The 2003 shingle-style house has river views from every room. (Michele Sheiko/Michele Sheiko)

When the sellers first came across this stretch of land along the banks of the South River in Annapolis, the location was exactly what they were looking for, but the house on it wasn’t quite right. Rather than try to retrofit it to their needs, they started anew, hiring Bob Hammond of Hammond Wilson Architects and Pyramid Builders to build them their dream home.

The shingle-style homes of Shelter Island and eastern Long Island provided the inspiration for the 2003 house, while its serpentine layout came from the setback requirements for waterfront property. Hammond also didn’t want an extended glass wall across the back, which “would be overwhelming,” he told Chesapeake Home. (The magazine featured the house in 2004.) Instead, he designed the layout to zigzag in a way that would capitalize on the panoramic views of the water in each room.

Nestled into the left side of the home’s gabled entrance is its most unusual feature: the four-story observation tower. Hammond initially balked at including it in his design.

“I didn’t think it was going to work,” Hammond told Chesapeake Home. “I had never done anything like that before.”

But the owner really wanted it and persuaded him to give it a try. With a bit of ingenuity, Hammond figured out a way to incorporate the tower, making it appear as though a lighthouse had sprouted from the side of the house. The construction of the tower was an engineering marvel, involving 76 steel structures that were welded together before being placed by a crane onto a concrete foundation. Inside the tower, the stairs are detached from the walls, making them appear to float to the top.

When you enter the house, the public spaces on the main level unfurl to the left, while the master suite unspools to the right. The living, dining and family rooms flow into one another with the kitchen serving as the hub. An all-season sunroom overlooks the heated pool.

Because the owners wanted to preserve the natural look of the grassy lawn, they eschewed the traditional patio. Instead, the pool has a thin flagstone lip that separates it from the grass. Flagstones laid in a grid pattern with grass “grout” define the entertaining space, which includes a wet bar, outdoor shower, hot tub and a firepit. Stairs lead to a long private pier and 360 feet of waterfront. A motor court with facing three-car garages is cleverly tucked out of sight.


Stairs in tower (Michele Sheiko/Michele Sheiko)

Hammond’s design received awards from the Maryland Society of the American Institute of Architects and the AIA Chesapeake Bay Chapter. Jurors said “From the outside of the home, the architecture reflects the scale of a traditional shingle-style home, but inside one is able to capture the grand spaces and volumes that the modern homeowner anticipates. The marriage of those two is a strong component in this plan.”

The five-bedroom, seven-bathroom, 8,796-square-foot house on 1.7 acres is listed at just under $7 million.

Listing: 995 Melvin Rd., Annapolis, Md.

Listing agent: Georgie Berkinshaw, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

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