Kathy Abbott and her husband, Dr. Gary Pushkin, were driving through Guilford around four years ago when, quite by accident, they saw a home that ended their search.
They had been house-hunting for five months. Some of the homes at which they looked were modern but sterile. Others were lacking the big modern kitchen and other features they wanted. They even bought a lot but were unable to agree on a style. "He wanted traditional. I wanted modern, contemporary," Ms. Abbott said.
But the two-story stucco home near Sherwood Gardens settled the matter. The surgeon and his wife moved from Lutherville, and haven't looked back.
Both liked the details and materials in older homes; Dr. Pushkin disliked the plastic moldings he had seen in a model home.
The front door, off a semicircular driveway, leads into a central hall with black and white marble flooring and a curving stairway to the second floor.
To the right is a living room with one of the five fireplaces in the home.
In the library behind it, the paint has been stripped from the wood paneling and bookshelves have been built in and stained to match. Dr. Pushkin said they had some difficulty finding a contractor who would build the shelves using wood rather than particle board.
Off the library is a powder room with tiles brought back by Ms. Abbott from a visit to Italy. She got them from central Italy, where she was born. Her father, a Westinghouse Electric Co. engineer, worked in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, and met his future wife in Italy about 1960. The family relocated to the Baltimore area in 1972.
There is a sun porch off the library and a living room, now used as a playroom for the couple's two children: Arianna, 4, and Jeremy, 20 months.
To the left of the entrance hall are a sitting room and a formal dining room, and at the rear of the house, a kitchen and pantry.
"We live in the kitchen," Ms. Abbott said. It was the focus, she said, of much of the renovation work done between 1991, when they bought the house, and 1992, when they moved in.
They retained the pantry, covering the counter tops with tiles from another trip to Italy. But several other rooms and the original kitchen were combined into one large room with cooking equipment for two people and furnishings that include a couch and an "Irish wake table." Dr. Pushkin and Ms. Abbott both like to cook, and each has a stove.
They added a door to the garage from the kitchen, so that it could be reached directly from inside the house.
Major work on the second floor has centered about the master bedroom suite, which is above the living room and library. There, two bathrooms were rebuilt into one with green marble and a whirlpool tub, and a bedroom was turned into a dressing room.
The second floor includes six bedrooms most with their own baths as well as a playroom and storage rooms.
Though they built a dirt berm topped with plantings along one side of the property to give more privacy to their yard, they have had no problems with the springtime hordes of visitors to Sherwood Gardens.
Ms. Abbott noted that many young families are moving into the neighborhood. She added, "I don't think you could find a better neighborhood."
Pub Date: 3/24/96