A cozy, convenient lifestyle Belair-Edison rowhouse has been couple's home for more than 43 years

Dream Home

September 01, 1996|By Karin Remesch | Karin Remesch,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The wallpaper mural of a New England fishing village in Stanley and Hanorah Alseth's living room not only creates a feeling of spaciousness, but it's also a backdrop for conversation with friends and quiet dinners for two by the "harbor."

A large mirror, an off-the-floor cabinet and recessed lighting also provide a sense of airiness to the room in their three-story rowhouse in Belair-Edison, a Northeast Baltimore community.

"It's small, but quite suitable for us," Stanley Alseth, 80, said of the home the couple bought just before their marriage 43 years ago.

The mirror and "floating" cabinet in the living room are just a few of the tricks the couple has used to make their home both beautiful and functional.

"The house is easy to live in because everything is at our fingertips," Alseth said as he opened a closet door by the entrance. The closet, like others in the house, was compartmentalized to make room for every belonging. Even the backs of the closet doors have been given shelves to hold smaller items such as hats, gloves, keys and umbrellas.

There is no wasted space in the couple's home. In the den, for instance, the closet has been turned into a library, complete with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and lighting.

Two easy chairs are positioned to put a stereo, telephone and hobby supplies within easy reach.

"This is our comfort place," Hanorah Alseth, 87, said of the light-filled room.

While she does needlepoint, her husband works on his memoirs or organizes photographs of their life together. The memoirs include his childhood days in an orphanage.

The couple's photographs of family and trips are displayed throughout the house, along with the needlepoint.

Most of the credit for the bright and airy home goes to Stanley Alseth, who has nurtured a lifelong dream of building and remodeling.

"This house is an outgrowth from where my heart has always been," he said, adding that he studied homebuilding as a young man.

However, he never pursued that occupation. Instead he worked for what was then the Glenn L. Martin Co., and later for the city of Baltimore.

In the master bedroom upstairs, he transformed one wall into a giant closet complete with a built-in vanity, mirror and recessed lighting.

A shelf in the closet holds mementos from the couple's many years of square dancing.

"We just retired from dancing three years ago," he said.

On the lower level, the large eat-in kitchen opens to a small garden. To expand the kitchen further, he recessed the refrigerator under the steps. A perforated board adjacent to the stove holds kitchen utensils.

"My aim has always been to utilize every inch of available space," Stanley Alseth said. Even the smallest area, including space between the studs, has been put to use. For example, shelves placed between the studs in the downstairs powder room hold medicines and household items.

In the laundry room, what would have been unused space underneath the steps has been cleverly turned into two closets. A narrow one holds a fold-down ironing board, another the vacuum cleaner on a pull-out shelf.

Each room is organized to minimize trips up and down the stairs and even from room to room, he said.

"I've tried to design the house," he said, "to create a comfortable retirement haven."

Pub Date: 9/01/96

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