At home with nature on 3 1/2 acres


August 28, 1994|By Bonita Dvorak Formwalt | Bonita Dvorak Formwalt,Special to The Sun

Every spring, something curious happens to Anne Moe's Marriottsville home.

It doubles in size.

With the advent of warm weather, Ms. Moe, 56, increases her living space when she opens french doors to a 24-by-24-foot screened porch she fondly refers to as the "Conservatory." Here she entertains, reflects and revels in the serenity of her home.

Divorced and with three grown sons, she left the suburbs seven years ago in search of a more rustic, private life. For $45,000, she found 3 1/2 acres of nature on the edge of Patapsco State Park.

Motivated by a determination not to be burdened with a mortgage, Ms. Moe chose a cozy two-bedroom pre-fabricated home. Total construction costs were $46,000.

"I built this house to suit no one but myself," she says.

Well, maybe with the exception of her horse, Moose.

A horsewoman, many of the design choices made in the house afford Ms. Moe the extra time and money to pursue her favorite pastime -- fox chasing, a more humane version of the hunt.

As a member of the Howard County Iron Bridge Hounds, Ms. Moe participates in up to three chases a week from September through March.

"I didn't want to spend a lot of money on upkeep. I want to be free to have money to spend on my horse and fox chasing," she says.

Unglazed quarry tile throughout the house is forgiving of assorted debris tracked in by Ms. Moe or her dog, Maggie Mae. Cedar siding requires staining only every seven years. Ceiling fans eliminate the need for air conditioning and its accompanying costs.

Equine- and hunting-oriented amenities include an outdoor hot water hookup to bathe Moose; a tack room in the garage; a barn complete with flower boxes; and a hitching ring next to the front door.

In the "Fox Den," a sofa bed is available for the comfort of overnight guests. Cherry cabinets, custom made by a local cabinetmaker, store books, linens and an entertainment center.

The same craftsman built a queen-size bed with drawer units to maximize space in the bedroom.

A free-lance editor and proof reader, Ms. Moe enjoys the luxury of working from her home. Her office occupies one corner of the bedroom. Sitting at her computer -- doors open to the conservatory -- her work is often interrupted by visits from a family of deer who graze on her lawn.

"All day long I have this family visit. The doe has had four families since I moved here," she says, a hint of maternal pride in her voice.

Equally proud of her home, Ms. Moe enjoys the chance to welcome friends and family.

During warm weather, the screened porch is the site of many informal dinner parties.

"It's no trouble at all to have a buffet supper for 40," she says.

Serving 40 is not a challenge for a woman who has cooked for 85 people a day during the horse trials her club sponsors each spring. Although small, her kitchen is a model of efficiency.

To Ms. Moe, size is not the issue. She is reminded of the old Virginia cabins known as a "hunting box." Built by hunters traveling from Long Island, they provided shelter and comfort without the need for a staff.

"You could say I have a hunting box," she admits. "Only I get to live here all year."

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