The Cottage Nestled in the Woods
The Eastern Shore of Virginia just got a little cozier. Bay Creek in Cape Charles, VA, has experienced phenomenal growth since the pandemic, from large homes being constructed on the Chesapeake Bay to cottages. Since cottages seem to be a favorite home design in many master-planned communities on the East Coast, Ideal-LIVING is pleased to showcase this
cottage nestled in the woods of Bay Creek.
“It is so great to be in the woods; it’s so peaceful. The dappled light through the trees is amazing. It’s a home built with love. It is truly a home full of love from the designer to the builder to the contractors. It just makes you happy to be in this house,” says homeowner Linda Buskey.
Renowned home designer and president of Our Town Plans, Suzanne Stern originally designed this cottage for her own personal home. Since then, many others have chosen this plan based on its livability and timeless beauty. Stern designs and sells home plans around the country that can be modified to suit the homeowner’s needs. She says, ”It’s a different vernacular in the Southeast, with big porches and enjoyment of outdoor spaces. The porches are so inviting in communities like Bay Creek, where people are out in the neighborhood enjoying their neighbors. I like when people make my designs their own; it always makes me happy to see what people do with their homes based on my original design. However, it has been really special this time because Linda has been so gracious about sharing all of the details, keeping me updated, and inviting me to see it.”
This venture was a fun project from the start. Buskey had chosen the cottage design and had pictures to share her vision with the builder and contractors. Mary-Dolph Simpson of Simpson builders said, “This design is classic. I’ve been custom building for 27 years, and this design by Suzanne Stern is probably the house that I have received the most calls or comments on.” Located on a culdesac that backs to a nature preserve, this home was pushed back as far as possible as Linda said it should be nestled in the trees. Simpson says, “Linda loves landscaping, and this takes advantage of the natural setting. It’s very peaceful. You can get out of your car and just exhale. The home is very traditional. We wanted it to look like a historic Eastern Shore home. It’s perfect for her lifestyle that is filled with entertaining.”
On the exterior, they chose a detached garage with a clam shell driveway bordered with cobblestone and copper lanterns. Simpson says, “The house speaks for itself without anything in it. It has Linda’s personality. The kitchen and gathering room is one big open room with lots of glass that brings in the trees and forest. It really feels like you are in the woods. The whole main living area encompasses that backyard in the woods.”
At 2,800 square feet, the home feels even larger with 10-foot ceilings, cased doors with transoms, and detailed crown molding. It has plenty of storage, including a walk-in attic. Simpson said, “Linda wanted it to look timeless. We found a brick that looked old for the fireplace. We are fortunate to have a custom cabinet maker that makes all of those cabinets. People often think custom cabinetry is more expensive, but it isn’t necessarily so.” Buskey’s bedroom is secluded from the gathering room and kitchen, but all these rooms open onto the screened porch on the back. She even has a library and a gallery for her art collection. Upstairs is the perfect place to house her many guests, complete with an additional gathering room that will give all their privacy.
Stern encourages everyone to know what they are getting architecturally before committing to anything. She emphasizes the importance of evaluating how you live in your home and incorporating that into your home design. “Think about the size of rooms that you are currently living in, the relationship of rooms to each other, and how you plan to live in the new home—which rooms will you live in. For example, people downsizing might mainly live in their kitchen, living area, and bedroom, so you might want to keep those closer. Spend more time on the interior than what it looks like on the outside. People often don’t realize how important storage is. Think about whether you want a walk-in pantry or if you need a separate laundry room.” While Stern continues to design and present CAD drawings, she does use a company that can complete 3D renderings to get a feel for what you want. She says, “It’s like magic. You can see as much as you are willing to pay for.”
Stern beams, “I’m so happy for Linda, and it’s great to see so much construction in Bay Creek. It’s wonderful to see how vibrant the community has become.”