A place where all the family can gather 25 grandchildren, and 'little by little they all come over'

Dream Home

January 28, 1996|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Dream Home feature will periodically visit the homes of

some of the Baltimore area's notable citizens.

Nicholas Mangione, a multimillionaire developer and owner of Turf Valley Golf and Country Club, thought of one thing when he designed his dream home 17 years ago -- his family.

With 10 children and 25 grandchildren, he and his wife wanted a home that would be "the focal point of their lives -- of them growing up and their kids growing up," Mr. Mangione said.

Nestled off a long driveway in a middle-income development near Perring Parkway in Baltimore County, the Mangiones' three-story brick home was built to accommodate the large, close-knit family.

Outdoors, on seven acres, are a soccer field, a gazebo for summer barbecues, a swimming pool, tennis courts and parking for 13 cars.

"All the kids were interested in soccer so we wanted to build them a soccer field, and have a swimming pool and tennis courts -- that was our dream," said Mr. Mangione, beginning to reminisce about the two Baltimore rowhouses where he and his wife, Mary, began raising their family.

Back then, their six children shared one bathroom and three bedrooms -- one of which was eight feet wide.

When they moved around the corner to another Gardenville house where Mr. Mangione built a fourth bedroom and a second bathroom, "we thought it was a huge estate," he said.

These days, the Mangione family shares large living spaces, eight bedrooms, five bathrooms and a huge basement recreation room, which features a fireplace, play room, entertainment center, bar, pinball machine, pool table and a second kitchen.

"The entire family shares the entire house," Mr. Mangione said. "I like being with my kids all the time."

Only their youngest daughter, Michelle, 27, still lives at home, but, Mr. Mangione says, the bedrooms are often used by grandchildren spending the night on weekends.

"Little by little, they all come over. Especially on weekends, they're here all the time," Mr. Mangione said. "On Sunday evenings, everyone comes over for dinner."

Only one room -- the formal living room which features family portraits and expensive antique pieces -- is just for show. The other rooms are done in bright, cheerful colors with comfortable furnishings.

Of course, the house is not without some extraordinary touches, such as the Italian marble foyer, recessed lighting and huge bay windows.

"This is a living house. We don't have to worry about kids breaking something," Mr. Mangione explained.

Mr. Mangione's wife of 45 years, Mary, did all the decorating.

"She does it all. She just passes it by me," Mr. Mangione said.

"She does things in moderate taste. All the rooms are cheerful and make you happy."

To him, the kitchen, which is done in bright yellow, is the best example of this and consequently is his favorite room in the house.

"It's airy and spacious and the table is large enough for all the kids to hang around," he said, adding that, although he has a desk in the bedroom, he does most of his work right there on the kitchen table.

From there, amid the bustling activity, he can greet family members as they enter from the side entrance or watch the grandchildren play outside from the elevated porch off the kitchen.

That is, after all, why he built the house.

"It's our dream home. It's not an exotic house," Mr. Mangionexplained, "but it satisfies our needs."

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