Eight years ago, Jim and Barbara Hutson moved from Chesapeake, Va., back home to Maryland to be closer to family.
"We couldn't afford the house we sold in Arnold [Maryland] in 1999," Jim Hutson said. "So we marched east until we found Queenstown."
And there, just over the Kent Narrows Bridge in Queen Anne's County, they found the development of Wye Knot Farm. A Colonial-style house struck their fancy in October 2001. With finishing touches still incomplete, the Hutsons were able to choose kitchen cabinets and to request a cubby over the fireplace for a flat-screen TV.
The couple paid $271,900 for the four-bedroom, 2 1/2 -bath, two-story home and moved in December of that year. In the first four months, Jim Hutson, a U.S. Coast Guard retiree, constructed paneled wainscoting throughout the rear of the home, which included the family room and dining room. He also built and installed bull's-eye molding over the doors and windows. The material for that work, together with the addition of a driveway and covered deck, cost an additional $25,000.
The home's interior flow is enhanced by an open layout in the back of the house from which all of the rooms can be seen and enjoyed from any given spot. The kitchen is situated between the dining and family rooms in the back of the home and boasts rich oak cabinetry, a mobile butcher-block workstation and a portion of counter constructed in Silestone quartz with embedded, glistening mica.
From every window in the back of the home, as well as from the enclosed deck, the Hutsons' outdoor landscaping presents bucolic ambience that belies its proximity to U.S. 50. The Hutsons have planted trees that include weeping willow, sycamore, beechnut, cypress, sequoia and red bud.
The couple's biggest contribution to the Colonial decor of the home is the presence of myriad framed needlework samplers (16th-, 17th- and 18th-century needlework reproductions) stitched by the two of them and present in every room of the house. It is their passion and constitutes years of work.
At the top of the second-floor staircase, an entire library area is filled with volumes dedicated to the history of samplers and pattern books. One of the four bedrooms serves as Barbara Hutson's office where she stitches and she runs the successful company Queenstown Sampler Designs, of which she is the president.
Happily ensconced in a home they have decorated as they saw fit, Jim Hutson notes, "We made this house ours right from the beginning, the way we wanted it [and] not for resale purposes."
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Making a dream home
Dream element:: The Hutsons' Queen Anne's County home has been built in a development of 67 houses in a community called Wye Knot Farm off U.S. 50 on the Eastern Shore. The home's architectural design is in the style of Eastern Shore Colonial. Black shutters placed against white trim around the windows provide visual contrast to light-gray vinyl siding. Six white columns form the roof of an L-shaped porch.
Design Inspiration:: Furnishings in the home are decidedly 18th century in style. Examples are the six Windsor reproduction, comb-back chairs surrounding a maple dining table, hooked rugs over thin plank oak flooring, leather and upholstered Queen Anne-style wing chairs, a collection of ceramic ware, hand-painted decoys, baskets and, finally, paneled wainscoting covering the lower half of the walls in the dining room and a full wall in the family room. The paneling as well as the molding in the rooms of the main floor has been painted a gray-blue. Jim Hutson constructed and installed all of the paneling.
Personal touch:: In addition to the wainscoting, Jim Hutson also painted murals on two of the walls here. Of 19th-century, folk-art style, these delightful scenes depict water, ships, houses and trees in the fashion of painter Rufus Porter (1792-1884). Thirteen reproduction 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century samplers, stitched by Barbara Hutson (five of them award-winning pieces) hang on the walls of the first level as well as samplers executed by both of the Hutsons hanging throughout the rest of the two-story home.
Surprise feature:: It is not until approaching the oak staircase leading to the second level that one notices its several painted risers and, like the family room murals, all are folksy in style.