Fells Point rowhouse filled with character


Instant attraction: Larry and Marianne Fishman bought their home in Fells Point the very day they looked at it.

January 11, 2004|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Marianne Fishman is proud to welcome guests to her three-story, red brick home on South Washington Street in Fells Point.

The end-unit rowhouse offers a front foyer entrance that provides an unobstructed view of the 80-foot-long home, which is awash in warm earth tones.

Marianne and Larry Fishman moved to their home in May, making the $249,000 purchase the same day they looked at it.

"The bones were great," Marianne Fishman remembers of the 130-year-old house. "It was rehabbed before we moved in."

The Fishmans found the four bedroom, 3 1/2 -bath, 2,600-square-foot home full of character, especially with its original pine doors and distressed flooring throughout.

An additional $40,000 was put into the home's exterior, which included painting a large cornice overhang on the facade, new shutters and roof, front steps and a custom backyard fence. The Fishmans also rewired, to 200 amps from 100.

The home's decor was left to Marianne Fishman's expertise as an interior designer. She owns Row House Interiors.

Custom-made jacquard draperies dramatize the arch between the living and dining rooms. These two-toned, gold silk portieres provide the entrance to the persimmon-colored dining room. Here, a brass chandelier hangs over a polished mahogany table. A crewel table runner in a soft mustard floral motif complements the cafe curtains on two windows.

French doors lead to a homey kitchen painted in butterscotch, or "Mary Jane gold because it is the same color as Mary Jane candies," Marianne Fishman says, laughing.

Birch cabinets, stone gray Formica countertops and a light slate floor laid in a diagonal pattern provide a backdrop to the room's black appliances.

The 14-by-14-foot living room is painted in a soft gold and includes a long sofa of sage colored cotton velvet. A floor-to-ceiling gilt-framed mirror - original to the house - hangs on the south wall, seeming to double the room's size. Atop the dark pine mantel sits a large stone Buddha.

"There are statues of Buddha all over," notes Larry Fishman, 46, a financial administrator for Sylvan Learning Centers. "They set the peaceful tone."

The 15-by-90-foot back yard beyond the kitchen door is a bucolic retreat for the Fishmans. Their new lattice-topped wooden fence encloses magnolia and crepe myrtle trees, where twinkling chimes hang. Styrofoam and glitter cutout snowflakes (also adorning the trees) provide a touch of wintry whimsy.

"I wanted this entire floor to feel like a summer house," says Marianne Fishman, climbing the narrow circular staircase to the home's second level.

The master bedroom is painted in sky blue. Wooden-slatted blinds grace the windows, and a pastel quilt dresses the bed. Dog photographs and prints pepper the walls. The original wood flooring is a favorite for the couple.

"With all the dings and pings, you couldn't pay us to cover these," Marianne Fishman says.

The Fishmans' television room is at the midway point on the second level and is painted in straw yellow.

The guest room, done in soft, leaf green, features a trundle bed covered in floral chintz and a tiger oak dresser that Larry Fishman found in a New York antique shop, "my one contribution to the decorating," he says, laughing.

Beyond the bedroom is a full bath making a "suite for our guests when they come to visit," says Marianne Fishman. "To me, the biggest compliment is when people tell me how comfortable [my house] is."

An open stairwell leads to the third-level half-floor, or garret. The south wall contains shelves filled with books. The front room serves as the couple's office space.

Alison Bost, the Fishmans' next-door neighbor, likes the color choices for the home. "The blue in their bedroom makes you feel so calm," Bost says.

Marianne Fishman thinks they have found a dream in this Baltimore home. A ceramic plaque on the inside of the front door reads: "Miracles Happen."

"We love the city, and we hope more and more people continue moving here," Marianne Fishman says.

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