Mary and Daniel Walton have restored several older homes in the course of their 44 years of marriage. But their dream home in Eastport possesses something they have wanted for a very long time.
"The big difference [here] is that all the corners are square and all the systems are new and modern, so we can now attend to more important things like giving back to the community and spending time out on the bay," said 65-year-old Mary Walton, a retired chaplain at St. Paul's School for Girls. Her husband is a 66-year-old retired consultant in the coal industry.
Having most recently lived in a Victorian townhouse in Baltimore, the couple's move to Annapolis in 2007 allowed them to downsize while enjoying a home where they can continue to entertain friends and family in style. This was achieved through the creative efforts of designer Marianne Fishman of Harborside Interiors.
"The general style for the Walton home is what I call 'Elegant Formal Traditional,' " Fishman said. "I must add, however, that although it is formal, it is also very comfortable."
The Waltons acquired the property, just a short walk from downtown Annapolis, and finished off the partially built two-story home to their specifications.
"My biggest challenge was working with the builder," Fishman said. "He offered my clients the chance to make any changes they wanted while it was being finished. His style was good but not at all what my clients wanted."
The traditional exterior design of stone and Hardie plank siding suited the Waltons, but on the inside, they opted for a few changes, including removing a wall to make one large room out of two smaller ones. That enlarged room became the dining room and now accommodates the couple's mahogany table with seating for 12-plus guests.
"Our focus has always been the dining room for entertaining [and] the whole of the first floor [which] transitions from the entry to the dining area to the kitchen and on to the living room in a seamless manner," said Mary Walton.
Because the entire first level is open, spaces needed to be defined and visual boundaries set up. Fishman achieved this with the use of area rugs and the placement of the couple's many pieces of traditional furniture.
"Because the kitchen was open to the living room, I changed the cabinetry that the builder offered to look more like furniture, with a darker mahogany finish," the designer said. "And [I] finished any exposed [working] areas with raised panels; no flat panels. I also included a dark green-black granite countertop."
Over the years, the Waltons have collected art and artifacts from their travels and from the places they lived, including London.
"We don't have many collections as such, just a mishmash of sacramental objects and artwork that are inspiring to us," Daniel Walton said. "Mary has created several 'serenity spots' around the house."
Mary Walton's cozy areas of spirituality range from the simple, such as a framed print of Mary and the infant Jesus on her grand piano, to a collection of crosses and crucifixes hung on a wall. A bas relief, a detailed reproduction in alabaster of Milton's "Paradise Lost," is situated above the living room fireplace.
"Another collection is a series of ... hand-colored prints of golfing scenes in our bedroom," said Daniel Walton. "These were collected during our three-year assignment in London."
The second level contains a family room, office, master bedroom and guest bedroom. Here, as throughout the home, Fishman worked her magic with color and rich fabric.
"I used quality fabrics that are understated in design so they would complement — but keep focus on — the Waltons' many beautiful antiques and collections," she said. "I love to trim my fabrics offering a special detail and a common thread of color to each window treatment, bedspread and so on."
An interesting fabric treatment is found on the second level at the entrance to the family room, where chintz draperies are hung from the trim above the double doors opening onto the room. Like stage curtains, they frame the comfortably decorated room for relaxing.
"[Our home] provides all the comfort and style we could hope for in an urban setting," Mary Walton said. "We love Eastport and having access to all the amenities of being on the Chesapeake Bay. Our home is integral to this and is where we intend to remain."
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