Gibson Island estate on the market for $13.8 million

Gibson Island estate on the market for $13.8 million


In Anne Arundel County, Maryland, signs for Gibson Island point 100 East until they merge onto Route 177 and end at a security post. It’s less than 80 miles from downtown Washington, but this narrow stretch of road — with the Magothy River to the west and the Chesapeake Bay to the east — feels like a different world. And after the spire gate rises, past manicured residential streets, a house appears on a hill, framed by the river and bay. It is known to the inhabitants of the island as Villa dei Fiori.

The house, inspired by Italian countryside estates, was built in 1929 for Robert Garrett, winner of six Olympic medals — including gold in the shot put and discus — at the first modern Games in Athens, in 1896. The Baltimore activist was largely responsible for bringing the Boy Scouts of America to the area, and he ran the city’s park and recreation agencies in the 1940s and 1950s until being asked to resign from the Board of Park Commissioners because of his opposition to racial integration.

The Garretts were a prosperous and prominent family in Maryland. Robert was an investment banker and philanthropist as well as an Olympic athlete. An aunt founded the Baltimore Museum of Art, a grandfather ran the nation’s first passenger railroad, and an older brother worked in the State Department as a diplomat.

The Gibson Island house was Garrett’s summer residence. The private island, purchased for $165,000 in 1921, was developed as a summer community and attracted, among others, Baltimore socialites dissatisfied with the quality of the city’s golf courses. Today, it is ranked by Forbes as the 24th most expensive ZIP code in the country.

The Gibson Island Corp. owns the island’s public spaces and the island has a private police force. The Gibson Island Club (membership by invitation only) has, among its other amenities, a nine-hole golf course designed by eminent course designer Charles B. Macdonald, tennis courts and a clubhouse. There are also private marinas on Gibson Island, known for its sailing culture – one of the main reasons Elizabeth and Mark Rogers bought Villa dei Fiori in 2005.

Elizabeth Rogers said she fell in love with the house – which had undergone a three-year renovation – when she entered the open-plan great room, with its six-foot-wide fireplace, its original ceiling and custom Murano chandeliers. The room also has a wet bar with cherry wood folding doors and a Miele dishwasher. Multiple French doors open to an arcaded terrace overlooking the water.

“We’re looking directly at the Magothy River as it enters the Chesapeake Bay,” Rogers said. “On fireworks nights, you can see the fireworks coming out of Annapolis, and sometimes all the way to Washington, along the water. Very very pretty.”

The main floor features a library with custom cabinetry and marble framing a wood-burning fireplace; a family room; a sunny breakfast nook with large windows; and a kitchen with a cathedral ceiling, where Rogers says his grandchildren love to cook with ingredients from the garden. There is also a bedroom, with cherry wood floors and an en-suite bathroom, which could be used as a master bedroom. The Rogers family calls it the “VIP room”.

The master bedroom is reached by descending a spiral staircase with wrought iron balusters created by Patrick Cardine, a renowned blacksmith and designer, some of whose works can be seen at the Washington National Cathedral. The journey to the lower exit level can also be made using an elevator with inlaid wooden carvings.

The master bedroom has Venetian stucco walls, multiple cedar walk-in closets, and a bathroom with a shower, freestanding tub, and two sinks. This floor has three further bedrooms (although one is equipped with a home gym), each with an en-suite bathroom. There is a mahogany wine cellar, a sauna and a sunny hallway with views of the waterfront.

Next to the main residence, the estate has an independent shed with a home cinema on the first floor and a studio on the second. Rogers said the shed was occupied by the captain of his sailboat in the summer.

A swimming pool and hot tub behind the house are flanked by two pergolas surrounded by vines. One side of the house has a sculpture garden. A gated driveway at the front of the house leads to a paved patio at the end of the driveway and a two car garage, out of sight.

Behind the house the property slopes down to the water and the landscape includes a vineyard, rows of berries, fig and apple trees. There are over 25,000 perennial flowers – perhaps the inspiration for the estate’s name, which translates from Italian to “House of Flowers”.

Rogers describes life on the island as a trip to Lake Como in Italy, but much closer to his family in Maryland.

“Every morning we wake up and enjoy the house, loving Gibson Island, the pleasant sweetness,” Rogers said. “We sit down for breakfast, look at the view and say, ‘It’s just wonderful to be here. ”

744 Skywater Rd., Gibson Island, Maryland.

  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 5/9
  • Approximate area: The main house measures 12,987 square feet; the shed is 1,760 square feet.
  • Lot size: 3.5 acres
  • Features: This estate, inspired by the Italian countryside and on private Gibson Island, is up for sale for the first time since 2005. Most of the five bedrooms overlook where the Magothy River meets the Chesapeake Bay, and each has of a bathroom bathroom. Notable features include a sauna, hot tub, pool, garden, and vineyard. There is room for two vehicles in the garage and several more on the paved patio at the end of the driveway.
  • Listing agent: Sarah Kanne, Gibson Island Corp. Immovable

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