Woodside Cottage: Classic & Timeless

Growing New Roots

Writer & Photographer: Vickie Kite Milburn

When Katrina Cropp and Michael Velasquez made the decision to move to St. Mary’s County to start their family, they didn’t have to look far for resources and inspiration to build a home. Katrina was raised in Valley Lee and was very familiar with the home building process since her father, Don Cropp, has been a builder (Colony Builders) in Southern Maryland for more than 35 years. She spent many afternoons accompanying her father at homes under construction during her childhood.
Katrina left St. Mary’s County after college to work for several nonprofit organizations in Frederick County. There she met and married her husband Michael, they bought a house and pursued their careers.


The shaker style cabinets, Calacatta Laza quartz counter tops, Orlenes wood floor, subway porcelain tile backsplash come together to create this dream kitchen.


Michael is a Prince George’s County police officer. They lived in Frederick until Katrina found out she was pregnant, and decided to move home to assist with the family business. Her duties would consist of helping her mother, Tina Cropp, with administrative and accounting duties while she was being trained on the construction and design side of the house.
Katrina has the soul of an artist; she loves architecture, decorating, creative endeavors, historic buildings and elements of designs. Having the opportunity to raise her child close to her parents in the rural roots of her upbringing while working at a job where she could use her creativity was an ideal situation. Her heart was in St. Mary’s County, and now she could give her child new roots in the place where she grew up.
Soon after, Katrina and Michael moved to St. Mary’s County and she went to work at Colony Builders, they welcomed their daughter, Annabelle, into the world. It wasn’t long before Katrina started training with talented house designer, Dave Decker. When Dave decided to retire, she enrolled in a Chief Architect Design course, a drafting program that not only includes home mechanicals and construction, but also 3D renderings for interior design. Once plans are created in the program, every detail can be visualized. The program takes the guess work out of design and decorating decisions. The drawings show every detail.


Black and white marble create this stunning foyer floor. Design idea borrowed from Devines, Katrina’s favorite New Orleans restaurant.

After being certified in the program, Katrina designed her first home – her family’s! She created the plans for their house to be built on a five-acre wooded lot in Park Hall with a small stream, variety of wildlife and space for Annabelle to explore.
Katrina planned her family’s home for the way they lived – a busy young family that enjoys entertaining, creative activities, and spending time together. She wanted to create a welcoming cottage in the woods that was classic and elegant, yet casual and comfortable. Katrina aspired to create an element of surprise for guests: cottage on the outside, classic and timeless on the inside.
And that is what she accomplished. Her house plan included the classic elements of white wood cabinets, wood plank floors, built-in shelving, and loads of trim throughout the house. Katrina incorporated the use of history-inspired trim, moldings above the windows, 8-inch baseboards and colonial board and batten throughout the house. To keep the kitchen counters clutter-free, but very functional, she included a large butler’s pantry, hideaway mixer cabinet and microwave drawer plus a Hallman Italian-style oven.

The master bath’s soaking tub looks out into the serenity of the forest.

The kitchen, breakfast and living room are designed as an open space for casual living and entertaining. To create cozy gathering spaces and paint color separation, Katrina added open shelving units between the breakfast area and family room.
She included a guest bedroom on the main floor and three other bedrooms (including the master) on the second level, one of which is used for Annabelle’s playroom.
To give the house an artful entrance and element of surprise, Katrina used black and white marble in the foyer, an idea borrowed from her favorite New Orleans restaurant, Divines.
After completing designs, Colony Builders built the quality construction, and in January 2020 the family moved into their new home. The woodside cottage is the perfect home for Katrina, Michael and Annabelle to live happily ever after! Annabelle just started at Little Flower School, the same school Katrina attended.
And, the roots grow deeper. ▪

The art in the master bedroom was painted by Katrina. Annabelle’s playroom with built-in cubbies.