Joe and Alyson Kendall may live just minutes from the beaches of Ocean City, but that doesn’t mean their Berlin home is awash (no pun intended) in the conventional nautical décor of seashells and lighthouses.
Instead, the three-year-old, five-bedroom, four-bath home in the upscale development of GlenRiddle features a streamlined, contemporary—yet thoroughly comfortable—aesthetic that would not look out of place in a more cosmopolitan setting. Indeed, the only visible nod to the home’s location is the Ocean City print by local artist Liz Lind above the living-room fireplace.
The couple, who met in Washington, DC, had been living in Frederick when they bought a vacation home in Ocean City. Joe and his mother, June, who operate three retail furniture stores in Maryland, had wanted to expand to the Eastern Shore.
When they opened Kendall Home Furnishings in West Ocean City four years ago, Joe and Alyson thought the area would make an ideal permanent home. They found their dream house in GlenRiddle. Developed by Centex Homes, the residential development features the GlenRiddle Golf Club, with two 18-hole championship golf courses, a marina, and preserved nature areas.
As owners of a home-furnishings store, located just minutes from their home, the couple could have relied solely on the store’s design team to outfit their place, but the Kendalls have a flair for interior design themselves. Fondly calling Joe “my little designer husband,” Alyson, a graphic designer, also brings her own creative sensibility to the mix.
Most of the home’s furnishings—such as the elegant espresso-finish maple dining table by Canadel—come from the store. Complemented by the spring green walls, accompanying chairs are upholstered in an elegant leaf pattern contrasted with inserts of multi-colored geometrics, the latter a fabric Alyson fell in love with and wanted to use all over the chairs. But, she admits with a laugh, “We may own the store, but that doesn’t mean we can afford to have everything in it.” Credit the store’s designers, who came up with the suggestion to mix the two fabrics, with the chairs’ good looks.
“I never would have thought of that myself,” says Alyson.
Soothing earth tones of taupe, oatmeal, and apple green, with pops of color and pattern on both walls and furniture—from orange to animal prints—provide visual interest. And natural materials such as maple floors, iridescent glass tiles, and granite countertops provide texture throughout the home’s first floor, which includes a soaring double-height entryway, office, dining room, living room, family room, kitchen with eat-in alcove, playroom, and nursery for younger son, Brody.
On the second floor, an open loft area provides TV and play space for the boys (“The coffee table is not supposed to have that ‘distressed’ look,” Alyson smiles), a bedroom for older son, Brooks, the couple’s coffered-ceiling master bedroom suite in spa-like tones of blue and chocolate, and a guest bedroom.
As with most seaside homes, there is no basement in the Kendalls’ house, which could have made storage difficult. Instead, built-in cabinets and multi-functional furniture keep clutter under control, even with two young boys in tow.
Speaking of their sons, the Kendalls are especially pleased with how the boys’ bedrooms and playroom turned out. Brooks’ room, with its bright primary colors and Thomas the Tank Engine-themed wallpaper mural, is fit for a young conductor, while Brody’s nursery features an eye-catching, hand-painted wall in calming tones of green, blue, and white. The kids’ playroom sports chalkboard walls and magnetic paint so creative masterpieces can instantly be displayed.
The home, however, isn’t entirely dedicated to the children. Modern features such as stainless-steel appliances, contemporary pendant lighting, detailed crown moulding, and bursts of abstract pattern—from artwork to area rugs—reflect the sophisticated taste of the young homeowners.
What the Kendalls like most about their house, they say, is its openness. Alyson, who works from home, especially appreciates being able to see the couple’s two boys from almost every vantage point inside.
“There’s a flow that makes it easy to use all the space we have,” she says. “It’s an easy house to live in.”