Contemporary suburban home with traditional Florida details

GRAND CLASSIC A

May 15, 1994|By Beth Smith

The grand hall of Neal and Kathleen Deoul's home is a space that invites visitors to enter and defies them not to say "wow." In design and decoration, it is Florida high style transported to suburban Maryland.

The floors of that room -- a combined living and dining area -- are pickled oak; the walls are soft white. The fireplace mantel rests on two bleached-white columns of coquina -- the natural shell and coral material that underpins Florida. In a seating area, custom-made chairs are covered in a blend of white linen and silk, bottom-edged in a deep white fringe. The dining chairs are Italian imports, hand-carved in a floral design and coated in a beeswax finish.

Floor-to-ceiling arches open to a second-floor balcony and echo the shape of the handsome Palladian windows, resting over a trio of oversized French doors. Light streams into the 40-by-20-foot space.

From its soaring 22-foot ceiling to its oversized fireplace -- the room is dramatic, yet soft and sunny. It is strikingly sophisticated; the ambience combines a sense of the traditional with the clean lines of contemporary.

The great room reflects the meticulous planning that went into the design and construction of the entire house. This awesome task combined the talents and skills of James Frazier III and his partner, Thomas L. Stanton, of Design III, an interior design firm in Florida; and Louis Siegel and the building team at Siegel

Homes in Owings Mills. The task would not have completed, however, without the perseverance of the Deouls, an affable couple who divide their time between their family and their careers. He is consultant specializing in radar systems. She owns a business that provides executives with office space and staff.

The Deouls started shopping for a house plan while they were living in a redwood-and-glass contemporary in Baltimore County. That house suited their sense of style, but it proved to be too small and too isolated when their daughter, Shannon, was born. In 1989, they bought five wooded acres in an established neighborhood closer to the city and began searching for a design.

They wanted a house style in keeping with the formal flavor of their new community, but they didn't want to lose the open feeling they associated with contemporary houses. They also wanted a house that was shaped like an H -- two wings joined by a connecting structure.

"I don't like typical houses where rooms are chopped up into traditional spaces," says Kathleen Deoul. "I like to be able to stand in one room and look through into other rooms."

A MASTER PLAN

The Deouls consulted architects and began looking at house plans advertised in professional home-building books. The plan that finally captured their attention was one created by the staff of Scholz Design Architects, a home design and marketing firm headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. A 12,000-square-foot version of the house had been built in Atlanta, Ga., for the 1990 National Association of Home Builders show. It was a showcase for the more than 51 building products and related companies that make up the Masco Corp.

"This house had created a revolution in American architecture from a marketing point of view because it took all the top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art building products, put them under one roof, and showed them to the public," says Louis Siegel, of Siegel Homes, which is one of the licensed Scholz builders in the Baltimore area. The Deouls traveled to Atlanta in 1990 to tour the house and they liked what they saw.

"It took a year just to develop the design as we tweaked and adjusted the original plans to fit the Deouls' specifications," says Mr. Siegel. The overall size of the house was reduced to just over 9,000 square feet, but the main rooms on the first floor were made larger than those in the original house.

The grand hall, with its soaring space and classic details, was designed for formal entertaining. The two wings serve different functions: The master suite and library in one wing are for quiet and relaxation. The kitchen and family room in the other are designed for activity. On the lower level is a large den for casual entertaining. In the works are a swimming pool and a lower-level second kitchen. Family bedrooms, guest rooms, bathrooms, a playroom and a balcony overlooking the grand hall occupy the upper level.

IN FLORIDA STYLE

The house is filled with the state-of-the-art security, heating, cooling and sound systems, yet it oozes luxury. Marble is everywhere, including the master bathroom's floor, which is warmed by a radiant heating system. Elaborate crown moldings, coffered and tray ceilings, cove lighting, faux-finished columns and handsome hardwood floors highlight rooms.

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