Closer to work, closer to what they wanted Ferndale house reduces couple's commute, has features they sought

Dream Home

December 21, 1997|By Melinda Rice | Melinda Rice,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

By 1995, they already had owned two houses but neither had been quite what they wanted.

Yet, Tina Rodriguez always had dreamed of owning a two-story home with a big, open kitchen that would blend right into the family room. Ted, her husband, had always wanted a garage and a swimming pool.

Both wanted a short commute to work, and that is what finally spurred them to abandon a ranch-style house in Baltimore for their dream home in Ferndale.

"We got sick of the travel," said Tina. "I was going up and down Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard three times a day."

Both work in Glen Burnie and their 11-year-old daughter, Ashley, attends private school there, so the Rodriguezes concentrated their search in the northern part of Anne Arundel County.

"We looked everywhere," said Tina, who had a pretty good idea of what she was looking for.

Ted said his wife "knew what she wanted from day one."

They had agreed their new home would be custom built.

"Always before, we had to have somebody else's house. You're better off starting from scratch. It's easier," Ted said.

They found a builder and a piece of land they liked in Pasadena, but ruled out that area because of traffic congestion. However, an acquaintance suggested Ferndale.

By October 1995, they had started construction on a 2,400-square-foot home on a quarter-acre lot in a cul-de-sac.

"The lot is just big enough for us," said Tina. "Anything bigger is too much work."

The Rodriguezes moved the next March, despite worries that the unusually harsh winter -- and the snow it brought -- would delay things.

"We made it by the skin of our teeth, which was good since we'd sold the rancher in Baltimore and had to move out," Ted said.

Tina was thrilled. She could finally entertain friends and family the way she had always wanted to in what she calls the "great room."

The large, open area runs the length of the back of the house. One end is a white-tiled kitchen with hardwood floors and a breakfast bar. The other is a carpeted family room.

"You know how there's always one house where everyone gathers? Well, that's our house," said Tina. "It used to be the women cooked and the men watched TV. This way we can be together."

In addition to the great room, the first floor of the home has a half-bath and a formal living room.

The second floor contains three bedrooms, a bathroom and a master suite that includes a bathroom and a recessed area in the wall that holds a 25-inch television set.

A door under the stairway leads to an attached, two-car garage that makes Ted a happy homeowner.

The Rodriguezes spent $185,000 for the lot and house, but as soon as they moved in, they started decorating and adding other amenities.

They added wallpaper, a gas fireplace and an 8-foot mirror surrounded by seashells to the great room. The mirror helps to give the home a more open feeling.

They then went to work on the basement and finished it off with a family room, office and full bath.

A door in the basement leads into the back yard, which is dominated by a 16-foot-long in-ground swimming pool.

Ted always wanted a pool, and once he got one, the family gave up a condominium in Ocean City.

"Why go to the shore when you can stay in your own back yard?" said Ted.

Flanking the pool is a 16-by-20-foot elevated deck, painted gray to match the house's siding.

"We sit out here in the summertime and drink our coffee," said Tina.

A flight of gray-painted stairs leads from the yard to the deck, which is at the same level as the first floor of the house. A door opens into the great room.

By the time they celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary last month, the Rodriguezes figured they had spent an additional $35,000 on their dream home.

"We've been working on it. We've still got some work to do," Tina said.

She and Ted plan to do some landscaping to the front yard, and the back yard will get a set of steps down a steep slope that leads from the pool down to the back fence.

But for the most part, the Rodriguezes are happy. "If we hit the lottery or something, we could probably find something else," said Tina.

"She could," said Ted. "But I'd be happy here."

Pub Date: 12/21/97

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