Kitchen and Dining Room
Vignette in Dining Room
Owners Chip and Martha Blair FitzGerald
Two FitzGerald homes in Indian Beach are side by side and connected by a walkway
By Lynn R. Parks | Photographs by Carolyn Watson
From the June 2022 issue
More than 30 years ago, Jerry FitzGerald bought a lot on the newly developed Bassett Avenue in Indian Beach, south of Dewey. He and his wife, Jeremy, learned about the new lots on a Saturday night, Jeremy recalls. “We went down and saw them on Sunday morning and said we wanted one. On Monday morning, my husband went to Georgetown and signed the papers, and we started construction right away.”
About a month later, the FitzGeralds also bought the lot next door. Chip FitzGerald, the couple’s son, recalls, “Dad and I were talking one Saturday morning, and I said it would be great if we could build side-by-side.”
In 2019, Chip and his wife, Martha Blair, started construction on their Bassett vacation home. And last summer, just weeks before Jerry’s death, they completed his dream: a walkway connecting the two houses. Wuffie’s Way, named for the pet name Jerry’s grandchildren have for him, goes from Jerry and Jeremy’s pool deck to the younger FitzGeralds’ side door.
“He saw it, and he thought it was wonderful,” Martha Blair says.
The approximately 10-foot walkway, with white railings and engineered-wood flooring, was constructed by Timothy B. O’Hare Custom Builder Inc., based near Ocean View. The firm also built the house, which was designed by architect Greg Hastings with Hastings Associates LLC, located in Ocean View. Martha Blair, who owns FitzGerald Interiors in Chevy Chase, Md. (where she and her husband reside), did her own decorating work.
The main entryway, overlooking a small porch and the front yard, is on the second floor of the three-story home. “With a lot of beach homes, the entry is on the ground floor, and there’s no stairway going up to the front door,” Martha Blair says. “I wanted a more gracious entrance, more curb appeal.”
The foyer, which she calls a highlight of the house, features a three-tiered chandelier made from black cocoa beads that have been strung together. Over a cushioned wooden bench hangs a painting by Richmond, Va., artist Chris Shands.
On this level of the house are the family room and three bedrooms. The great room of the house, as well as Chip and Martha Blair’s bedroom, are on the third floor.
Walls in the great room are white. Two chairs are pale blue and the wool rug is shades of blue and ivory. “On the second floor, I used royal blue for highlights, and on the top floor, powdery hues and turquoise,” Martha Blair says. “I feel like, for houses by the sea, with the ocean, blue is a nice theme. I love all the blues that you see when you’re at the beach.”
The trestle table in the dining area is very pale oak and the chairs are white wicker. A painting by Washington, D.C., and Rehoboth artist Martha Spak hangs on one wall.
Counters in the kitchen are made of quartzite in pale gray, white and blue. The island is painted a denim color, “kind of washed out a little bit,” Martha Blair says. The cabinets are white with iron hardware.
Walls in the main bedroom are blue. “I had a couple of fabrics that I really liked, that drove the design in there,” Martha Blair explains. Also, “I wanted the white headboard to stand out against the wall.”
An upholstered bench sits at the foot of the bed. In addition to blue draperies, the windows are covered with white grass-cloth shades.
The younger FitzGeralds’ home will be on this summer’s Rehoboth Art League Cottage Tour. Jeremy wants tourgoers to take note of practical design elements: the elevator, which can be entered directly from the garage, and the “staging area,” a first-floor room with storage space, coolers, a refrigerator and towels, where people can make final preparations to go to the beach.
Her daughter-in-law hopes that visitors notice her home’s “bright, fun, open beachy feel.” And, of course, Wuffie’s Way.
“Our number one thing was to be next to each other,” she says. “How lucky we were to be able to do it.”