In a weekend home near Chesapeake Bay, an open floor plan provides flow
When Erin and Gregory Pitts retreat from Baltimore to their weekend getaway on Gibson Island off the western shore of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, their priority is taking their energized children--three under the age of 6--on outdoor adventures so they can experience the natural beauty their property offers.
The Pittses' newly built New England shingle-style house features two stone chimneys, two open porches, and one screened porch.
Architectural design; builder: Allen Hutcheson, Hutcheson Design Build, 3063 Harness Creek Rd., Annapolis, MD 21403; 410/980-3466.
Interior design: Erin Paige Pitts, Erin Paige Pitts Interiors, P.O. Box 245, Gibson Island, MD 21056; 443/392-5026.
Photography: Gordon Beall
Produced by Eileen A. Deymier
"We entertain frequently, both personally and professionally," says Erin, an interior designer with clients in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. "I designed the layout of the house with an open floor plan in mind for smooth movement between the spaces for our children and guests."
The charm of the family's home lies in the harmonious blend of classic architecture, tasteful appointments, and a refined palette that allows the architectural elements to shine through. Wood floors throughout the main level are finished in a dark stain that anchors the all-white walls and lofty coffered ceilings.
To break up the all-white great room, accessories in cool, breezy tones punctuate the space. Blue pillows in two patterns add extra comfort to the seating pieces, a blue-and-ivory rug in an oversized plaid covers the floor, and clear lamps and flower vases provide quiet and restrained scale.
Erin covered all seating pieces on the main level of the house with indoor/outdoor fabrics. Sturdy, easily maintained skirted slipcovers give casual flair to the dark wood chairs around the table in the dining room. The long series of French doors becomes especially useful during gatherings where guests mingle outside to enjoy the water views.
The well-thought-out floor plan satisfies the Pitts family's main objective of spending time together. "The first floor is so interactive that no matter which space we're in, we are always together," says Erin. "The kitchen island is the epicenter of our house. It's where art projects are completed and meals are planned. It brings us all together. I design that way in general, but it works especially well for our family."
A kitchen niche offers a small desk for Erin, a gallery for the children’s artwork, and a retreat for Willie, the family’s Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
Behind the kitchen, a family room with a beach motif provides space that can be closed off by pocket doors when the Pittses entertain. "If we have an adult party, the sitter and kids can hang out here, watching a movie," Erin explains. The room has access to the kitchen.
The house offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor living, including a terrace with a pergola. "As much as we enjoy this house, we prefer to use the exterior spaces as much as possible," says Erin.
The family often has meals on the screened porch at the back of the house. Breezes and views of the Magothy River add to the diners' enjoyment.
Erin and Gregory Pitts with Hutton, 2, Scarlet, 6, and Jackson, 4.