Three-story showplace in Forest Park


Decorator: Her 6,600-square-foot house provides a huge palette for a creative Baltimore woman and her husband.

November 30, 2003|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Carter Ward believes that "you can come home again."

In March last year, he proved that to his wife-to-be, purchasing a grand Dutch Colonial in the same Forest Park neighborhood where she grew up.

A wide variety of architectural styles line the side streets of this Northwest Baltimore neighborhood, off Liberty Heights Avenue, where large, single-family homes sit majestically at the apex of large front yards. Spanish-style stucco and red-tiled-roof villas rest beside brick Colonials, clapboard bungalows and lace-trimmed Victorians.

Ward, 51, a procurement manager for the University of Maryland, paid $160,000 for his five-bedroom find, which was built in 1925. He and his fiancee, Cindy Leverette, an interior decorator, immediately went to work on its renovation. Seventeen months and $30,000 later, new lighting, carpeting, painting, artwork, furniture and draperies have transformed the three-story house into a showplace.

A newlywed of eight weeks, Leverette Ward invites her guests in from the large, wraparound porch with Adirondack-style rockers to a bright, pastel-painted foyer - she calls it "pina colada shade." A chunky, wooden-slatted banister at the north end of the entry hall winds two levels up and is painted white.

The home's first floor reveals a variety of pastel shades on every wall of the 40-foot-by-55-foot open layout. The total effect is evocative of a circa 1930 summer cottage in the Hamptons.

Just left of the foyer, the living room is a study in monochromatic design with an emphasis on blush and oyster shades. A three-piece sectional sofa in white is adorned with damask-flowered pillows.

"Art nouveau is characterized by curves and fluidity," Leverette Ward points out. "This is opposed to art deco, which deals more with rigid and rectangular lines."

She chose the former style for their home. A white, wooden rocker in the southeastern corner of the room easily balances the sofa, while an armoire of pecan, burl and oak dentil molding introduces a heavier color to the pastel furniture. The picture window, with its southern exposure, is dressed in champagne damask swags over silk sheers. White blinds behind the draperies are placed on every window for a uniform effect.

Flanking this treatment are two hung glass cabinets showcasing Leverette Ward's collection of 120 Lennox and crystal miniature clocks.

She and her husband are collectors of African art, displaying their treasures throughout their home. Tall - almost life-size - ebony statues called "Ciwara" stand on each side of a brick fireplace. Jade and limestone busts of men and women are displayed on white, laminated pedestals in the dining room. Bright Jamaican print scarves are draped over and around the pieces. Armless, high-backed contemporary chairs were chosen for the dining room's glass-topped table.

A half-wall separates the dining room from the kitchen. Light mauve ceramic tile softly accents the sand-colored oak cabinets. Muted, floral print window swags pick up the pastel pink and light lemon yellow of the walls.

The circular layout of the home's second level features two bedrooms, two baths and Ward's den, which is accented in dark cherry furniture. Absent from the desk and bookcases is computer equipment.

"No cell phones at home, either," Leverette Ward says. "These things separate the continuity of a humble home. [They] are kept at work."

A guest room features light wicker furniture, a bright floral bedspread and sandy beige festoons, a balloon-type window treatment characterized by copious fabric. Monet reproductions on the walls complete an airy effect reminiscent of the Impressionist era.

The L-shaped master bedroom contains three bay windows, which have been decorated in warm burgundy tones. Heavy pine furniture and African tropical print cornices lend a masculine tone to the room.

The third level of this 6,600-square-foot home provides a fourth bath and TV room for entertaining. There is also a special place for Leverette Ward.

"I call it Cindy's Room," she says, laughing. "It is a duplicate of a room I had as a child. And it is my private space."

Treasures here include family photographs, glass vanity mirrors on a dresser, which holds crystal bottles and a jewelry box. The fabric choices here are in soft beige, green and rose.

Although it appears that every corner of the home has been graced with Leverette Ward's artistic touch, she suggests that more changes may lie ahead.

"We have just begun," she says. "I'm a decorator; I can do anything."

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