Greg Alexander

It's all about the view

Annapolis Capital, Fall 2007

“When you live on the water, the outside is more important than the inside. Everything here is about the water,” says Jon Coile, who, along with his wife Wendy, lives in a gorgeous custom-built waterfront home situated on a two-acre private peninsula in the Maynadier Creek portion of the Severn River. Although the couple’s home looks like a modest Cape Cod upon arrival, one step inside reveals a sprawling home where every detail was done with the waterfront view in mind.

“When we were looking at the plans for the house, my wife and I would always ask each other, ‘If we are sitting in this spot, what will our view be,’” says Coile. While the home is new – it won first prize in the MAX awards from the Home Builders Association for the best custom home over $1 million in Maryland in 2005 – the prized property it sits upon has been on Coile’s radar for years. As a new real estate agent in 1988, he scoured over the local market to better familiarize himself with the market and noticed a property with 427 feet of Severn River shoreline. Coile visited the property, which was very overgrown, and says that he could not envision how someone would build a home there. “I moved on but never forgot about it,” he says.

Years later, living in a waterfront home in Severna Park, he and his wife decided it was “time to go big,” and when he and a colleague were looking at waterfront property listings on the computer, he noticed a familiar plot of land that still had not been developed. “I could not believe it was still there undeveloped. The timing was just right,” he says with a grin. Next, he hired Baldwin Homes and architect Ash Roshan to complete his dream home.

“We had a pretty clear vision of what we wanted. We looked at every magazine out there and drove around in this area, Potomac, Md., and Northern Virginia for ideas. We did not want a huge ‘McMansion’ that would overpower the neighbor’s home, and we recognized that this home will be here long after we are gone, so there was a responsibility to build something special,” says Coile. “Jon and Wendy did have a clear vision in regards to the space needed for their new house; however, because the footprint was already established, I enhanced the design’s footprint by taking full advantage of Jon and Wendy’s incredible property with beautiful waterfront view,” adds Roshan, who says that both he and the couple saw eye to eye on what the focus would be. “After seeing the site for myself, I realized there was almost a 180-degree view of water from the property, and it must be incorporated into the house by complementing the prime space of the house with the maximum number of windows and door openings to capture the magnificent view,” he says.

Upon entering the front door, a 180-degree staircase greets you, complete with wrought-iron balusters, but what really catches your eye are the unobstructed sight lines – no matter where you stand, you can see the water. “Every room has a water view, except perhaps the dining room, but we figured we’d only be in there at night,” says Coile. The couple’s home is also a comfortable one with a very lived-in feel. Personal touches abound, primarily the couple’s love of boats (both served in the U.S. Navy) and their sense of humor – a bookcase in the library swings on a hinge, revealing a secret passageway and staircase. The first-floor’s dominant space is the expansive gourmet kitchen and morning room, which both front the water. “I do the dishes, so I made sure that if I was doing dirty work, I better have a nice view,” laughs Coile. Top-of-the-line Viking and Sub-Zero appliances make this kitchen a culinary artist’s dream, and the two separate prep areas allow for a caterer to work independently, Coile adds.

The comfortable family room features floor-to-ceiling windows, again allowing for unobstructed views, as do the adjacent deck’s black rails with glass underneath. The first floor also has an office and large screen porch. “The interior designer, Sandy Abernathy, really captured our vision,” says Coile, noting how the green wall color in the office helps bring in the green color of the leaves outside.

An elevator brings you to the second floor, which hosts four bedrooms, all of which have in-suite bathrooms and water views. Coile notes that the bedrooms were strategically placed where no two are adjacent to each other, proving additional privacy for guests. Of course, these empty-nesters (sans for a cat and dog) relish the master suite’s million-dollar views and plenty of elbowroom. A sitting area, outside balcony, built-in coffee bar, walk-in closet and enormous master bath, complete with a two-person Jacuzzi, make this space special. “We felt the bathroom, however, was too many steps from the bed, so we added a half bath in the closet where my wife can apply makeup away from the steam from the shower,” Coile says. A flat screen television hidden in the foot of the bed reinforces the notion that nothing will come between the couple and the water view they cherish.

For entertaining, the basement level sports a home theater with seating for 20 people. A popcorn machine, two lighted movie poster boxes and a wine cellar greet guests in the pub room. Next to the wine cellar, a touch of whimsy reflects the couple’s sense of humor – a “secret room,” accessed via the secret passageway from the upstairs library, has a double-sided mirror, allowing the couple to peek at guests at the bar. “It’s the same glass used in the interrogation rooms by the Baltimore City Police,” Coile says. An adjacent enclosed pool room, lap pool and exercise room allow the couple to stay in shape and another spot to admire the view.

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