Photographs by Celia Pearson

When coming across photos of architect Marta Hansen’s award-winning, pavilion-style home in a Maryland home design magazine, Fred Sheckells says he knew he was seeing something quite special.

A local luxury homes builder, Sheckells held onto the publication for a decade before contacting Hansen, principal of Hansen Architects Annapolis, to ask if she’d design a similarly styled home for his family.

“I took it to Marta and said, ‘I have a vision here, but I need you to refine it,’” recalls Sheckells, owner of Ten Oaks Homes.

At the time, Sheckells, his wife, Jessie, and their children, Gordon and Elsa, were living in a 2,200-square-foot tenant house on Jessie’s family farm in Monkton. They wanted to stay on the property, but were ready to build their own home.

“I wanted a home that took advantage of the views and had a lot of light,” says Sheckells. Hansen was happy to oblige. “It’s an abstraction of a Maryland Colonial,” she says. “I love traditional form and I love minimalism, but I don’t like modernism. It’s gotten too antiseptic. Pavilion-style breaks the house into three boxes that are linked with glass [breezeways]. Separating the three boxes gives more daylight and better ventilation. A lot of the rooms have windows on three sides. I love the pitched roof and the simple squares. We get rid of the crown molding, but the house still has character and warmth without a lot of clutter.”

“We wanted a big, wide open entertainment area that was informal,” says Fred Sheckells. “It’s classic. We have formal spaces, but we spend 75 percent of our time watching TV in that room.”

Says Sheckells, who served as the project’s general contractor: “My aesthetic is simple lines but not contemporary or modern. That’s how Marta was helpful. The house respects the local architecture, the old farmhouses in Monkton, but [those houses] are hard to reproduce using modern materials.”

In fact, Sheckells’ expertise in state-of-the-art building techniques led to his decision to have components of the house pre-constructed in a local factory operated by Blueprint Robotics. The house was then assembled on the home site.

The home, which won a 2018 Merit Award from the Chesapeake Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects, features such environmentally responsible attributes as geothermal heating, cooling, extra insulation and cement-based siding.

Jessie Sheckells was responsible for the home’s interior design. “Living in an all white house was a challenge. I wanted to soften the space without dulling it, so I decided to use darker pieces of furniture and fun art to create a happy melody of modern, antique and whimsy. Each piece of furniture, art and object tells a personal story. I have memories tied to everything and to me that makes a home.

Hansen is a big fan of Jessie’s eye for interior design. “My respect for her is so high,” she says. “I’m a minimalist, but what Jessie does is so rich. She combines such complex [design elements], and it works!”

One of two breezeways that connect the three sections of the family’s pavilion-style home, provides abundant light and “a great connection to the back patio,” says homeowner Fred Sheckells. “When the sun sets, it looks like the sky is on fire.” Another benefit? “We like to entertain a lot, and it’s wide enough for the traffic flow.”
The Sheckells’ 8-by-12-foot mudroom serves as a bedroom for the family’s three dogs as well as a place for shoes, coats and bookbags.
The Sheckells’ formal living room is “cozy but big enough to entertain,” says Fred Sheckells. “We’ve had a few family gatherings there and it’s everybody’s favorite room.” The green chair dates back to 1977 when purchased for the Fallston home of Fred Sheckells’ parents.
Jessie Sheckells purchased the family’s formal dining room table, a favorite piece of her husband, on Antique Row in Cockeysville. The painting behind the dining room table, purchased at a Ladew Gardens art show, is by Charles Leake.
A second breezeway mirrors the space used for the family’s mudroom. Like everywhere else in the home, it’s designed to maximize light.
The Sheckells’ kitchen “was all Marta’s [Hansen, architect] vision,” says Fred Sheckells.
The antique benches on either side of one of the breezeways was given to the family by Jessie Sheckells’ mother.
When designing the master bedroom, the homeowners wanted to orient it so they could see the sunrise from the 6-by-6-foot window across from their bed. “I don’t like setting alarm clocks,” says Fred Sheckells. “It’s nice to let the sun wake us up.” The cheerful, colorful linens are from Anthropologie.

More In News

All In News »