A Bodkin Creek view and `plenty of charm'

DREAM HOME

Welcome: The three-level house on the water, surrounded by trees and gardens, has a feel of turn-of-the-century Greece.

May 07, 2000|By Mary E. Medland | Mary E. Medland,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When Gayle Economos moved into her Anne Arundel County home in 1986, she found a handwritten note taped to the kitchen window. It was a gift from the original owner, an elderly widow who was going to live with her daughter.

"I don't remember the precise words that she wrote, but it more or less said, `I wish you all the joy that comes from this view, which I have loved for so long,'" Economos said. The scene the writer had so loved was a sweeping view of Bodkin Creek.

Although Economos knew what she wanted, finding the right place to buy was a slow process. Her requirements included waterfront property with riparian rights and a pier with at least 4 feet of mean low water for a sailboat.

"I also wanted a separate living and dining room, a fireplace and plenty of charm," she said.

After an extensive search -- "I looked at tons and tons of houses" -- Economos found her perfect place overlooking Pasadena.

First impressions

"The first impression really wasn't so tempting when I saw it from the outside," she said. "But inside, the house had all the original hardwood floors, all the windows had their original wood trim, which was beautifully varnished.

"The place had, quite simply, a really good feel to it and a beautiful view."

Economos, owner of GVE Media/Public Relations, president of Women in Film and Video, a part-time professor in the department of communications at Goucher College -- her alma mater -- and an occasional substitute for radio personality Mark Steiner, purchased the residence for $165,000.

"The couple who built it were some of the first people to live down here," Economos said. "The woman and her husband first built a bathhouse, which only had a bath and a mattress in it -- then they lived in the bathhouse while the house itself was being built, probably in the mid-1950s."

Economos installed central air conditioning and a high-efficiency oil furnace. "I also redid the kitchen and put in hardwood floors," she said. "And then I added a new Jenn-Air stove, which has this great grilling feature."

She decided to keep the original stainless-steel oven. "Everyone who sees the old stove really loves it -- these ovens have all of a sudden gotten trendy once again."

The main floor of the house, which is a tri-level sort of place, also includes the living and dining rooms. "The first owner -- the woman who left the welcoming note -- had the fireplace hearth built especially high, so that she could sit there and look out over the water," she said.

In these rooms, Economos has decorated with her collection of antique mission and arts-and-crafts furniture and Oriental rugs.

Greek motif

"Even though I work in the media, I really have a great love of history and like old things," said Economos, whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from Greece. "These rooms truly have a sort of historical Greek motif. It very much looks like a turn-of-the-century Greek home, although that's not something that I consciously set out to create."

Downstairs is the family room -- home to 11-year-old daughter Zoe's pet rabbit, Dot, a half-bath, and a utility room. A half-basement houses the pump for the well and is used for storage.

Upstairs from the main living area are two bedrooms, a full bath, and Economos' office. Her bedroom is full of Queen Anne reproductions and decorated with a reproduction of a Minoan fresco, ancient Greek plates and a few Greek icons.

Her daughter's room features mission furniture, a floor-to-ceiling bookcase and Zoe's favorite colors: purple and lavender.

An attic provides further space for storage. "And there's the original attic fan, which is just fabulous," Economos said. "When it's too cool to turn on the air conditioning, the attic fan will create the most wonderful breezes that waft through the house."

Trees and gardens

Outside is a plethora of well-established trees, including scrub pines and many old oak trees, as well as a patio that overlooks the water.

"I have an old apple tree, which always provides us great fruit, especially last year -- the crop was the best ever, I suspect because of the drought," Economos said.

There are several flower gardens, including the "Chesapeake Park" garden, which is the domain of Zoe.

The grown-up flower garden includes everything from zinnias and marigolds to "these little black-eyed Susan kind of things." Economos also grows nasturtiums -- flowers that can also dress up a dinner plate and be eaten.

A vegetable garden provides the two with eggplant, carrots, string beans and everything else for a true Greek salad.

"Well, almost everything. I don't grow feta cheese," Economos said. "A real Greek salad doesn't have lettuce, only feta, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers."

The herb garden is impressive, as well: sage, Greek oregano, thyme, rosemary, and dill.

Room for ducks

Economos' yard has served as a duck nursery over the years. "Every so often the ducks will make their nests in the yard," she said. "Zoe and I once happened to be home on the day that a mother duck decided it was time to march her brood of 10 or so ducklings down to the water for their first swim."

Economos and her daughter keep corn around to feed the ducks, and the two also fish and crab from the pier, and swim in the creek. "Zoe and I'll use a sieve to catch grass shrimp, which we then use for bait," Economos said.

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