Duplex transformed by daily color shows

Dream Home

November 02, 2003|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Mornings are colorful occasions for Rick Chaney and Amy Winter.

The sun rises above grassy knolls just across from their front door. It shines through branches of leafy trees and makes its way through the stained-glass transoms above their door and window. It is then that a kaleidoscope of color bounces off the ceiling and walls of their front room.

Evenings are a bit of a show, too.

The setting sun, enjoyed from a rooftop patio, casts yellow and orange hues over neighboring homes beyond their yard. The colors also spread to the sails of boats in the harbor.

The home is in Southeast Baltimore's Patterson Park neighborhood, a thriving community wedged between Butchers Hill and Canton. Several city blocks along South Patterson Park Avenue face the west side of the park, a bucolic, 155-acre city retreat.

The Chaney-Winter home, a two-story brick duplex, is typical of the structures here, most built during the early 1900s. The small front yard is accessible through a black metal gate, while on either side of a brick walk, two raised gardens bordered with cinderblocks contain a variety of plants, even a small maple tree.

"The garden gives us a bit of privacy from the busy street," says Winter, 30, owner of Winter's Edge, an event-planning company in Baltimore.

A beveled-glass front door, painted deep blue, opens to an art deco dining area in the front room. White walls present a pristine contrast to a glass-topped, black wrought-iron table and chairs.

The effect is carried over in wall sconces and a metal-framed black-and-white photograph of Mount Vernon Methodist Church. Many of the city's other architectural treasures are depicted elsewhere in the house.

On the south wall of the room, a black marble fireplace with an arched opening features olive marble rectangular pieces inlaid in a spoke-like fashion. Nonworking, but original to the home, the fireplace cements the deco tone of the room, especially with a two-toned smoked-glass mirror on the wall overhead and a peridot green porcelain vase on the mantle.

Rick Chaney, 28, a systems consultant for Bel Air Computers in White Marsh, was thrilled to purchase his home in February 2000 for $167,000. The price included a parcel of land 15 feet by 90 feet, with indoor living space of 1,350 square feet.

The north end of the house is covered in gray aluminum siding and has a side entrance. Windows run along more than half of the first floor's 60-foot length.

Hardwood pine flooring on both levels is original to the 1910 house, as is a homey tin ceiling of squares and rosettes in the kitchen.

"The house was 99 percent renovated when we bought it," says Chaney, "allowing us to spend our money [approximately $10,000] on paint, furniture and a refrigerator."

The couple tell of one small rehab project that was necessary in the living room on the first level, just past the staircase. The entire 16-foot-long south wall features exposed brick that also is original to the house.

"The brick needed re-pointing," remembers Winter, explaining a process in which the old mortar is chiseled out and replaced. It happened that the neighbors next door had the same idea for their exposed brick wall.

"Seeing as how there is only one set of bricks dividing the houses, they chipped away a hole right into our room," she laughs.

"We weren't home at the time, and they didn't realize what was beyond the hole until they used a flashlight."

Winter and Chaney both think the mortared repair gives the wall character.

The living room also houses the dwelling's second fireplace, on the east wall of the room and in working condition.

It has a mantel of warm, natural pine that holds family photos. An earth-tone canvas sofa and a microfiber barrel chair in shades of brown and olive sit before a cherry-wood entertainment center on the north wall.

On this wall hangs Chaney's favorite piece, a framed picture of the Patterson Park Pagoda. The west wall of the living room is bathed in a muted, mustard-colored hue.

Warm tones dominate the rooms on the second level, too.

The master bedroom is painted a soft butter color. A modern dresser, bookcase and end tables in light birch wood complete a Scandinavian feel.

Light beige fabric shades throughout the upstairs are designed to lower down from the top, allowing Winter and Chaney to enjoy the park views from the second-level rooms without being seen from street level.

"This is absolutely my favorite color of all time," says Winter, pointing to the baby blue walls of the back combination bedroom and office. A dark blue futon and a throw rug in geometric, blue-toned designs offer cool contrast to a white birch computer workstation. A door on the west wall leads to the back deck and a view of Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

"A visit to their home is a very nostalgic experience for me," notes Kelli Sawyer, an event producer at Winter's Edge. "It exemplifies Baltimore city living, as I remember it, spending time with my grandmother in her Federal Hill home."

In spite of the rehab job, one major project remains.

"I want a third-level deck," says Winter.

Given the view, Chaney nods in agreement.

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