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.”
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!”
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