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Gibson Island estate on the market for $13.8 million


In Maryland’s Anne Arundel County, there are signs to Gibson Island point 100 East until it becomes Route 177 and comes to a dead end at a security kiosk. It’s less than 50 miles from downtown Washington, but this narrow stretch of road — with the Magothy River to the west and the Chesapeake Bay to the east — looks like another world. And after the barrier goes up, passing through the well-kept residential streets, a house appears on a hill, framed by the river and the bay. It is known to islanders as Villa dei Fiori.

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

The Garretts were a wealthy and prominent Maryland family. 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 as a diplomat in the State Department.

The home on Gibson Island was Garrett’s summer home. Purchased in 1921 for $165,000, the private island 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 public areas of the island and the island has its own police force. The Gibson Island Club (membership by invitation only) includes a nine-hole golf course designed by prominent course architect Charles B. Macdonald, tennis courts, and a clubhouse. There are also private marinas on Gibson Island, which has become known for its sailing culture – one of the main reasons Elizabeth and Mark Rogers purchased Villa dei Fiori in 2005.

Elizabeth Rogers said she fell in love with the home — which had undergone a three-year renovation — when she walked into the open-concept great room, with its six-foot-wide fireplace, original ceiling, and custom Murano chandeliers. The room also has a bar with cherry wood folding doors and a Miele dishwasher. Multiple French doors open to a portico terrace overlooking the water.

“We’re looking right over the Magothy River as it enters the Chesapeake Bay,” Rogers said. “On nights when there are fireworks, you can see the fireworks coming out of Annapolis, and sometimes all the way to Washington, along the water. Very nice.”

The ground floor includes a library with custom cabinetry and marble surrounds a fireplace; a family room; a sun-drenched breakfast nook with large windows; and a kitchen with a cathedral ceiling, where Rogers said her grandchildren love to cook with ingredients from the garden. There is also a bedroom suite with cherry wood floors and a private bathroom, which can be used as a bedroom suite. The Rogers family calls it the “VIP room.”

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

The master bedroom suite has Venetian stucco walls, several cedar walk-in closets and a bathroom with a shower, a freestanding bath and two sinks. This floor has three more bedrooms (one of which is set up as a home gym), each with its own bathroom. There is a mahogany wine cellar, a sauna and a sunlit hallway overlooking the water.

In addition to the main house, the estate has a detached coach house with a home cinema on the first floor and a studio apartment on the second floor. Rogers said the carriage house was occupied in the summer by the captain of her sailboat.

A pool and hot tub behind the house are flanked by two pergolas wrapped in vines. One side of the house has a sculpture garden. A gated path at the front of the house leads to a paved patio at the end of the driveway and to a two-car garage, hidden from view.

Behind the house the grounds slope down to the water and the landscape includes a vineyard, rows of berries and fig and apple trees. There are more than 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 almost like a trip to Italy’s Lake Como, but much closer to her family in Maryland.

“Every morning we wake up and enjoy the home, of Gibson Island, the quiet pleasantness,” Rogers said. “We sit down for breakfast, look at the view and say, ‘It’s just great to be here.’ ”

744 Skywater Road, Gibson Island, Md.

  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 5/9
  • Approximate square footage: The main house is 12,987 square feet; the carriage house is 1,760 square feet.
  • Lot Size: 3.5 hectares
  • Functions: This estate, inspired by the Italian countryside and on the private island of Gibson, is 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 its own bathroom. Notable features include a sauna, hot tub, swimming pool, garden and vineyard. There is room for two vehicles in the garage and for several vehicles on the paved patio at the end of the driveway.
  • Listing Agent: Sarah Kanne, Real Estate of Gibson Island Corp
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