TLC turns ho-hum into heaven


April 03, 1994|By Donna Weaver | Donna Weaver,Contributing Writer

When Laroy and Angela Hopkins bought their first home in Baltimore two years ago, it was rundown, vacant and begging for attention.

The house had rotting window sills, a leaking roof, no air conditioning, one small bathroom and ancient electrical and plumbing systems.

But the couple didn't let those problems scare them. They used their imagination to see the home's potential and redesigned the interior to suit their needs.

With the help of a friend's construction company, the couple stripped the inside down to studs and joists. Then they replaced practically everything: walls, windows, lighting fixtures, the plumbing and electrical systems. They added air conditioning and gas heat.

Their biggest changes were made in the kitchen and attic. They enlarged the kitchen and added a half bath by enclosing a back porch. The third-floor attic was turned into a master bedroom suite that includes a bathroom and a den.

"One thing I always said I wanted was a big bedroom and a large kitchen," says Mr. Hopkins, 32, a mechanical maintenance worker with Baltimore's Patapsco wastewater plant.

The renovations and additions cost the couple $46,000 and took almost a year to complete. The family purchased the 60-year-old Colonial revival house for $24,900 in July 1992 from the Baltimore office of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Although the renovation project was difficult, the Hopkinses are pleased with the result. "I would do it again because it's the house I wanted," says Mrs. Hopkins, 33, an ad production supervisor with Williams and Wilkens Publishers. "Basically, it's a house that we built."

The 2,200-square-foot Forest Park home has an eat-in kitchen with a sleek, modern look, white cabinets, a black porcelain sink, black counter tops and a white and black floor.

The second floor is a haven for their two children, Whitney, 5, and Devon, 1. They have separate bedrooms plus a playroom and a bathroom. The family enlarged the bathroom -- originally the only one in the house -- making it roomy enough for a bathtub, a shower and sauna, and two pedestal sinks.

The third floor belongs to the parents. The master bathroom has a whirlpool bath and ceramic tile floors and walls.

The Hopkinses made some subtle changes on the first floor to make the rooms more intimate. The bright foyer still shows off the home's original 10-foot ceilings, but those soaring heights disappear in the kitchen and living and dining rooms. Those ceilings are a cozier 8 feet. The 7-by-9 foot doorways leading to the living and dining rooms also have gotten narrower by four feet.

"I wanted these rooms to be more private," Mr. Hopkins says. "They seemed too big to me."

Although these rooms appear smaller, they're not claustrophobic. That's because of the white walls and the rose color theme, which continues throughout the house. There's the rose-colored carpet, living room lamps and pedestal sinks and bathtub in the children's bathroom. Rose is also dominant in the living-room love seat and tile in the foyer and children's bathroom.

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