Five floors, harbor view and romance of the city

DREAM HOME

HarborView: When this couple decided to leave their condominium for a townhouse, they didn't have to look far.

July 07, 2002|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When James L. Fisher and his wife, Kimberly, decided to move, it took them only five minutes to go from the old to the new.

The couple, the very first residents of HarborView condominiums, have done exactly that, in purchasing one of the residences at The Townes of HarborView - located at the Inner Harbor off Key Highway in Baltimore's Federal Hill.

The elegant, Georgian-style townhouses, together with the monolithic condominium tower and a separate building of 164 luxury apartments, make up the urban resort otherwise known as HarborView Marina & Yacht Club.

Like most upscale city dwellers, the Fishers have been drawn to the vibrant pace of downtown living while being equally comfortable in the villagelike setting of their surroundings. The two acknowledge that their home, its features and upgrades, as well as the placement of their extensive antique collection within, are very important to them.

"We could have lived anywhere we wanted, but here [at HarborView] it's always changing, growing. There is a real sense of vision to this community, and it's getting better each year," Kimberly Fisher said.

The grounds in and around the complex - which include a common area of parklike green, a spring-fed, fresh-water canal and perfectly placed landscaping - stand in peaceful contrast to the continued construction of housing in the community.

Entering the home, one begins at the second level - the main living area - of the five-story townhouse. The foyer is done in black and white tile and flanked with impressive columns that stretch to the 9-foot ceiling. An ebony baby grand piano graces the corner of the living room.

Prominent throughout the home are original paintings and prints in classic gilt frames, including an original Sandro Botticelli oil painting that dominates the living room. Other objets d'art reveal the Fishers' world travels. Like a kid showing off his new train set, he points out the indoor elevator that has been enhanced with stained glass.

The floor plan is open, and rooms are defined by color with coordinating crown molding and other trim. A graceful fluidity from one area to the next is punctuated by nooks and crannies - a loveseat here, a chair and reading lamp there.

"I like to meander through the house," said Kimberly Fisher, " ... and on five floors, it's easy to have private space."

James Fisher, a former president of Towson State University and writer of business leadership publications, had nothing but praise for the construction phase of the couple's move.

"I felt, throughout the whole process, that I was dealing with a custom builder, taking extensive time to work to my specifications," he said.

Nowhere in the home is this meticulous attention to detail more apparent than on the fourth level - or as Fisher calls it, the "I love me floor."

Here, in the huge front area of the home, is the library with rich dark wood paneling, fireplace, bookshelves, and a pool table prominently center stage. The rear of the fourth level houses Fisher's study and office, with photographs of children and memorabilia of his career.

The fifth level of the home is what the Fishers refer to as their "roof house," which includes a wet bar, skylight and telescope. Doors open onto a rooftop deck and a panoramic view of the harbor.

The Fishers entertain visitors here, and in the guest quarters on the rear ground level behind their two-car garage. Decorated in chinz and country accessories, the guest bedroom and bath are a welcome retreat.

The third level comprises a master suite with bedroom, two marble baths, dressing rooms and a sitting room. The latter is decorated in warm, beige tones and has an electric fireplace, comfy furniture and reading lamps that provide yet another retreat.

"This will always be our primary residence," said Kimberly Fisher of their $700,000 purchase. "When we are not here, we're off on the boat."

The "boat" to which she refers is their 70-foot yacht docked steps from their home at the marina. The couple says the marina is the greatest perk of HarborView living. That, and amenities such as the full-service health club, outdoor pool and restaurant.

"There is romance and poetry in the city," she said.

And, of course, that sense of community, so evident in the chatting with her neighbor across their decks.

"I've fallen in love with the water," he said. "[We've got] the best of both worlds."

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