Victorian transformed into contemporary showplace

November 21, 1993|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

After the makeover, the big Victorian house looked traditional enough, with its white siding, multigabled roof and imposing, three-story, octagonal turret. That's how the owners wanted their Mount Washington home to look, from the outside anyway.

Once inside though, the old-fashioned appearance shifts seamlessly to streamlined contemporary. There, it's all wide open spaces, wood columns and walls that curve or are made of glass blocks, letting in natural light and accentuating the contemporary feel.

The home has been chosen as the year's best remodeling project by the Remodelors Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland, based on creative design, aesthetic appeal, functional value and the remodeler's sensitivity to the original structure.

Fallston-based Griffith-Brilhart Builders Inc. completely renovated the original 3,100 square feet and built a 3,800-square-foot addition, essentially creating a new home, at a cost of more than $200,000. The builder's objective: Satisfy the owners taste for distinctive finishes and their need for more space.

"They wanted to expand the house for their children [ages 3 and 1], but they made a decision they wanted it to remain in the character of the neighborhood," said Dwight S. Griffith, owner with George E. Brilhart Jr. of the 16-year-old new home and remodeling company.

The builder worked with architects, interior designers, a kitchen design specialist and a landscape architect, planning for one year, building during another.

They knocked down walls in the dining room, kitchen and family room to create open living spaces and cut high, arched windows for maximum sunlight. They repeated themes throughout many rooms, such as stepped walls, carved crown moldings and curved, rather than straight, wall edges. They finished floors, counter tops and fireplaces in polished marble and granite, covered bathroom surfaces with hand-painted tiles and dressed doors with leaded glass.

"A good design will carry through an entire project, so it's not one contemporary room and one traditional," Mr. Griffith said. "Here, each room does have its own identity, but it remains in character with the house."

In the enlarged basement went the health spa, with mirrors everywhere, an octagonal marble sunken Jacuzzi and a glass wall offering a view of the playroom next door. A separate children's wing on the second floor includes a nursery, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Perhaps the most breathtaking sight is the all-white master bedroom, an apartment unto itself. The master bath has a marbled platform whirlpool set in a bay window alcove. Beyond the sitting area and mahogany wet bar, a steel spiral staircase leads to a loft. It is the top room in the three-level tower, used as a study, with bay windows looking into the trees.

Above the study is what Mr. Griffith called an eight-sided folded gable cathedral ceiling -- a marvel to behold, a nightmare to design and build.

Besides aesthetics, the owners wanted functional spaces. The team designed those, the oak built-in desk and cabinets in the first-floor study alcove, the all-marble steam shower with built-in speakers in the master bath, the two-tiered, granite island in the kitchen, with one level for cooking and a higher level with stools for eating. A master bedroom walk-in closet, the kitchen pantry and the basement laundry room all are room-sized.

Throughout many of those rooms, the remodelers repeated design themes. A leaded glass door with glass block sidelights leads to the study. Curved flanking walls allow for a smooth transition into the kitchen.

The design team included architects Luxenburg & Ryan Inc., kitchen designer Details Inc., interior designer Villones Design and landscape architects Wolford Landscape Design.


The Remodelors Council of the Home Builders Association of

Maryland gave the following awards this month:

Best Kitchen

Adkim Builders Inc. for the Kotz kitchen in Owings Mills, with interior designer Tarleton Interiors and space planner JME Consulting.

COMMENTS: Transformed dark, crowded and poorly designed kitchen and family room into a bright, updated area for preparing elegant dinner parties.

Best Bathroom

RLB Contractors Ltd. for a Ruxton bathroom, with architect Schamu Machowski Doo & Associates and interior designer Bob Berman.

COMMENTS: Redesigned master bath, relocating plumbing fixtures and building custom lighting into shower walls and ceiling.

Best Residential ($10,000 to $24,999)

Shelley Construction Inc. for Ashland sun room and porch in Hunt Valley.

COMMENTS: Added sun room that opened into gourmet kitchen, enclosing rear deck of the home, erecting a new wall and incorporating screened porch into remainder of the deck

Best Residential ($25,000 to $59,999)

Brantley Design Build for the Krill residence in Ellicott City, with architect and interior designer Arium Architects.

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