(This article is part of a series that spotlights historic farmhouses in Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, Kent and Talbot counties. These homes are being given new life by the younger generation that lives in them presently.)
Last year when the Catrup Farm on Dover Road in Talbot County was put on the market, Jason and Casey Councell jumped at the chance to make it their family home.
The circa 1900 farmhouse sits stately at the end of a long drive lined with mature cedars, and is surrounded by barely more than 120 acres of farmland.
The sellers, Terry and Barbara Mullikin, had lovingly renovated and restored the home over the years but they were looking to downsize.
One can imagine what a difficult decision it would be to sell a home that had been in the same family for generations.
Luckily, the sale of this property wasn’t a cold, formal affair; it was more of a “Thank you for all your hard work. We promise to take care of this place like you did.”
The landscaping around the house includes antique farm implements surrounded by lilies, butterfly bushes, daffodils, and a host of other plants that Barbara assured Casey she would come over and identify for her later this spring.
Among the many trees that shade the house is one that was grown from a sapling of the Wye Oak, complete with certificate of authenticity. Just beyond the blueberry bushes, which will provide sweet treats for the kids this summer, is an outhouse.
Now just used for decoration, it was once an important fixture of this property.
Although Jason, Casey, Avery, 11, Davis, 10, and Sydney, 7, moved into the house in February, Casey said she was surprised when it “instantly felt like home.”
The home has several windows in each room that let in an abundance of natural light, and thoughtful touches like built-in bookcases and crown molding are throughout the rooms.
Terry and Barbara had overhauled the house approximately 20 years ago, taking it down to the studs in order to insulate the home and put up drywall in place of the original plaster.
Jason and Casey made this house feel even more like home by doing some cosmetic updates.
The kitchen was remodeled to provide more workspace and a pantry with sliding barn-style doors to provide easy access.
The existing skylight above adds to the bright, clean feel of the kitchen’s white-on-white aesthetic. Casey’s father, Charlie Morris, installed the cabinets that were designed by Jocelyn Phan at Kitchen Creations.
Morris and some family friends stained and installed an Amish-built butcher-block island top, Corian countertops, and vinyl plank flooring throughout the downstairs with the exception of the living room and downstairs bedroom. Fresh paint and carpeting brightened the space even more.
Although this house is well more than a century old, inside it feels brand new.
While the Councells love their home for all of its charm, living space, and outbuildings, there are a few features that they especially cherish.
Firstly, the laundry chute: Discreetly hidden behind a door in a massive, custom, built-in dresser in the master bedroom, the chute goes straight down to the laundry room below.
Next is the basement, which provides an abundance of storage for decor, hunting gear, and seasonal items.
Beautiful whole-log support beams run overhead, quite different from the milled lumber that is used in modern homes.
Lastly, the screen porch on the back of the house is the perfect place to catch up with friends and family and relax in the breeze.
Casey looks forward to fixing up the potting shed next to the driveway.
Jason explained that at one time it would have served as a milkhouse, and the pump next to it would have been used to pump cool water into the house to help refrigerate cans of fresh milk.
They also look forward to painting the shed that Avery and Sydney have claimed as their clubhouse, having already added a comfy chair, posters, and stuffed animals.
Part of the old smokehouse will be turned into a heated doghouse for their beloved Golden Retriever, Waylon.
Although Jason, Casey, and their children had been happy in their previous home, a farmhouse on his family’s farm in Cordova, they are so glad to have fallen in love with this beautiful property.
“I don’t know why it felt like home so quickly, but we were able to feel comfortable here so fast,” Casey said thoughtfully.
The old saying rings true: “Home is where the heart is.”