Modern Farmhouse Style
Planning a forever home usually comes with a long wish list.
lesson number 1
For Sherry and Vince Whittles, that list included a little bit of land with a barn, a pool, and a water view. In their minds, 25 acres, give or take, would be just right. They expressed their wishes to their sons, who were equally invested in the search, and the family began their quest.
The hunt yielded a 350-acre piece of farmland in St. Mary’s County on Maryland’s western shore. “At first we thought that it was way too much land for us to manage,” Sherry says. “We didn’t want a lot of maintenance, and we wanted to travel.” But with encouragement from their children and excitement for a new adventure, they purchased it. “We signed the papers seven years ago, and we have never looked back.”
Just like their wish list for the property, they had a wish list for their house. “We didn’t want anything overwhelming,” Sherry says. “We wanted an open, airy farmhouse where we could host family and entertain. We didn’t want any formal spaces.”
The Whittleses sketched a plan and enlisted designer Kate Abt to help refine it. “They didn’t want a lot of fuss,” she says. “It’s a farmhouse with a coastal feel that is cozy, clean, and simple. It’s casual enough that anyone feels welcome, but it’s not so casual that it’s messy.”
Every bit of the design is intentional, and almost every room in the home soaks in views of the tributary leading to the Chesapeake Bay. Rooms are wide open and purposeful with ancillary task spaces that are equally attractive and functional. Furnishings are new, specified to fit the style and scale of the rooms.
Since their move, two of the Whittleses’ sons have built their homes on the property. “We didn’t realize it when we wrote down our wish lists,” Sherry says, “but our top priority was to create a place that we could leave as a legacy to our children.”
Cue historical references. The new hutch in the kitchen is based on an antique from an English haberdashery. “We replicated it down to the finger pulls and sliding glass doors,” designer Kate Abt says.
opposite: An open kitchen was a top priority for Sherry Whittles. “I wanted a big island where people could sit around and hang out,” she says. Pendants over the island are vintage fixtures from Germany. above left: To bring a modern feel to the room, Abt opted for a black finish on the windows and used black quartz on perimeter countertops. above right: Clear glass doors look on to a neatly organized pantry with a sliding ladder that accesses shelving and storage. “We wanted to show off the adjacent room while keeping it separate at the same time,” Abt says. below left: A custom cabinet bridges the space between the kitchen and dining area. The designer and homeowner couldn’t find an antique to fit, so they commissioned a piece from a local cabinetmaker. below right: The only flourish in the kitchen is the stone backsplash above the sink.