House is filled with family history


May 15, 1994|By Bonita Dvorak Formwalt | Bonita Dvorak Formwalt,Contributing Writer

As a child, Charlotte Beam would read fairy tales of Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin, visualizing their homes as quaint, cozy Cape Cods.

As an adult, she and her husband, Earl, adopted the charm of that style when they built the home they would share for 35 years.

Built in 1959 for $38,000, the four-bedroom house sits off Chatham Road, in Dunloggin in Ellicott City. Secluded by towering trees and evergreens, a delicate border of bamboo surrounds a front terrace.

"Following a summer shower, it's almost like being in a rain forest," says Mr. Beam, a retired administrator of Maryland General Hospital.

In the midst of this tropical haven, a park bench sits beneath a replica of a gas street light.

"I was raised in Baltimore City, playing under the street lights. This is a reminder of that time," says Mrs. Beam, a retired schoolteacher.

Keepsake memorabilia is an important part of the decor of the Beam home, from the cuckoo clock, a family heirloom, in the foyer to the many photos of the Beams' twin daughters and grandchildren.

A single ballet slipper sits on a table, a memento from their granddaughter who is a professional ballerina in Cincinnati. Stabled in a corner is a rocking horse, ready for the next generation of equestrians. On its base, the names of past riders are inscribed.

In the front of the house, the family room and kitchen share a large room separated by a long work counter. An eclectic mix of antiques, heirlooms and comfortable furniture fills the family room. Hanging in one corner is a large cabinet that has accompanied the Beam family from house to house.

In the back of the house, large windows brighten the living and dining rooms. Here the couple's love for the outdoors can be found in a small table top waterfall and a mural depicting a wooded scene.

The couple also share an avid interest in reading, giving books to one another on special occasions. To accommodate their ever-increasing library, Mr. Beam built an impressive ( ceiling-to-floor bookcase covering one wall of the dining room.

Mr. Beam's carpentry skills are evident throughout the house.

At one time, a divider separated the girls' two bedrooms. A shutter could be opened to allow the girls to talk to one another.

"I don't believe they even opened the shutters once," says Mrs. Beam, shaking her head. "Eventually Earl replaced it with a solid wall."

In one corner of the blue and white master bedroom stands a large oval dressing mirror that once belonged to Mrs. Beam's mother.

Catching her reflection in the mirror she smiles. "Every time I look in this mirror I sense my mother in there somewhere."

Memories of her parents are elsewhere in the room. Motioning to a settee, Mrs. Beam reminisces about how her father and mother sat there during their very proper courtship. On a night stand is a miniature train garden in a carrying case -- a gift from Mr. Beam to honor her father's work for the B&O Railroad.

A fourth bedroom is in the basement. With full-size windows and red furniture, the room is bright and warm. The basement offers enough room for a billiard table, potbelly stove and Mr. Beam's workshop.

Exiting to the back yard, a flagstone path leads to a gazebo by a swimming pool. Two campers are parked in the yard prepared for whatever adventure could possibly rival 57 years of marriage.

"The most important thing about this house is the many people who have come through," says Mrs. Beam. "They come and share our dreams, then go on."

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