When asked to describe the historic 26-acre waterfront Georgian estate that she called home for 25 years, the current owner Liz Munz can’t help musing: “It’s quite unusual.”
The property, located in Annapolis, Maryland, less than an hour outside of Washington, D.C., was constructed in 1908 in a colonial style, all brick and shingles, with an interior that is as lavish as it is pedigreed – some of the rooms were custom-painted by Warnock Studios, which is recognized for its work at the White House.
The home spans eight bedrooms (six in the main home and two in the staff quarters) and six full bathrooms and one half bath, and it was built by industrial magnate Sylvester Labrot Sr., who – among other things – developed the formula for bourbon and owned a creosote factory in New Orleans.
The Annapolis home was his family’s summer escape, just one part of a 3,000-acre estate and summer home that Labrot commissioned architect Douglas H. Thomas to create (Arlene Critzos designed the interiors).
The property has also hosted a number of A-list celebrities – both past and present. Labrot’s granddaughter wrote a book about the estate, and in it she detailed the time Amelia Earhart, a friend of the family, paid a visit to the Labrots. “She flew an airplane and landed in a cow pasture and was having lunch with the family, and the cows decided to eat the rice paper off of her wings, so she couldn’t fly home,” Munz recalls.
“They had to provide transportation for her to get home and someone had to come down there to fix the airplane so that she could fly out. That was sometime in the early 30s.” Seventy years later, the George Clooney–helmed movie Syriana was filmed on the property; at one point, Christopher Plummer was filmed in another movie coming out of the couple’s bedroom. Just last year, the pilot for Amazon’s new series Jack Ryan was also filmed at the home. “John Krasinski was here, filming with Abbie Cornish, for about five days,” she says. “That was fun to watch!”
Considering its lengthy history, “there’s nothing else like it in Annapolis. Nobody else has 26 acres on the water,” Munz exclusively tells Architectural Digest of the historic home that has quite the celebrity past. She and her husband, Tom, first bought the property in 1993 after a friend made mention that it was on the market, and was “to die for.” At the time, the Munzses already had another home in the area, which they had built just five years prior and was meant to be their “house forever,” Munz says.
”But then, at a dinner party, someone was telling my husband about this house, which just came on the market and had been in the same family for 90 years.” (A fun fact: a cemetery with the remains of the Labrot family is still neatly maintained on the grounds). The couple went to see the property and knew it was the right spot for them. But updating the home to modern standards, as well as restoring the home’s original, exquisite decorations – rewiring the electricity and adding air conditioning, as well as restoring the crown molding – took several stages, spanning four years.
Elements of the home that the Munzses, who work in land development, marveled at included three-quarter-inch-thick marble floors and walls a foot deep. “They don’t make houses like that anymore,” Munz says. As part of the renovations, the couple knocked down several walls separating the kitchen from the other living spaces to give the area a more open feel, rebuilt the entire pool house (which has its own kitchen and living room), and redid the winding driveway leading up to the house.
Other features that they spruced up included six gardens on the grounds, including ones specifically for perennials, roses, hydrangeas, and woodlands. A former servant’s wing was converted into a living space with sunlit kitchen, and one of the home’s smaller bedrooms was converted into a dressing room just off the master bedroom. When asked whether a particular room or space within the house holds significant sentimental value, Munz says with a laugh, “Oh, the whole thing does.”
Now, however, Munz and her husband are looking to downsize a bit and spend more time at their home in Florida, though they do still maintain a smaller home not too far from the property and all the memories it contains. “I do hope someone comes and falls in love with this home like we did,” she says. “It’s also a great place for a wedding. We have had three weddings here: two granddaughters and a wonderful friend.” The estate will be up for auction, valued at $10 million through Elite Auctions, starting June 30.