- The Washington Times - Friday, February 13, 2009

The charms of Maryland’s Eastern Shore are well-known to many Washingtonians who enjoy exploring charming waterside towns, boating, fishing and crabbing or just views of the Chesapeake Bay and assorted waterways.

In recent years, homebuyers have recognized the value of buying a home that can function as a vacation home now and a retirement home later. Some buyers even choose to live year-round on the Eastern Shore, telecommuting or commuting part time to work in Washington.

Keswick Homes is now building upscale custom homes at Marea on St. Michaels Island, where 16 single-family homes will be built on 1- to 2-acre lots. Residents can explore St. Michaels or visit nearby Easton and Annapolis.

The homes, priced from $1,734,990 to $2,234,990, have from 3,292 to 5,655 finished square feet.

While buyers can opt for custom features, the standard features on these homes include brick fronts and sides with fiber-cement siding on the back, a side-entry three-car garage, professional landscaping, a mahogany front door, a slate front walk and a slate or brick front stoop.

Inside, standard features include four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, a formal foyer, a gas fireplace, hardwood floors on the main level and upper-level hall; an oak staircase, French doors, 9- and 10-foot-high ceilings, recessed lighting, decorative columns, high-tech wiring and crown and chair-rail moldings. Each kitchen has granite counters and a granite center island, raised-panel cabinets, hardwood floors, upgraded appliances, a built-in desk and an adjacent breakfast area. The master suite includes a coffered ceiling and a luxury bath with ceramic tile floors, two separate vanities, a soaking tub and a separate shower. Each home has a rough-in for a lower-level bath, gas hot water and dual-zone gas heat and electric air conditioning.

Buyers can opt for a detached garage with living space above, a sunroom, an exercise room, a media room, a wine cellar, a first-floor bedroom, a finished lower level and a third-floor loft.

The Edenton model, with 5,517 finished square feet, is priced from $2,034,990. This home has a columned portico entrance leading into the foyer, which is flanked by the study and the formal living room. Directly in front of the foyer is a two-story hall with stairs to the upper and lower levels and two angled walls of windows.

The study has a coffered ceiling. The living room opens into the formal dining room, which is defined by columns. Buyers can add a two-sided gas fireplace to warm these two rooms.

At the back of the home is a gathering room or great room with a fireplace and windows on three sides. Nearby are a morning room with a wall of windows and the center-island kitchen, which has a walk-in pantry. A butler’s pantry links the dining room with the kitchen and the morning room.

This level also has a powder room, a rear staircase to the upper level and a family foyer entrance from the garage along with a mudroom with a bench. Buyers can add porches to the back of the house.

Upstairs, the master suite has a separate sitting room, a wet bar and a dressing area surrounded by three walk-in closets. Double doors link the luxury bath with the dressing area.

Three more bedrooms on this level each have a private full bath. In addition, this level has a laundry room and a “brain space” or children’s study with an optional built-in desk.

Buyers can finish the lower level with a recreation room, exercise room, wet bar, media room and bath. Other choices include an extended main-level gathering room with a fifth bedroom and bath above it, a third-level loft and an office or guest room with a full bath above the garage. Even the garage can be accessorized with a garden room and tractor or bike storage areas.

For information or directions to Keswick Homes at Marea, call Carolina Barksdale of Lacaze Meredith Real Estate at 443/786-0348 or 410/822-8186, ext. 111 or visit www.keswickhomes.com.

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