Jennifer & David Landsman enjoy their weekend retreat home on Middle River in Baltimore County. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun video)

David and Jennifer Landsman spend as much time as they can on the water.

But their landlocked Pikesville home didn't offer an easy way for the couple to escape onto the Chesapeake Bay in their 37-foot center console powerboat.


So, in August 2015, the couple purchased a 2,400 square-foot four bedroom, three bath cottage on Middle River in the Bauernschmidt Manor neighborhood for $425,000. After a 9-month renovation, they opened the self-named "Boathouse" for the summer.

"It's our weekend house," Jennifer Landsman said. "But we would like to come here all the time."

Since then, they've opened the home to friends, creating an oasis where their 5-year-old daughter Lilliana can play on the sandy beach. And it's now easy for the Landsmans to take the boat out on the waters from where it's docked at the home's 150-foot pier.

"The location is perfect because by boat or by land it's easy to get to," said David Landsman, who owns Auto Showcase of Bel Air in Fallston. "The layout from the beginning was perfect. It was just a lot of remodeling and thinking out how we were going to make it fit us."

Aside from moving the stairs and creating a foyer out of what used to be the living room, the layout of the home remains the same.

The main living area with the kitchen, a sunroom and family room is on the bottom floor, and opens onto the patio offering sweeping views of the river, a perfect layout for a family focused on entertaining. The home's bedrooms can be found on the second and third floors.

Originally a split-level home with a third floor, the Landsmans relocated the entranceway to the second floor and installed an iron-and-glass double door.

They expanded the back deck to span the entire length of the house, replaced windows and installed cedar shingles painted a steel blue-grey, giving an updated Cape Cod-inspired look to the home originally built in 1951.

Inside, Jennifer Landsman wanted a nautical-inspired, beachy decorating theme.

She started to buy décor, linens and furniture when they closed on the house, picking out items, textures and patterns that appealed to her.

"That's how I decorate. I collect things and then I make it all work," she said of her beach glam style. "I find something like a linen or a comforter or even a light [and] I get inspired by colors."

The first item she bought was a silver-plated driftwood-inspired table, which she placed in the foyer as a focal point for the entranceway. Behind it sits a six-foot silver mirror in a geometric pattern. It's flanked by two sitting chairs with leather seats and leopard-print covered backs, gifts from her mother-in-law that Landsman hadn't been able to use in their Pikesville home.

She brought in decorative artists Chris Winslow and Charles Macsherry to bring her vision to life. Winslow and Macsherry are both decorative painters, but also acted as design consultants.

"We worked together," she said. "All three of us would go over ideas and throw stuff at each other and came up with the end result."


Gracing the floor of the entrance in warm gray — the same color that's on the walls — is a compass-rose with the letter "L" and an anchor in relief, painted by Macsherry. Hanging nearby is a painting of the reflection of the World Trade Center and stern of the Constellation in the waters of the Inner Harbor custom-created by Winslow to add a splash of blue into the room.

The decorative and faux painting of Winslow and Macsherry touches each room of the home, from the two-tone blue damask stripe in one guest bedroom to a landscape mural in the first floor bathroom. Their daughter's bedroom features a flamingo mural painted in light green and a peachy-pink.

"We made it into a story," said Macsherry, pointing to a cake with five candles and a pair of flamingoes with crowns. "They're having a birthday party and the king and queen are over here."

In the kitchen on the first floor, Macsherry and Winslow also designed a custom pie-shaped table for the corner breakfast nook. Made out of wood, it's painted to match a marble sofa table in the adjoining family room.

A blue wash covers the walls in the kitchen and continues into the sunroom. Here wicker chairs from Aur Hause and a glass-topped dining room table with a driftwood base in metal give the room a rustic, seaside feel.

Two benches, purchased from Kirkland's, provide extra seating in the sunroom for when guests gather in the sunroom and kitchen, what's become the home's center. One is covered with a cream-colored linen with a seashell pattern. The other is blue-and-cream striped and topped with a blue pillow with an embroidered "relax" in brown.

Each room incorporates decorative art pieces that follow the beach theme. In the master bedroom, Landsman chose porcelain coral decorations in white, which sit against walls painted a champagne damask. Stencils custom-created by Winslow feature a starfish in the center of a fleur-de-lis. A grouping of pillows in neutral covers includes one with a fish covered in metallic sequins.

Landsman gathers her items from a variety of online and big-box stores such as Pier 1 and Marshalls.

"You don't have to spend a lot of money for good stuff," Winslow said. "If it looks good and has nice lines to it, you can get something anywhere. You just have to have a discerning eye."