An ideal place to raise a family


May 01, 1994|By Bonita Dvorak Formwalt | Bonita Dvorak Formwalt,Special to The Sun

It wasn't the three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths that attracted Kristina and Michael Marrinan to their Anneslie home four years ago. After all, the couple had looked at more than 200 houses with various combinations of amenities. It was something less tangible.

"We were looking for an emotional response to a house," says Mrs. Marrinan. "We found that with this house the moment we walked in."

The Marrinans came to Baltimore from Long Island, N.Y., with a specific goal -- to purchase the house of their dreams at an affordable price.

Eventually, they hoped Mrs. Marrinan could take a leave from her career and stay home to raise the family they were planning.

"In Long Island, a house similar to this one would cost $300,000 to 400,000," says Mrs. Marrinan. "It just wasn't possible."

After comparing employment opportunities and housing markets of several cities close to New York, the couple chose Baltimore.

A corporate industrial engineer, Mr. Marrinan took a job with Textilease Corp. in Beltsville. Mrs. Marrinan, a social worker, joined Maryland Child Protective Services.

Unable to find a house before moving, the couple rented a townhouse in Carney for eight months.

When they found the house on Anneslie Road, there was an immediate connection -- this was where they wanted to raise a family. They bought the house for $168,000, and two years later Michael Curtis was born.

The 75-year-old house is less than three blocks from the bustle of York Road, but sits in a quiet neighborhood. A swing on the front porch gently sways.

Entering the foyer, the interior is bathed in light from the leaded glass entry door, oversize windows and French doors. A sun room, overlooking the front yard, offers a quiet nook for entertaining, reading or watching TV.

Eight sets of screened French doors surround the room, which opens in warmer weather to let the breeze flow through the house.

Ceiling fans circulate cool evening air in the summer and warmth from the living room fireplace in the winter.

The Marrinans find their house perfect for entertaining friends and family. Large open doorways on the first floor encourage an easy flow of traffic from one room to another. Interior French doors unobtrusively open flush against the walls.

"We didn't realize when we bought the house but every room can be cut off from the others by a door. It's great for children. All I have to do is close a door and and I can keep my son Michael in whatever room I'm in," said Mrs. Marrinan.

Even as he naps in his second-floor bedroom, Michael's presence is felt -- an outdoor deck carpeted to avoid splinters in ++ small hands and feet; child-proof restraints on doors and cupboards; a basement playroom full of books and toys.

In Michael's nursery, cows jump over moons on the wallpaper border, lamp and a wall hanger made by Mrs. Marrinan. There is blue-and-white striped wallpaper with a coordinating balloon valance.

The cool color scheme continues in the master bedroom, with curtains, wallpaper borders and an upholstered love seat in a blue floral Laura Ashley print.

Perhaps the most unusual furnishing is a queen-size canopy bed made from tree limbs. Handmade by an Amish furniture maker, Mrs. Marrinan laughingly admits people either love it or hate it.

While Michael naps, Mrs. Marrinan enjoys a short respite from the challenges of motherhood. On the quiet street, neighbors are busy working in their yards.

"I grew up on a horse farm with no idea what it was like to have neighbors. I always wanted my children to be able to walk out the door and have a friend to play with," she says. "I like to think that's what we have here."

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