'Our Town' Colonial has character


April 23, 1995|By Donna Weaver | Donna Weaver,Contributing Writer

Leonard C. Kuentz and Laura Kelsey Rhodes call their Colonial Village neighborhood "Our Town U.S.A."

The 50-year-old community of brick Colonial revivals boasts a strong improvement association and many long-time residents.

The Pikesville community is near several mom-and-pop businesses such as a large kosher supermarket, a natural food store, a pharmacy and a hardware store.

"There's such a foundation here," says Mr. Kuentz, 43, a public defender and supervisor of the new drug treatment court in Baltimore. "This is a real neighborhood rather than just another bedroom community."

"It's also an ethnically diverse community," adds Ms. Rhodes, 36, acting director of training for the public defender's office in Baltimore. "It started out as a Catholic community. Then it became a Jewish community. Now, the community has African-Americans and Asian and Russian immigrants."

Mr. Kuentz and his wife discovered the community's friendliness just after they moved into the neighborhood a year ago.

Several neighbors welcomed them and gave them a housewarming gift.

Now they socialize with neighbors at community events such as the annual Fourth of July parade, yard cleanup and yard sale.

But the couple wouldn't have moved into the community at all if it hadn't been for Ms. Rhodes' boss, who had placed his Colonial Village home up for sale.

"We preferred an older home because of their solid construction," Ms. Rhodes says.

The couple had looked at several houses, including 20-year-old homes in Catonsville.

"They had no character," Mr. Kuentz says. "They didn't have the hardwood floors and plaster walls like this house does."

The couple bought the three-bedroom, 2 1/2 -bath home for $115,000.

The 2,200-square-foot house has a cozy, open kitchen, courtesy of one of several improvements made by the former owner.

Once a small box, the kitchen now has a pass-through window to the dining room and a breakfast nook with windows on three sides.

The former owner also installed a butcher-block breakfast bar and a built-in wooden hutch whose style matches the original kitchen cabinets.

Other improvements include a row of built-in cabinets along one wall of the dining room and a large bathroom off the entrance foyer that was once a closet.

The previous owner also did them the favor of building what has become one of the couple's favorite spaces, an 11 1/2 -by-23 1/2 square-foot living room on what originally was a stone porch. The room has rows of windows on two sides and a fireplace with a wooden mantel that holds a bucolic folk art scene.

Sliding glass doors open to a large deck, which overlooks a garden full of blooming tulips, daffodils and forsythia. A large silver maple tree protects the deck and the house from harsh sunlight.

"The first floor is very big and airy. It's great for entertaining," Mr.

Kuentz says.

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