Real Estate

Custom-built Stevenson home charms down to the details

In a clearing off of a wooded lane in Stevenson is a white stucco, Tuscan-style villa with ornate cast-iron window boxes spilling summer vines, looking like the subject of an impressionist painting.

Inside, beyond the driveway and the arched, two-story center bay, the Iliev family — Martin and Jessica, their 3-year old son, Max, and a pair of toy poodles, Sophie and Tiger — welcome visitors to their newly built home.


In a large, open kitchen dominated by a center island that's topped with a 9-by-6-foot slab of white quartz, the Ilievs recalled purchasing the 4-acre parcel of land. They donated the property's original house to Second Chance, a nonprofit that deconstructs homes and sells the salvaged materials at a discount.

"They came and deconstructed the whole thing," said Jessica Iliev, 28, a partner in the Berney family business of Carbiz. "Jon [Skarda of Shoreline Construction] built us this very green, geothermal house."

From the beginning, the Ilievs knew they wanted a contemporary, provincial look with the contrast of light and dark — found in the alabaster walls and white cabinets against the dark pine trim of the windows and dark oak flooring throughout the first level.


The architecture shines in the details, such as 10-foot ceilings (both coffered and tray) with recessed lighting, bump outs, wide-width baseboards and interior door molding, and decorative uses of paneling.

In the home's first-floor open layout, rooms flow effortlessly into one another through the 50-by-30-foot space, with areas defined by furniture and rug placement. The decor is understated but dramatic.

"For the interior, we don't ascribe ourselves to any certain decor, and prefer a more eclectic mix of styles from new and old," Jessica said. "The common spaces reflect this the most. We've anchored the large spaces with traditional pieces and added color and flavor through accessories."

To balance the weightiness of the kitchen island, the couple chose glazed maple cabinetry with brushed nickel pulls and, for contrast, dark Portuguese soapstone countertops and backsplash.

A formal suite from Restoration Hardware in Baltimore fills the bump-out dining area. Belgian linen-upholstered oak chairs surround the 2-by-10-foot oak dining table. Shoreline constructed a built-in bar/buffet area on one side of the room, opposite a floor-to-ceiling china cabinet with intricate glass panes and the same glazed maple as the kitchen cabinets.

The living room design revolves around a pair of deep brown tufted leather sofas placed along the border of a Moroccan-designed rug. A pair of gray suede occasional chairs and a brown leather tub-style chair are placed at the rug's opposite border. A cadet blue low-topped cabinet provides a splash of color, under a 65-inch Panasonic wide-screen TV.

In the corner, Jessica created a pleasing vignette by hanging the old wooden mantel from the house formerly on the site — the only thing the couple saved. The mantel, an actual railroad tie, is supported with iron brackets. Above it hangs a photograph on canvas of a French abbey in a field of lavender.

Both living room and dining room windows overlook a 30-by-15-foot outdoor deck. The deck, in turn, looks out over 2 acres, where a horse barn, original to the property, awaits the pony the couple plan to buy for Max. Behind a fire pit where they entertain are three chairs cut from logs. Martin Iliev, 33, a sales associate at Carbiz, has shown off his chainsaw skills with the "papa bear" chair, the "mama bear" chair and the "baby bear" chair.


Three bedrooms are on the home's second level, where white carpeting creates a softer feel.

"My favorite room in the house is our master suite," said Jessica. "It's like a peaceful retreat. We have a private balcony that feels like you're on vacation. It sits up high [and] overlooks the property and the woods behind. The attached Carrera marble, spa-like bathroom isn't too shabby either!"

With a new home comes future projects, which Martin said includes the landscaping of 2acres (they are selling the other 2).

"We have dense clay soil, so it hasn't been easy, but I'm determined to get the miniature orchard producing and the gardens lush," he said.

Ultimately, Jessica said the home is perfect for the whole family.

"This is our dream home because it covers all of life's necessities with style and grace," she said. "We have modern conveniences, an open, flowing floor plan, a chef's kitchen and wonderful entertaining spaces, all while maintaining charm and high efficiency. The setting is the icing on the cake. It is quiet and secluded, a wonderful place to raise our little boy."


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Clarification: An earlier version of this article gave incomplete information about the ownership of Carbiz. Jessica Iliev is a partner in the Berney family business of Carbiz, Martin Iliev is a sales associate.