Owner follows vision for home in Butchers Hill Purchased for $70,000, house now worth $160,000

Dream Home

September 29, 1996|By Beth Reinhard | Beth Reinhard,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

When Dean Zlomke bought his Butchers Hill home in 1989 for $70,000, it was a shabby building of three cramped apartments with faux-brick walls, lime-green linoleum floors and shag carpet.

But Zlomke, who has lived in Baltimore most of his life, envisioned crown molding, pinewood floors and a wood deck with a view of the skyline.

He ripped out the interior and started from ground zero, filling five truck-size bins with the debris.

"From the moment I stepped in this house, I knew exactly what it was going to look like," said Zlomke, 33, who works as a waiter and bartender at the Chart House restaurant at the Inner Harbor but has a knack for design and construction.

Construction zone

His wife, Stephanie Zlomke, 29, recalled his showing her the building on one of their first dates. It looked like a construction zone.

"Half the walls weren't up and there was no kitchen, and he's talking about the dark purple shade he's going to paint the dining room," she said.

Six years, $60,000 and countless hours of labor later (including a lot of help from his father and friends), the newlyweds are living in the house of their dreams. They estimate its current value at $160,000.

The house on Patterson Park Avenue, built in the 1850s, is nearly 3,000 square feet.

Furnishing such a large house can be expensive, but the Zlomkes have a keen eye for free or inexpensive household items.

The large mirror in the master bathroom belonged to his former barber.

The mantelpiece in the parlor had been abandoned on a street corner. An old blackboard serves as the fireplace hearth. Several maritime-theme portraits were bought for $25 at an auction.

One of the house's biggest renovations was the basement. Zlomke dug two feet below the floor to create an airier room, shoveling dirt into five-gallon buckets and dumping them onto a rented conveyor belt that carried the dirt outside.

Cozy game room

He poured a concrete floor, topped it with a forest-green carpet and painted the ceiling the same color, creating a cozy game room with a stereo, a television and a Foosball table.

But it's the little touches that give the house its charm: window boxes with fuchsia geraniums and vinca vine, cedar-lined closets and the cornflower knobs on the cherry-wood kitchen cabinets.

Zlomke built a wood deck outside the second-floor kitchen that overlooks his wife's garden, which she transformed from dirt and wild onions into a bed of hollyhocks, pink aster, lilacs and mums.

Stephanie Zlomke, who organizes industrial trade shows, also made a large wreath of dried flowers for a wall along the stairs.

The guest bedroom has a cheerful cornflower blue comforter and a steel headboard that Stephanie Zlomke designed to look like the sun's rays.

The bathroom includes a refinished claw-foot tub.

The master bathroom is more modern, with a Jacuzzi, a separate, double-headed shower and a white and maroon tiled floor.

Both bedrooms overlook the green expanse of Patterson Park, where the Zlomkes walk their white poodle, Dusty.

Dean Zlomke said he is going to build another deck, this one on the roof, which will provide a magnificent view of the rectory of nearby Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, and of Fort McHenry, the World Trade Center and other downtown buildings.

Pub Date: 9/29/96

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