(This article is part of a series that spotlights historic houses in Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, Kent, and Queen Anne’s County. These homes have withstood the test of time and are being given new life by the younger generation that lives in them presently.)
Dylan and Carolina Peter did not intend to buy another old house. The couple had just finished renovating a historic carriage house in Queenstown when they stumbled upon the listing for Pascal’s Chance in Centreville.
Carolina explained they “almost jokingly” requested a showing the weekend before Thanksgiving of 2019.
The circa-1820 house was bank-owned and had sat vacant for three years.
“Paint was falling off the walls, there were so many cracked and broken windows, there was no lighting so it was so dark,” recalled Carolina.
The doors had been left unlocked and garbage and graffiti littered the home. The landscaping and gardens surrounding the home were overgrown with neglect.
The house would require a major renovation.
They had to have it.
After submitting an offer, jumping through the hoops that come with purchasing a bank-owned property and selling their first home, the couple finally settled on Pascal’s Chance in April 2020.
Selling one historic home and purchasing another may not make sense to some, but the Peters share a passion for restoring “diamonds in the rough.” Dylan, who serves as a director at a fibers company in Chestertown, and Carolina, a labor and delivery nurse at Anne Arundel Medical Center, have come a long way since meeting as teens in a driver’s education class.
Tackling this house would be one of their biggest challenges yet.
One of the first tasks was taking care of the peeling paint and making the house weathertight. Carolina’s father, David Burack, a painting contractor, and Carolina recalled his eagerness to tackle the interior with the help of Carolina’s brother Joseph. “My dad and brother were in here at 4 a.m. the day after settlement with headlamps on,” she recalled fondly.
In the months that followed, lighting was installed, almost 40 windows were replaced with Thompson Creek windows, and the original wood floors were refinished by Floors and Beyond. The rest of the work was done by Dylan and Carolina.
“It’s been a process,” Dylan laughed.
With their toddler Greta in tow and baby Lottie on the way, they moved into the house in July of 2020 and began making it their home.
Dylan shared that the house’s all-brick construction helps keep it warm in the winter and quiet in storms.
The five fireplaces and chimneys were recently repointed and inspected, and provide a lovely ambiance for family gatherings or quiet evenings at home.
The brick-floored family room boasts a huge fireplace but is softened by a comfy white sectional sofa and the girls’ play kitchen.
Dylan and Carolina chose a classic and functional aesthetic to decorate their home.
For example, the kitchen cabinets are from IKEA, but the fronts were American-made, ordered unfinished, customized by Dylan, and then painted by Carolina.
She purposefully chose a finish that is easy to clean and holds up to daily life with two little ones and Finley, the family dog.
Built-in bookshelves frame the dining room and showcase books on every subject.
Gallery walls of black and white photos of the family add a personal touch to the expansive plaster walls.
The couple also chose to maintain elements of the home that are part of its history and character, such as the original molding and the circa 1930’s wallpaper in the playroom.
Many pieces of furniture, with the exception of a few, were sourced locally through Facebook Marketplace.
Other pieces were acquired from family, like the beautiful bed in Greta’s room that belonged to Carolina’s great-grandmother.
While there is a master suite downstairs adjoining the butler’s pantry and dining room, it needs renovation.
In the meantime, Carolina and Dylan chose to have their bedroom be upstairs near the girls’ rooms.
When Carolina’s father and brother were scraping and sanding the mantel in the upstairs master bedroom she asked them not to repaint it, opting instead to go with a shabby-chic look that showcases the multiple colors of paint that have been applied over the years.
Before changing hands a few times, Pascal’s Chance had been in the same family for several decades.
The Peters were happy to learn their neighbor was a daughter of that family and even got married at the house.
She also revealed that her late mother had been a Master Gardener and installed the landscaping that still surrounds the house today, including the beautiful Japanese-inspired fish ponds outside the kitchen windows.
When the Peters purchased the house the ponds had been drained and covered with plywood. Similarly, Carolina’s mother Julie discovered another surprise during the showing when they were touring the house — a concrete pool and hot tub that had not been mentioned in the listing.
Concealed by a cover and a blanket of pine needles, this backyard oasis sat hidden in plain sight.
The ponds have since been refilled, the flowerbeds restored, the pool and hot tub cleaned and reopened, and a playhouse placed next to the smokehouse adjacent to the kitchen.
The beautiful house on the hill that sat empty for years is now a place filled with the love of a family, the laughter of little girls, the barking of a beloved Golden Retriever, and the conversation of guests enjoying holiday dinner.
The Peter family has truly given Pascal’s Chance a second chance.
To see more photos of the renovation and stay up to date on their future projects, follow Carolina Peter on Instagram (@mythreeweekfix).