Rick and Karen Kron’s stunning Rock Hall sanctuary incorporates unobstructed views of the Chesapeake Bay
Story by Jonathan Westman | Photography by Stephen Cherry
What began as the topic of casual conversation quickly evolved into the breathtaking backyard retreat of Rick and Karen Kron in Rock Hall, MD. The couple, who had purchased this property on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay in late 2017, were entertaining close family and friends one evening the following spring when someone remarked, “Wouldn’t it be cool to build a pool and a pool house here?”
Rick began to conceptualize that very night, envisioning how he could transform its expansive grassy yard into something truly special. It didn’t take long for the recently retired owner of a general-contracting firm in Philadelphia to put his talents and connections to work. The project list of must-haves was relatively small: They included an in-ground pool, outdoor kitchen and a pool house, but Rick and Karen were adamant that each “must have” an unobstructed view of the Bay from every angle possible.
Before the project could commence, however, the Krons had to negotiate the stringent sanctioning process, due to their property’s size and proximity to the Bay.
“Because we are sitting only on half an acre, we required variances of the side-yard setback requirements,” Rick said. “We employed Bill Crowding of Crowding Engineering to help us navigate the variance and permitting process. Without his expertise and thorough knowledge of the area, the project would have never gotten started.”
With the proper paperwork in hand, Rick naturally served as the project’s general contractor and hired its subcontractors, negotiated contracts, managed the schedule, purchased many of the materials and worked with the building inspector. He even designed the swimming pool, which was constructed by Coastal Pools of Queenstown from mid-May to mid-July 2018. Work continued throughout the summer, with the pool deck and outdoor kitchen completed at the end of September and early October, respectively.
Rick also knew the importance that landscaping would play in the project, so he didn’t leave any elements to chance. He brought in various experts to ensure all details were properly addressed, including landscape architect Max Ruehmund of M3 Architecture and Greg Orr of Fine Design Landscaping, both from Rock Hall. But the Krons’ assiduous attention to detail didn’t
“We believe one of the smartest decisions we made was to hire lighting designer Courtney Sarge of Streamlight Design, who is based in Elverson, Pennsylvania,” Rick said. “We knew we were creating something special and felt strongly that it really could shine like a diamond at night with the right lighting. She really came through for us. We absolutely love how the entire project looks at night.”
Rick & Karen Kron
Construction on the pool house began in December 2018, with the primary project goal firmly at the core of its design. To fully incorporate the bay views, the Krons designed a load-bearing steel structure that did not contain a post or column at the corner of the building that faces the Bay. This ingenuity was taken even further when Rick and Karen had a custom-built, German-made NanaWall system installed, which allows them to slide open two sides of the pool house’s glass-paneled living-room walls, to offer panoramic views of the water. This open-air concept is not only state-of-the-art but also the showstopping amenity of a highly elaborate project.
The couple hired interior designer Trish Gorman of Gorman Designs in Villanova, PA, who coincidentally also owns a home in Rock Hall. She was tasked with designing the pool-house kitchen, choosing its millwork and finishes, and partnered with Karen on the selection of outdoor furniture. Karen personally selected the pool house’s furnishings and artwork. The pool house was completed in September 2019 and features a bunk room, full bath and outdoor shower.
“This was a very personal project for us, and as such, we could talk about it for days,” Rick said. “We’re thrilled with how everything turned out.”