way that “celebrates the landscape.” As Fred said, “We’ve never looked back. We’re glad we did it. We love it.”
T&G BUILDERS & CUSTOM DESIGN
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