Do you begin inside, with the airy rooms, chef's kitchen and four fireplaces?

Or outdoors, with the sculpted gardens, rolling green hills and tranquil riding trails on 78 acres?

If you can't make up your mind about 16835 Gerting Road in Monkton, choose something in between: the screened-in sleeping porch and the poolside cabana.

Designed by local architect Faith Nevins Hawks and built in 2001, the 1812 replica farmhouse "is timeless," said Realtor Heidi Krauss, who represented the seller. "It was her first foray into residential architecture, and she nailed it in a less-is-more, Shaker-style family compound."

The five-bedroom, 31/2 -bath house was listed in August and sold Nov. 20 for $2.1 million.

The property — with six-stall, timber frame barn, carriage house and guest house — sits close to Elkridge-Harford fox hunting country. But the new owners aren't into the sport — yet.

"Nope, just kids and a dog," said Krauss, laughing. "But who knows? Maybe they'll get a little horsy on us."

Perhaps the property's most interesting feature is that it has more outside living space in the form of terraces and porches than inside: 5,500 square feet versus 3,503 square feet. But thanks to huge windows, every room feels connected to the outdoors.

"The whole house telescopes. In every room, you're awash in light from three sides, if not four," said Krauss, owner of Krauss Real Property Brokerage. "Every room has stunning vistas."

Two years ago, the farmhouse caught the eye of the editors at The New York Times' Great Homes and Destinations section.

"This house proves you can have an incredibly livable house that's high-end with luxurious appointments in a not-overwhelming amount of square feet," said Krauss. "It's really how architecture should be done."

candy.thomson@baltsun.com

The specs

Address: 16835 Gerting Road, Monkton 21110

Sale price: $2.1 million

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 3 full, 1 half

Square footage: 3,503

Selling agent: Heidi Krauss, Krauss Real Property Brokerage