Special: Historic waterman’s home at Bavon renovated for modern use

Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Mar 26, 2014 - 02:25 PM

Photo: From left, Dennis and Brenda Baker thank  their contractors Wayne Milton and Jeff Valdrighi of JTV Construction of Mathews for working hand in hand with them to make their historic Bavon home a dream space for their retirement. Photos by Quinton Sheppard

From left, Dennis and Brenda Baker thank their contractors Wayne Milton and Jeff Valdrighi of JTV Construction of Mathews for working hand in hand with them to make their historic Bavon home a dream space for their retirement. Photos by Quinton Sheppard

After spending nearly 40 years just steps away from the Chesapeake Bay, Dennis Baker and his wife Brenda moved inland; just about a mile into “downtown Bavon,” where, with the help of skilled contractors, they have nearly finished renovating an old waterman’s home with the most intricate of details.

About four decades ago, the Bakers purchased a small cottage on Bavon Beach, which Dennis called a “tar paper shack with a pitcher pump, outhouse and no heat and air.” Though they loved their beach cottage and put years of work into it, the fact that it was only “four feet, three inches” above sea level forced them to sell. “We wanted to get out of the flood zone,” he said.

The Bakers also sold their home in Richmond—both places sold within a month of putting them on the market. “We were homeless for three months,” Dennis joked, after their beach home sold and before they closed on their “new” home on Circle Drive. They stayed with a series of generous friends in the interim.

That new home is actually a 103-year-old waterman’s-style home, common in the Chesapeake Bay area. Their children, in countless childhood visits to Mathews from Richmond, basically grew up hanging out at the Haywood dock on Davis Creek, just a few hundred yards away from where the Bakers’ new home, “Creek View,” sits.

The Bakers knew without a doubt that they wanted to stay in Mathews and also knew they wanted Creek View. “We came to the conclusion we wanted to stay in Mathews,” Dennis said. “We wanted to age in place. We enjoy the scenery and, most importantly, the people who have supported us here over the years.”

With the help of contractors Jeff Valdrighi and Wayne Milton of JTV Construction of Mathews, and architectural drawings of Tim and Frances Hudgins, also of Mathews, the Bakers immediately began putting construction plans for their dream house into action.