Dream Home: Creating an Ocean City oasis
Bill Allen's beachfront home in North Ocean City is the coastal living and entertaining space he's always wanted
Bill Allen and his fiancee Shelby Thomas stand in the living room of their dream home on the bay side in Ocean City. (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun / June 17, 2011)
"I wanted a Northern Atlantic, Nantucket-style cottage — coastal but not beach-y," he said.
To build his dream home, Allen hired the Salisbury architectural and construction firm of Becker Morgan Group, which began work in July 2007 on the third of an acre he had been holding onto for 15 years.
Allen, who moved from an oceanfront condominium to his 10,000-square-foot home, calls his new house "a quieter place, with less building restrictions."
Becker Morgan's team, headed by architect Chris Pattey, designed a three-story home for him fronting the bay; from the kitchen at the street side of the house, pleasure craft on the water look like they could crash into the deck running along the water side of the 80-by-120-foot dwelling.
An informal side entrance off of the street leads to a wide space comprising kitchen, living room, sitting room and pool/bar room, with the rear of the home featuring an entire wall of sliders and bay windows overlooking a deck. The furnishings create a casual elegance.
"I didn't have any rules for the interior, so I mixed polished brass, chrome, stainless and nickel," Allen, 53, said of the home's accessories.
Traditional tailored chairs and sofa are upholstered in shades of blue and white. Contrasting tables of dark woods are topped with cut-glass lamps that project a full color spectrum. A double-sided marble fireplace (one of six in the home) with a wood-burning oven separates the great room from the pool room. The first floor also includes two lanai, one of which is enclosed for barbecuing, a full guest suite, front hall foyer (with coat check room) and a formal two-story dining room.
A round dining table, 6 feet in diameter, rests under a crystal chandelier hanging from the second-floor ceiling. Arched balconies off the second-floor hall look down onto the table below. (The second level is accessed by a sweeping, cantilevered staircase.)
The home's second level features the master suite with spa bathroom, three guest bedrooms and the study. Allen's study features built-in shelves filled with art books and a large picture window overlooking the bay. A few pairs of binoculars sit on the windowsill. The northwest wing of the second level with its guest rooms has been decorated in a more coastal, nautical style, as seen in its furnishings, accents and copious use of bead board.
From the tower staircase to the third level, one can peer straight up to the cupola and its circular grouping of windows.
"The cupola was one big steel cage that had to be lowered onto the [tower] during construction," Allen noted. On this level, a guest suite includes bedroom, bath and living room/children's playroom.
Shelby Thomas, Bill Allen's fiancee, was not a part of the design and construction of his waterfront dream home, which took place from July 2007 to July 2009, but she plans to have her decorating ideas implemented after the couple is married.
"It's eccentric, isn't it?" Allen said. "I wanted a house for entertaining and outdoor living. I wanted my house to be a work of art."
Dream element Dr. Bill Allen's 10,000-square-foot home has been built directly on Ocean City's Assawoman Bay. The back elevation offers a completely unobstructed view of the water and the maritime activities in and around it.
Exterior design The award-winning design of the Allen home is defined by its exterior cedar shake shingles, numerous covered porches (lanais) and graceful curves, including a tower to the third floor. This unmistakable Nantucket-style illustrates Becker Morgan Group's innovative adaptations of a traditional coastal design.
Interior design Opting for an interior presence of casual sophistication, Bill Allen notes, "I intentionally brought the outdoor colors inside." This is evident in his use of soft taupe and aqua wall color, muted wool rugs from Asia and Afghanistan, Brazilian wood flooring, light marble countertops and fireplaces, as well as glass fixtures and accessories that catch the setting sun and sparkle like the glass bits on sandy beaches or the shimmering wake from boats across the water. The home's interior architecture showcases dramatic yet cohesive use of lines, circles, and arches, in addition to round and angular bump outs.