Retired couple's work made home life easier House near Randallstown is a modified version of builder's plan

Dream Home

January 21, 1996|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It took more than a year of planning and supervision, but the split-level home in the Mayfield Woods development near Randallstown clearly shows the work of the retired couple that has lived there since October 1994.

Mildred R. Distance, who retired in 1989 after 34 years as an elementary school teacher in Baltimore, and her husband, Milton R. Distance Jr., who retired the next year as a computer operator for what is now CSX Transportation, decided to leave their home of 39 years in Windsor Hills.

They wanted easier access to various areas within the house and to shopping centers and other facilities they used outside the community. They also wanted easier maintenance than was afforded by their old home, a two-story Colonial on a noisy corner.

They began by looking for a rancher with everything on one floor, but in the subdivisions they visited, they could only find Colonial homes similar to the one they wanted to leave.

Then a representative of the developer suggested that they modify one of the company's models, a split level.

That began more than a year of conferences, studying plans and materials catalogs before construction began in April 1994. They averaged four visits a week to the construction site. "It was our whole life," Mrs. Distance said. Their new home has vinyl siding and sits on a 90-foot-by-95-foot lot on Janene Circle.

The developer's plan originally called for no garage, but the Distances had a two-car garage built, with a storage room at the rear.

The storage room opens onto a concrete patio with stairs up to a deck off the living room.

The front door's leaded glass window is one of the many upgrades the couple insisted on. Others included the 50-gallon soaking tub in the master bathroom and inside door hardware, for which they paid the extra costs over builder's standard.

From the front entrance, steps lead to the living room on the upper level. The entrance and part of the living room are covered by a cathedral ceiling.

A hall to the left leads to the master bedroom, where a wall was removed to make a large L-shaped room of two smaller rooms.

The home also includes a feature designed by the couple in dead space the builders discovered while erecting the home, which was the first of its model.

By removing a wall, the builders created a balcony on top of the master bathroom that could be reached by stairs from the dining room.

The balcony leads to an area now furnished as another bedroom. Skylights and a railing on the balcony opened up the area.

With the exception of a sofa in the family room, all of the furniture came from their old home. The 13-foot-by-15-foot dining room includes redesigned drapes, a chandelier and sconces.

The kitchen, enlarged to 15 feet by 11 feet by moving a wall toward the living room, includes wooden cabinets, tiled walls and a table and chairs in the middle.

Both the formal living room and the family room below it have wood-burning fireplaces.

The 15-foot-by-20-foot family room, formed by removing another wall, can be reached by stairs down from the entrance way.

There are also stairs to the lower level at the other end of the house by the master bedroom. In addition to the family room, the lower level includes a guest bedroom, laundry facilities and other features. Those include a cedar closet in a space that became available when it was found that a larger space would be needed for the bigger furnace and air conditioner that were necessary because of the changes.

It also includes a concrete-floored crawl space for storage. Mrs. Distance said they eliminated the basement to avoid the additional flight of steps needed to enter it.

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