Grandeur in Easton

These New York transplants have found a new way of life in Easton.


By Carol Sorgen | Photography Courtesy of McHale Landscape Design


Once Ginny and Michael Borner retired from running their global specialty paint company, they realized they no longer needed to live in New York. High on their wish list was finding a waterfront home, though they didn’t know where. “At the time, we didn’t even know what the Eastern Shore was,” they recall. But when they found Easton, “we got lucky.”

Now full-time Shore residents, the Borners say they “pinch themselves every day” that they live in a town where they have made close friends (“more than we had in New York!”), enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, and—a bonus in the winter—have to deal with much less snow.

And, oh, yes, then there’s their new home—an early 19th-century 9,000 square foot farmhouse on 15 acres on the Miles River. “It’s more than we initially were looking for,” they say, “but there were no smaller houses on the water.”

Since purchasing the home in 2014, the couple has paid particular attention to the property itself, working with Steven McHale of McHale Landscape Design. McHale had already worked with the previous owner for more than a decade and was well familiar with the waterfront site.

At the time McHale began working with the Borners, the driveway curved toward the house and garage, and a tennis court was situated in the lawn area about half way up the drive. There was also a lot between the current property and an existing tree line that was not well-maintained. The Borners have since purchased that adjoining three-acre lot in which Ginny has created a wildflower meadow with black-eyed Susans, and a riot of blue, purple, and white flowers. “When the black-eyed Susans are in bloom, the meadow is a field of yellow,” says Ginny.

Though the home was long ago named “The Willows,” there were, in fact, no willows to be found. McHale remedied that situation by planting 26 willow trees around the perimeter of the property.

“Our design was to create the feeling of a country estate,” he says of the overall landscape design. The driveway was redesigned with brick pavers so that an entry circle leads to the front door, while an 8’ in diameter old cast iron sugar kettle was converted to a water feature, providing a focal point to the entryway.

The remnants of a long-ago church ruin down the road from the property provided the inspiration for the columns and basin of the water feature. “The church was constructed of granite, so we decided to use a similar granite since there is no real natural stone in the area,” McHale notes.

Both the previous homeowner and the Borners are partial to the cherry blossoms that are so prevalent in Washington, DC, so McHale created an allee of blossoms alongside the driveway for a dramatic—especially in springtime—entry to the property. Throughout the rest of the grounds, native perennials keep the gardens in bloom from spring to autumn.

The Borners also added a pool surround and screened-in porch with seating and dining areas furnished by Country Casual Teak.

Now that they are well and truly settled into their new home and new lifestyle, the Borners say they have no further projects in mind. “At our home in New York, we were doing something every few years,” they say. “This time we did everything up front and got everybody out! Now we just enjoy having it to ourselves!” These New York transplants have the Shore’s casual lifestyle and something even more valuable: time to watch their gardens grow.




LANDSCAPE DESIGN: McHale Landscape Design,, Upper Marlboro, Maryland | OUTDOOR FURNITURE: Country Casual Teak,, Gaithersburg, Maryland


Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 9, No. 3 2018