Monday, April 19, 2010

Change is Good

Change can be scary for many people, and when change comes in the form of being laid off, it can be devastating!  But for one couple, change meant listening their hearts and following their dreams.

When Greg and Sonya Carpenter were both laid off after more than 20 years of service at their respective companies, life as they knew it was turned upside down.  And to make matters worse, they had just purchased what they hoped would eventually become their dream home along the shores of the Patuxent River.  But not only did they make lemonade when life handed them lemons, they also made huge career changes and began turning their dream into a reality.

With several generations of builders in his family, Greg went from working for a phone company to doing what his family knew best, construction.  His company, Simply Home, specializes in home renovation, repair, design, and new construction.  Sonya found a new career path as well and landed a job working for the government. And though they consider themselves fortunate to have both found new occupations, it hasn't been easy.   They have spent the last four years putting their blood, sweat, and tears into building a home that embraces their casual coastal setting and laid back lifestyle.

Through hard work and perseverance, the Carpenter's tiny 1970's rambler has been transformed into a coastal home that has plenty of space and charm to spare!  It's still a work in progress, but Greg and Sonya are finally able to reap the rewards of all of their hard work.  And they were gracious enough to let me invade their space last weekend so that I could share their beautiful home with all of you!

From the moment you step in the front door, you know you are walking in to a home that was built with love and attention to detail.

A view of the foyer looking towards the front door shows the classic board and batten wainscoting Greg built.  The crisp white paint punctuates the paneling and is reminiscent of classic seaside New England architecture.

The foyer opens on to the living and dining rooms, both rooms have a more traditional feel, something Sonya wanted for more formal occasions.

Although the living room is more formal, the Carpenters selected comfortable seating, like this beautiful white sofa.

The couple also loves collecting unique pieces of furniture and accessories and uses them throughout the house.  The Victrola pictured above is not only a wonderful accent piece, but is also fully functional and Greg and Sonya play it from time to time.

And no waterfront home in Maryland is complete without at least one crab on display!

The living and dining rooms flow right into the gourmet kitchen, making it ideal for entertaining.

The kitchen is bright and airy with expansive water views.

Custom cabinetry made by Greg's brother is highlighted by beautiful red oak flooring.  Inset doors and drawers, glass fronted cabinets, and brushed nickel hardware give the kitchen timeless appeal.

Blue walls with a glazed finish hand painted by Greg, along with red accents, such as the chair pads and bar stool covers, add a nautical flare to the kitchen.

The nine foot island features a prep sink and provides plenty of extra counter space.  

A restaurant style gas cooktop is a cook's dream, while absolute black granite adds contrast to the white cabinetry and compliments the island's granite perfectly.

A backsplash of white mini subway tiles is easy to maintain and continues the clean lines of the space.  A niche behind the cooktop provides easy access to frequently used oils and spices.

Greg and Sonya have traveled the world drinking wine and collecting the corks which they have used to create a unique and charming cork board for behind their message center in the kitchen.

Unable to find a range hood that would fit their space, or one that appealed to them, Greg stick built and hand plastered a custom hood to go above the cooktop.

A dark stained round table provides plenty of seating in the breakfast area and compliments the round chandelier that he couple bought from Restoration Hardware.

Located just off of the kitchen is a seating area which leads to the waterfront deck.  The green barrel chairs were a recent purchase from The Vintage Source and go beautifully with the soft green walls in the family room.  A 22 foot beadboard ceiling, walls of windows, and family mementos, such as the water skis (which were once owned by Greg's father) hanging on the wall, all add character to the room.

Floor to ceiling windows flood the family room with natural light, while a massive stone fireplace helps to ground the large space and give it scale.  Slipcovered furniture from Ikea gives the room a casual feel and is ideal for standing up to wet bathing suits and sandy feet!

A game room located just off of the family room features a pool table, poker table, and bar.

It also provides Greg with a place to display his extensive sports memorabilia collection.

But even among all of the testosterone driven decor of the game room, there are still feminine touches to be found, like this beautiful bronze mermaid statue.

The staircase is yet another one of Greg's masterpieces.  The entire staircase was built by hand and he even incorporated a subtle fish detail for a bit of whimsy.  

A lovely stone mermaid welcomes guests upstairs.

At the top of the stairs more barrel chairs provide a small sitting area which overlooks the family room below.  Greg and Sonya plan to replace the Danish pine armoire with built-in bookcases in the future.

Upstairs are four bedrooms, including a large master suite.  The guest bath, pictured above, continues the nautical theme with white beadboard wainscoting, blue walls, and vintage inspired Kohler fixtures.  Greg and Sonya are still looking for an antique clawfoot tub to complete the bathroom.

The upstairs master suite is a delight for the senses!  An abundance of natural light paired with simple furnishings makes the room a calm and restful retreat after a long days work.

Pillows the couple had made from fabric they purchased in Hawaii adds a punch of color to the room and echos the blues of the water outside.

French doors lead from the master bedroom on to a private second floor balcony which takes full advantage of the magnificent water views!  Who wouldn't want to wake up to that view?!  It would be like being on vacation every day of the week!

The master bath is equally as beautiful as the bedroom and features a soothing color palette of whites, tans, and creams.

The large walk in shower is accented by deep azure blue tiles and a natural stone floor, creating a spa like atmosphere.

Even the lighting in the bathroom screams luxury.  Greg painted the crystal chandelier white and antiqued it to give it an aged feel.

Natural stone counters, double sinks, and white cabinetry are as practical as they are beautiful and make the master bath the perfect spot to start and end each day.  

A third floor office and media room are still being completed and provide even more space for the Carpenters, who love to entertain family and friends at their gorgeous home.

I hope you've enjoyed your little tour of their home, and I want to give a special thanks to Greg and Sonya for inviting me to feature it!

If you would like to contact Greg Carpenter of Simply Home to have him help make your dreams become a reality, you can contact him via email at or by phone at 301-884-8420.  And be sure to visit his website by clicking HERE!!


  1. Kat, thanks so much for sharing this wonderful home. I love, love and did I say love that kitchen. Love the colors throughout the home and what wonderful views of the water from the bedroom. Love the bead board in the bathroom. That is what I would love to have, but husband does not see the need for it.

  2. Gorgeous home and the kitchen is fantastic! The view from the master...oh my.

  3. Oh Kat, this home is simply divine. I would snap Greg up in a heartbeat, to build my next home...... if he was in the same hemisphere! A-M xx

  4. This home is so lovely, Kat~ I can't even pick a favorite! Inspiring place~ thanks for sharing it with us!

  5. What a gorgeous home, thanks for sharing this. I adore that kitchen. And the master bedroom is amazing, what views! Kathy

  6. Wow, I guess that house can be his portfolio. He certainly knows what he is doing! Love the cork board!

  7. Just beautiful! I love everything about this home for sure, and they have done a fantastic job! Thank you for sharing their story and their gorgeous home.

  8. WOW! Kathy you did a beautiful job capturing the details of this home. We spend a lot of time with Greg and Sonya and love the passion they share. Greg always has the best ideas for people and Sonya is truly gifted with her decorating and details. Love the fish on the staircase. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Just beautiful... if I could crash in that bedroom, that would be heavenly. That view...ahhh. Everything, just gorgeous.

  10. Such wonderful inspiration...Thank you for sharing!

  11. What a beautiful home. I love all the open spaces, personal touches and the breathtaking view. Thanks for sharing it with us, Kat....Christine

  12. What a beautiful home. Sonya and Greg have done a fabulous job. So light and airy. Perfect for their setting.

    Thanks for commenting today on my Grand Entrance Doors post. I bet your not giving your entrance enough credit!


  13. Wow this is a grogeous home:)

    You did a fantastic job on the review. The background was great and I feel you gave the house the justice it deserved.

    The house itself is magnificent. I am in awe of David's craftmanship.

    I love the family room and game room the best:)

  14. This is a really tasteful approach at nautical decor. I've seen some places that get wrapped up in a theme and it overwhelms their home. Very nice!

  15. You captured so many beautiful details of this gorgeous coastal home. Love the chandelier that Greg painted and the mermaids and of course the crab. Love the kitchen and the detail on that white island. ~Lili

  16. I am glad those beautiful green chairs found the perfect home. And you found a fabulous project, great job.

  17. wow, these are all fab... thanks for sharing!

  18. Love their house!! such great ideas they have!

  19. Would love to know the colors in this home..they are gorgeous and compliment each other so well!

  20. The home is beautiful I would love to know what color paint was used in the kitchen. Thank you

  21. Hi Dennis, I don't know the color used unfortunately but if I find out I will post it here!

    Kat :)

  22. I know I have asked this before...and I can't remember if you please forgive me. :-)

    Could you please tell me the blue in the kitchen? and the blue bath?



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