Joy and Grant Pivec's palatial new home rests as a columned tribute to country gentility at the end of a half-mile-long, gravel driveway in northern Baltimore County.
Just a couple of months from completion, the interior is about to be painted.
Joy Pivec stands in the midst of exposed drywall, in what will soon be her state-of-the-art kitchen. She speaks first about a master plan, one that preceded the custom design of this house.
Her in-laws, Sharon and Dave Pivec, nurtured dreams of a family compound, one on which they, and all three of their children, would eventually build four homes on land off Old York Road.
"She [Sharon Pivec] bought 25 acres up here," Joy said. "We're the first to build; they will be next. Eventually there will even be a sports complex, with pool and tennis courts."
Joy and her husband, Grant, laid the foundation for this dream in August.
The task would be large. To design and execute the plan, they hired Tyler Anderson, of Tyler Anderson HomeBuilders.
"My husband and I like 'big,' " she laughed, gesturing toward the four-car garage on the far west wing of the 8,500-square- foot home. "We picked out a floor plan we liked and blew it up."
Joy, 32, is a Fox 45 weather and traffic reporter currently on maternity leave. Grant, 29, is the owner of Courtney's Restaurant in Timonium.
The home, which is Georgian in appearance, is constructed of Blue Ridge stone from Pennsylvania. The two wings are done in cream-colored stucco. An arched window rests atop a 10-foot front door at this portico entrance, complete with stone steps and four columns.
Inside, the entrance hall gives way to a living room on the east end of the main wing. Joy will put her grand piano here for a formal music room. Three strips of crown molding and high baseboards are prominent in this room and throughout the house.
The dining room across the hall also features covert boxed-down molding for a drop ceiling effect.
Wood pillars define the entrance to each of these rooms as well as the great room, situated southeast of the entrance hall and extending to the back of the home.
Here, under a 21-foot cathedral ceiling, light is in abundance. Four, large-paned windows flank each side of a floor-to-ceiling hearth. It is in the same gray-and-beige stone used outside. An open staircase east of the hearth features another arched window at the landing.
A second-level overlook of the great room reveals the home's octagon center wing.
"This is going to be a funky room," Joy said of the children's playroom in the back of the east wing.
With four large windows looking out to the back yard, their children - Carson, 4, and eventually Brock, 16 weeks - will play on what Joy calls "loopy, soft carpeting," in the company of painted pink and red flamingos on the wall.
The far east wing comprises a two-story gym with bath.
"We'll place our treadmill, Stairmaster, and weights in this room," Joy said. She pointed out two French doors leading to an outdoor, octagon-shaped deck, where Grant will relax after workouts.
Joy continued the tour, heading past the painters toward the second-story staircase, one of two in the home. Harvey Watts, of CMW Painting Co., commented on the size of the job.
"It's a mansion," he said. "The basement is like a house down there."
Joy, however, is already on the second level, ready to show off the master suite. Extending the width of the west wing, the suite features a southern balcony, dressing room and two baths. This also has what Joy Pivec calls "the funniest part of the house" - her closet, which runs the length of the four-car garage.
"In my business," Joy explained, "I have to have a new outfit every day."
The children each have their own suites with bathrooms. Carson's has a deep garden tub - perfect for her to swim in.
An above-ground basement, the foundation of which is 10-foot stone, features a bowling alley, wine cellar and bar.
Back in the kitchen, Joy drew the furniture layout in the air, indicating the northern wall where the flat-screen television will rest, as well as the western wall of this wing.
The kitchen includes a Viking oven and refrigerator and a center island with a granite countertop.
Tyler Anderson dropped by to inspect the work. Joy teased him about the finish date of late August. If it's not ready by then, she said, " ... you'll be taking my kids to school."
"Detail-wise and exterior finish-wise, this is the nicest house I have ever built," Tyler observed, " ... and I've been in business since 1987."
He noted - among the home's many features - hardwood floors throughout, 55 Anderson windows, five French doors, a three-zone central air and heating system and radiant floor heating in the master suite.
Tyler then gave Joy a nod of approval to reveal the cost. She stated, somewhat reluctantly, "One and a half million."
Then, with a smile almost as wide as the kitchen, she proclaimed what is a standing joke between herself and the builder: "Does my husband need to know?"