Cross Keys condominium her place to drop anchor WMAR-TV's Pinckney unwinds in her 'oasis'

Dream Home

January 14, 1996|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

After a hectic day co-anchoring the evening news on WMAR-TV, Sandra Pinckney settles into her "oasis" at the Village of Cross Keys.

When she opens the door of her second-story condominium, she is immediately comforted by its golden butterscotch walls and welcomed by its two faithful guards, Morley and Pepsi -- her dogs.

"Because I work in such a fast-paced environment, when I walk in here I start to come down. It's very peaceful," Ms. Pinckney says. "It's very warm and soothing to me."

Ms. Pinckney, who has lived in Cross Keys since 1985, has created serenity in her surroundings with a delicate combination of subdued colors and striking antiques.

The foyer is dedicated to local artist Tom Miller, whose prints cover the right wall. Ms. Pinckney commissioned him to create two objets d'art from an old table and a mirror from her grandfather's garage.

"I'm attracted to mirrors. I just love them. There's something special about [having] mirrors of family members. You see a reflection of yourself and can imagine that person doing the same thing in another time and place," she said.

Opposite the Miller exhibit, in the living room, is the piano her parents bought for her when she was 7 years old. She calls it a constant reminder of the many sacrifices they made for their children.

Collections from her world travels are displayed on the built-in bookshelves, treasures that range from iron figurines from Cambodia to a sculpture of the four heads of Buddha.

Her memories surround her in all forms. Each piece of furniture and decoration has a story behind it. For instance, the octagonal, oak cafe table she uses for dining in the living room takes her back to her professional roots in Los Angeles. There, she picked it up at a secondhand store in the late '60s, when she served a one-year term on the Code and Ratings Board, the panel that rates movies.

"It was painted black then. There was something about the shape I liked," she said. "To me, it's the most charming table. It brings back memories of the start of my career."

The chaise lounge across the room has been refinished and re-covered several times.

"When I think of all the backdrops its had, this is home." Ms. Pinckney said. "[All of the furniture] may have been recovered or refinished or been a different color or fabric, but they've been with me."

The kitchen also reflects the importance of memories.

The walls above the breakfast bar are lined with photographs of the important people in her life -- her former colleague and longtime friend Al Sanders; her 22-year-old daughter, Ainah, who lives in San Francisco; and other family members and friends.

"I love being surrounded by family," Ms. Pinckney said.

And that, she says, is why she makes her home here instead of living out her fantasy in the perfect chateau in the south of France.

Ms. Pinckney will do without the stone fireplaces, the terraced bedroom and the veranda because she has the important amenities -- a 15-minute commute to work, friendly neighbors and lots of wall space for her impressive collection of paintings, including her prize painting by Romare Bearden, "Mecklenburg Carolina Morning."

Besides, Ms. Pinckney says, she's made her home to suit her lifestyle. For example, she uses the spare bedroom as a catch-all office/storage/what-do-I-do-with-this room and she's converted the L-shaped portion of the living room into a sitting room just off the kitchen.

"I thought about my lifestyle and asked myself, 'How many times do I really use the dining room? But how many times do I have a need for a sitting room?' " she said. "I don't do a lot of formal entertaining any more."

And from just the right angle in her sitting room -- if she sits in the middle of the moss green couch and looks out onto the balcony when her window boxes are in full bloom -- Ms. Pinckney can almost picture her French garden.

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