A home that gets better and better

August 21, 1994|By Bonita Formwalt | Bonita Formwalt,Special to The Sun

Standing in her living room, surrounded by ladders, insulation and hammers, Anne Williams delights in the potential of the Woodlawn home she shares with her two granddaughters.

It's all about possibilities.

First on her agenda is a sunken living room where the front lawn used to be. Next, a dining room window will make way for a sliding glass door. Somewhere on the list is an updated kitchen with a cooking island. "What caught my eye were all the things I could do," says Mrs. Williams. "It may take me five years but it will be what I want."

A security agent with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Mrs. Williams purchased the bungalow last year for $73,500. Located just a few blocks from Windsor Mill Road, she wasn't very familiar with the Featherbed community.

"I spent three years looking before I found this house. What I liked I couldn't afford and what I could afford I didn't like," she says.

What she has grown to love about the Kincheloe Avenue home is the neighborhood. A mix of young families and retirees, neighbors exchange pleasantries during an evening stroll or over the backyard fence.

"Listen," she instructs as the faint sounds of children playing filters through the breeze. "In the afternoon you can hear the children playing in the park. But in the mornings I come out here to sit and enjoy the quiet."

Sold as a three-bedroom home with a combination living/dining room, Mrs. Williams had converted one bedroom into a separate dining room. When her granddaughters -- Michelle Abel, 19, and Amber Delgado-Figurowa, 4 -- came to live with her, they were obliged to share the remaining bedroom. It wasn't long before the close quarters proved to be the incentive to put the remodeling plan in action.

Wishing to reclaim the third bedroom while retaining a formal dining area, Mrs. Williams decided to expand the living room into the front yard.

Construction is almost finished on the addition. When completed, the living room will terrace down from the rest of the house, working with the property's natural slope.

"I've always wanted a dining room overlooking the living room. This is exactly what I've pictured in my mind," Mrs. Williams says.

While relying on professional contractors for the major renovations, Mrs. Williams is not averse to hammering a few nails herself.

Downstairs in the family room she recently added a wall, the first step in creating a guest room. A suspended ceiling is also her handiwork.

And if she occasionally catches the contractor watching her efforts with a bemused expression, Mrs. Williams remains undaunted. "It's all trial and error," she says, laughing.

Brush in hand, Mrs. Williams has covered a multitude of decorating dilemmas with a coat of paint. Painting the brown paneling of the family room an off-white brightened the entire room for a fraction of the cost of replacing the walls.

Future renovations include another expansion -- a sun room and deck off the dining room.

Unlimited by imagination, Mrs. Williams has resigned herself to the biggest obstacle between her and the perfect house. "The county will only let you do so much building."

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