Bob and Jean Thompson will be married 49 years in September.
They have raised five children and are now enjoying visits from their 11 grandchildren. At a time when many couples their age consider downsizing, the Thompsons, who are both 68, are deciding color schemes for two of the rooms in their New England-style saltbox in the country.
After selling their Timonium home in 2001, the Thompsons purchased their 2,300-square- foot dream home in Parkton.
"Most people are going into condos of the same size," she says. "We have all the amenities of one-floor living and a lower level, which condos don't have."
Their neighborhood of Bee Tree Mill in northern Baltimore County features a variety of housing styles on large, wooded lots.
Victorians, Georgians and Colonials, most constructed during the mid-1990s, sit high from the winding streets, their wide driveways offering a majestic entry.
The Thompson's home rests off a cul-de-sac and is surrounded by retaining walls of stacked stone and old trees.
The single-story white, aluminum-sided cottage is capped with a sloped roof. Its facade is perfectly symmetrical with the front door flanked on either side by two multipaned windows.
"This house is very deceptive from the front," notes Bob Thompson, a consultant with Maryland Pools.
The entryway offers a bright foyer that opens to a 40-foot by 20-foot living room. Five large multipaned windows, almost floor to ceiling, run the extent of the room's width. Facing west, sunsets pierce through tall trees.
Jean Thompson, a full-time Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, has chosen a buttery yellow paint for the walls, in contrast to the white molding on the floor and ceiling.
A blue woolen carpet with a pastel floral motif enhances the butterscotch tone of the maple wood flooring.
Both serve as the groundwork for a furniture grouping that includes a three-cushioned, mustard-colored sofa (its upholstery thinly lined and dotted in burgundy), a sepia leather lounge chair and a tapestry barrel chair. All are placed at an angle to the log-burning fireplace on the south wall.
Here, a deep white wood mantle graces a slate hearth. A Sessions mantle clock that is more than 100 years old chimes the hours.
Care has been taken in the five window treatments: valances of chintz pull together the soft blues, greens, yellows and rusts of the furnishings. A glass refectory table is placed in front of the windows.
Bob and Jean Thompson paid $301,000 for their three-bedroom, two-bath home. An additional $25,000 was spent to finish the basement.
Northwest of the grand room, seven bay windows with the same western view illuminate the counter of the Thompsons' country kitchen.
Once again, the buttery yellow hues of the walls dominate the space, which also contains a 4-foot by 6-foot cooking island.
"This is a wonderful kitchen," Jean Thompson says. "I can work without feeling crowded [and] I love to cook. The family comes all the time for dinner."
A natural oak table and bentwood chairs, along with a russet rug, provide the contrast in a room where white laminate cupboards and closets house the pantry and china.
The north end of the house has a laundry-mudroom and a two-car garage.
"[This is] the first time in 37 years we ever parked a car indoors," Bob Thompson says. Not even the Colonial they previously owned in Timonium had a garage.
The northeastern wing of the home features two bedrooms and a bath.
The guest room, its windows adorned with large slatted, plantation blinds, is furnished with the Thompsons' original mahogany bedroom set. The bed features four posts that are topped with carved pineapples.
The second bedroom serves as Jean Thompson's office. Here, bay windows are dressed in the same plantation blinds. Ladder-back wicker chairs surround a desk, computer unit and bookcases.
The entire southern wing of the home is devoted to the Thompsons' bedroom suite. The couple notes that, with both eastern and western exposure, this suite is wonderful when the sun shines.
Sage-colored walls in the bedroom provide a soft contrast to dual white laminate armoires. A chintz bed quilt pulls together the tonal scheme of the living room along with twin swivel chairs in rust-colored tufted velvet.
The master bath, at the southwestern corner of the house, is painted in golden yellow and includes a double sink made of Corian and marble, and a walk-in glass shower with two heads. A soaking tub is placed under a window looking onto trees.
The basement is accessed from the grand room via a 15-paned French door. Steps and flooring are covered in light Berber carpeting. The recently finished clubroom is painted in a sand green color. Moldings here, as well as covered support beams, follow the flow of the upstairs.
A miniature train garden dominates the west wall, along with a family photo gallery. A maple furniture grouping sits opposite a widescreen television.
The unfinished southern and western sides of the basement are used for the workroom and storage.
"We're not sure how long we'll stay here ... as long as the health holds out," Bob Thompson says. "[The house] has everything we're looking for."