Taylor's Cove is a pet project of Tony Offut, Principal and owner of Dittmar Construction. Seth Ballard's Grandfather was Treasurer of Dittmar working with Tony's father and Seth worked for Dittmar in summers from 1984- 1988. As a laborer, Seth credits Tony for helping to develop his work ethic. One of many quotes such as "boy I could throw a stick in there and it would move faster than you" developed into a pride as Seth became a harder worker and then later went on to architecture school. As the Ballard family is still a shareholder in some of the Dittmar properties, Seth had remained in touch with Tony throughout the years. With most of Ballard Mensua's projects being residential, and most of Dittmar's being larger commercial projects, the relationship had remained as friends. However, when Tony was looking to further develop his plan for the Taylor's Cove Property, he came to Seth and Ballard Mensua for help.
After having a Dittmar employee become totally handicapped and in a wheelchair full time, Tony really gained an appreciation for the limits that a wheelchair can put on a person. Tony has grown up with family property on the water in St. Mary's, Maryland and brought his friend fishing and realized the difficulties of getting a wheelchair onto a dock, moving around a house not prepared for access and then even further onto a boat.
This led to some research into what facilities there may be for those in wheelchairs, and even for Veterans with injuries that limit their movement. He found that there is a major need for a place that could be fully accessible, that would provide access for either a family that wanted to bring along an elder in a wheelchair, for VA groups, or other groups who could benefit from a fully accessible property.
The existing Taylor's Cove property had a house on it and had served as a marina over time, complete with a campground and several docks, and a parking area by the water. By the time he hired Ballard Mensua, Tony had already renovated the interior of the house to provide an accessible home with several bedrooms.
The goal of the project was to beautify the exterior, provide some shade and exterior spaces to enjoy the views, provide a ramp into the home, provide a deck by the water that is accessible, provide accessible hiking trails to move to the campground and around the property and docks, provide a fully accessible fire pit area and to dress up all of the existing sheds and outbuildings to unify the overall architectural look and feel of the property. Also, Tony wanted to add stone and trim to the exterior and landscaping.
The before and after shots of this project tell a great story we feel of what a good client with a vision and a good architect can do for a property. We are very proud of the result.