Brick-front facade opens up into tropical hideaway

April 17, 1994|By Donna Weaver | Donna Weaver,Contributing Writer

Sharon and Ray Johnson travel to many tropical spots in Mexico and the Caribbean. But after the sun and fun, they always return to their private paradise in Catonsville.

The Johnsons regard their split-foyer home in the Ellicott Mills community as a relaxing, quiet oasis, a great place to spend their retirement.

"We're really centrally located and yet we're hidden because it's kind of quiet," says Mr. Johnson, 52, a retired manager for Hallmark cards.

Adds Mrs. Johnson, 51: "We're sun-worshipers. And there's lots of sun and light in this house."

Since buying their home five years ago for $135,000, the transplanted New Yorkers have worked to make the 10-year-old house comfortable, stylish, bright and open.

The only formal touches are the brick-front facade and a pedimented doorway, signatures of Georgian architecture. But a hint of the couple's casual interior can be seen even outside -- peach silk flowers rest beneath the mailbox.

In fact, flowers -- both real and silk -- are found in every room of the 2,200-square-foot house.

"We've put flowers throughout the house to make it look cheery and comfortable," says Mrs. Johnson, who is retired from the New York Telephone Co.

There's peach-colored silk flowers in a vase on the kitchen table; a white silk dogwood tree in the master bedroom; and several live plants, including a ficus tree decorated with white lights next to the sectional sofa in the living room.

There are also mirrors, glass and pastel colors such as peach, which reminds the couple of the beach.

"The mirrors and glass reflect light and make rooms appear bigger," Mrs. Johnson says.

The kitchen, for example, has a peach flower print border, white cabinets and a white and peach fan. Even such tiny details as a peach-colored telephone cord fit in.

A large pass-through connects the kitchen to the dining room. There's no dark wooden furniture here. Glass furniture is in, and some have been custom-made for their house. The Johnsons chose a glass dining-room table with beveled edges and gold legs. Custom-built swivel chairs with mint green and off-white upholstery accompany the table. Along the wall is a rectangular, glass china cabinet complete with a built-in wet bar. Built-in lights illuminate family heirloom crystal.

Where the cabinet ends, a glass wall mirror begins, extending the length of the living room. The effect of glass and mirror adds depth to the room. In the three bathrooms, Mrs. Johnson replaced medicine cabinets with large mirrors.

The Johnsons have a guest bedroom and an office on the second level and a family room, a utility room and a bedroom for their youngest son, Raygan, 21. The Johnsons have three other children, Morgan, 27; Kelly, 28; and Tracy, 29.

If the Johnsons tire of soaking up the light indoors, they can sit on their deck, which overlooks their 100- by-200-foot yard with a flower garden and wooden privacy fence.

"I love it here," Mr. Johnson says. "I've often said that if I win the $10 million lottery, I still wouldn't move."

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