Down by the riverside

The Stack family home sits at Lewis and Young streets, one block from the water's edge. The body of water is the mighty Susquehanna River; the town clinging to it, Havre de Grace.

With double-decker 12-foot-wide wrap-around porches, the three-story home stands out from the quaint cottages and grand Victorians that line the town's streets. Interior dimensions measure 50 feet wide by 30 feet deep. The mustard yellow composite board exterior is dressed to the nines with white porch rails and staircases. The overall picture is reminiscent of a 1920s seaside hotel.


The house, however, is brand new and comfortably accommodates dad, mom, three active children and mother-in-law.

Andy Stack and his wife, Caroline, moved from nearby Bel Air in August 2005. There they owned a nurse staffing company providing services statewide to hospitals, schools and prisons.


They sold the company - Caroline still works part time there as a registered nurse - and paid a builder $775,000 for the house, property and an adjacent lot, guaranteeing them a clear view east to the wide river. It will soon be an enclosed play area for their three children, Benjamin, 6; Shannon, 3 1/2 ; and Sarah, 21 months.

The couple paid an additional $4,000 to turn the two-car garage into and office and separate playroom.

"This [house] immediately felt like a place we could live in for a long, long time," he commented.

The second-level entrance conveys warmth, with its oriental carpeted foyer, grandfather clock and family pictures on the wall. Beyond, the open layout provides breathtaking views of the water. Glass sliding doors on two sides open to the wraparound porch.

"We have 4,200 square feet of living space, in addition to 2,500 square feet of decks," he pointed out, adding, "and 14 sets of double doors."

A C-shaped kitchen sits in the center of the floor, as if to emphasize its importance as "hearth and heart" of the home. The family gathers around the 4-foot -square olive-colored island. Meals are often served here, as well as board games played on its smooth granite countertop.

The kitchen faces the dining area, where an 8-foot-long cherry table and matching buffet sit in a nook created by bay windows. (The layout, including bay windows and sliding doors, is identically replicated on the floors above and below.)

The living room is defined by a large carpet with alternating blocks of terra cotta and tan wool with green leaf design. It sits on polished pine flooring. Coupled with many varieties of plants, a three-piece wicker suite, and a gold silk couch, the effect is tropical, befitting the many displayed artifacts from Caroline Stack's native Philippines.


A switchback staircase off the foyer leads to levels up and down. The landing between second and third floors is large enough to accommodate two salon chairs and table in front of a curtained window that stretches nearly floor to ceiling.

The third level, with the same spectacular views, houses the family's bedrooms. The girls share a room painted buttercup yellow with a double bed dressed in pink floral linens. Benjamin's room is a soft shade of celery green with white peg racks holding his baseball caps.

The master bedroom is breezy and tropical, with a wrought iron canopy bed draped with green silk fabric.

The first level, painted a deep shade of cranberry, houses the family room, game room with bar and pool table, and the entrance to the converted garage.

The couple enjoys the fact that they can walk most everywhere in town, including to the marina that docks their 26-foot cruiser.

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