Blow dart in leg got him to move

DREAM HOME

Escape: A beautiful rural home freed Tim Hayes from the vandals ruining his Bel Air neighborhood.

February 24, 2002|By Amelia Cleary | Amelia Cleary,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It took a blow dart to Tim Hayes' leg to convince him and his wife that enough was enough.

"I was working on my car one day," he said, "I was bending over, and I heard this car drive by. I got shot in the leg with this 4-inch stainless steel dart. I was flipping out.

"Mary was all upset and said, `I'll call the insurance.'

"I said, `No you're not, you're gonna call the Realtor. We're selling today.'"

In their Bel Air neighborhood, where the couple had planned to raise their children, mischievous pranks had turned into vandalism. Neighbors found their car windows smashed and their houses splattered with paint balls.

That was in March.

But as of Dec. 1, the couple was able to talk about this event from their new home in the Harford County community of Street. Their 3,000-square-foot Colonial is nestled within secluded woods on a nearly 8-acre lot, surrounded by "life's most important [thing], which is nature," Mary Hayes said.

$100,000 lot

The Hayeses came across a newspaper ad for the lot and purchased it for $100,000. Then they began hunting for floor plans and a builder. They logged onto http://www.dreamhomesource.com, punched in their criteria and downloaded several floor plans.

After getting a number of estimates from builders, only Scott Mackie Custom Homes was able to meet their budget. The contractor built their four-bedroom home, plus three-car garage, for $255,000, excluding the cost of the lot.

The Hayeses kept the costs down by doing much of the work.

Tim Hayes, who works as a radar technician in air-traffic-control towers, installed all the flooring - granite in the foyer, laminated faux-wood in the living room and Italian ceramic tiles in the kitchen. He also installed intercom and central vacuum systems.

Construction work had always interested him, so instead of spending the extra money on contractors, he bought material at Home Depot and used two vacation weeks to work on the house. "It was like $1,800 just [for the contractor] to do the foyer. I think I got 600 bucks in it," he said.

Each room has an intercom that connects to the front door and the stereo system. The family can talk from room to room, or the Hayeses can monitor their two young children, Alessandra and Brendan.

Mary Hayes, a market sales manager for Modern Bride magazine, worked closely with an interior designer to find decorating ideas that fit her budget. "We didn't have the expense of spending to buy new furniture, but [the designer] worked with what I had already," she said.

Complimentary Jacuzzi

She picked out a buttery yellow for the walls in the family room. Rustic copper chandeliers were selected for the foyer, dining room and family room. She chose scalloped-shaped his-and-her sinks in the master bathroom. The builder threw in a complimentary Jacuzzi.

Tim Hayes made sure that the two full baths on the second floor had skylights, and sliding glass doors were added to the dining room. "We wanted as many windows as possible. ... You might as well look at the view," Mary Hayes said. As a result, their home is flooded with natural light.

They decided to eliminate the formal living room and use the space for a larger kitchen. A 10-by-5-foot, dark green granite slab sits on top of the kitchen island, with bar stools for party guests.

"If you're going to invest the dollars by building, you might as well get all the things that you ever wanted instead of replacing it later," she said, adding that they were able to use granite counter tops in the bathrooms as well as the kitchen.

"Pretty much what you see is what you got," Tim Hayes said of the properties that surround his.

Unlike Bel Air, creeping development shouldn't be a problem in their neighborhood because of the large lot sizes required in the development. The land covenant requires one septic system or well per 40,000 square feet in Street. "We're guaranteed [space]," Mary Hayes said.

"I am happy that I did [custom build] because I had [the opportunity] to choose ... every single aspect of my new home," she added.

But the land is what she really loves. With deer that come up to the back yard and a creek that runs down past the woods, she wouldn't trade it for anything.

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