The plan Nick Cannistraro and his wife had for their post-retirement home started off like those of most couples in their situation.
“We decided we were going to downsize, which is what we officially advertised we were doing,” said Cannistraro, a former Washington Post senior vice president who left the newspaper in 1993 to become chief marketing officer of the Newspaper Association of America. “It didn’t turn out to be that way.”
Cannistraro’s wife lamented that when her parents retired, they moved into a small house that left little room for her sister or her when they went to visit.
“She said, ‘Let’s build a house where both our kids and their children have a place to sleep.’ More than just a place to sleep, but really would be comfortable and make them feel welcome,” Cannistraro said. “That’s why we built such a big house so late in our life.”
Cannistraro also had an affinity for large homes. Having grown up in a 1905 house where the rooms were tiny, he preferred an open layout.
“I wanted a house that had a lot of space,” he said.
Because they also needed a place for their boat, the Cannistraros picked the waterside enclave of Amberley in Annapolis. Their property includes 126 feet of waterfront along Whitehall Creek and an eight-foot pier.
They initially planned to renovate the house that was on the property. But they wanted to make such significant changes to the home, it quickly became obvious it would be better to tear it down and start anew.
That’s when they began perusing William E. Poole’s Williamsburg Historical Collection portfolio, a company that has been licensed by the Historic Foundation of Colonial Williamsburg to replicate the city’s historic homes.
“We’re Williamsburg fans,” said Cannistraro, who estimates they have visited the city at least 25 times. They also are members of Colonial Williamsburg Burgesses, one of the donor societies.
The Cannistraros decided on a replica of the Robert Nicolson House, a gambrel-roofed, side-passage home built in about 1750.
“We bought the study plans of that and turned it over to a local builder,” Cannistraro said. “When we finalized the plans, we made quite a lot of radical changes. We added the replica of the Tayloe Office, and then we liked the idea of a grouping of outbuildings.”
The Tayloe Office is one of seven outbuildings that surrounded the Tayloe House, an 18th-century dwelling in Williamsburg.
The result was a 2005 home that has all the character of a historic house and all the modern conveniences of a newly built one. The master suite is on the first floor. The house has a large kitchen with an island, an exercise room, a screened porch and a two- guest suite or office with a private entrance. There’s also a saltwater swimming pool and a three-car garage.
The six-bedroom, seven-bathroom, 7,417-square-foot house is listed at just under $2.1 million. An open house is scheduled for Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Listing: 772 N. Holly Dr., Annapolis, Md.
Listing agent: Sandra Libby, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
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