Home is built to show age

DREAM HOME

Older style: Monkton house has circa 1900 charm without the hassle of repairs and updating.

July 30, 2000|By Lisa Wiseman | Lisa Wiseman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Everything old is new.

For 11 years Julie and Mike Eagan and their three sons lived in a beautiful, modern home. Mr. Eagan, a general contractor with his own business, Eagan Enterprises Inc., built the house himself.

The multilevel cedar-and-stone home in Monkton had all the typical design elements found in contemporary homebuilding today - cathedral ceilings, large windows, skylights, an oversized whirlpool tub and a well-landscaped yard.

But then the Eagans started to feel some growing pains as their sons got older and no longer wanted to share bedrooms and bathrooms.

"They really needed their own space," Mrs. Eagan said of her three sons, Sean, 16, and 12-year-old twins Griffin and Jordon.

Also, Mike Eagan's mother was living with the family for several months each year and the Eagans wanted her to have her own room as well.

The Eagans had planned ahead and purchased 27 acres in northern Baltimore County. They subdivided the property into three lots and kept 11.5 acres for themselves. But instead of building another beautiful, but larger, contemporary home on the land, they decided to do something different.

"I wanted something more traditional this time," Mr. Eagan said. Instead of another modern dwelling, he set out to build an old-style house.

Since a large part of his contracting business involves updating, renovating and building additions to old homes, he was familiar with the style and building designs of historic homes in northern Baltimore County. "I've always liked the look of older homes," he said.

So why didn't he buy an old house and restore it for himself?

"That was never an option," Eagan said emphatically. "There can be too many things wrong with an older home. Some people really like to fix up an old home, but I like things new."

The Eagans wanted all the charm and style of an old home but without the hassle of worrying about electrical upgrades or questionable plumbing.

At first, Mrs. Eagan was worried that she might miss her modern house. She was especially fond of the large windows and skylights that bathed the house in light.

"I think I missed it for about 10 minutes," Mrs. Eagan said. "After that, I fell in love with this house."

From the outside, the Eagans' 2-year-old home looks as if it could have been standing on the heavily wooded lot for more than a century. Inside, the home looks like a turn-of-the century farmhouse. And while it has the distinct charm of an older home, it has the amenities of a modern house.

"I knew exactly what I wanted," Mr. Eagan said, referring to the spacious and state-of-the-art kitchen, a second-floor laundry room and the oversized tub of the master bathroom.

Still, the home has the distinct look and design of an old house. "With most of these older homes, additions were put on over the years. Often they used different building materials; I designed the home to look like that," Mr. Eagan said.

The main portion of the three-story home is brick. Off to the sides are two smaller, wing-like "additions" made of stone salvaged from the original Sparks Elementary School, which burned to the ground in 1995. To further give the illusion that the stone portion of the home was an addition for a mud room and Mr. Eagan's study, the brick of the main portion of the home was left exposed inside.

In the back of the home, a wood "addition" includes the main living area and kitchen.

"Of course, I built this all at the same time, but it looks like I added on to the house over the years," Mr. Eagan said. He also decided to not attach the garage to the house but place it several yards away.

"Older homes didn't have attached garages," he said.

Other design decisions were made for historical accuracy. The roof is metal. Cherry flooring was used throughout the main living areas of the home and slate was used for the mud room, pantry and bathrooms.

Mr. Eagan noticed that in many older homes the risers on staircases were painted, so he did the same thing.

"I had a tough time finding a front door," he said. After looking at many, many doors, none of which seemed historically accurate, he had a shop make a copy of a door he liked on a church in Cockeysville.

The home is a showcase for the Eagans' antiques. Mr. Eagan is an enthusiastic collector. Currently, he is on the lookout for old locks and doorknobs for the doors inside the home. But the house is far from a museum.

"We truly live in this house," Mrs. Eagan said, adding that with three sons, a dog and a cat, the home is both beautiful and practical. The slate floors may be historically accurate, but they are also very low maintenance, she said. "They look good even when they're dirty," her husband added.

In all, the Eagans spent more than $300,000 building their home, and are satisfied with how it turned out.

"We just love living out here," Julie Eagan said. "When we were younger we used to drive around the area and just look at all the old houses, and now we're here."

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