Sweeping view of Baltimore from 23rd floor

Penthouse: Don Davis and Troy Caperton find peace, quality of life and stunning views in their 3,000-square-foot condo.

Dream home

March 14, 2004|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Don Davis and Troy Caperton are relaxing comfortably in their large living room.

Heavy fog outside swirls across three large windows and the patio beyond sliding-glass doors. Their dog, a miniature Schnauzer named Pfeffer, frolics across the hardwood floor, her paws barely audible. A grandfather clock stands sentry at the south wall, rising almost to the 8 1/2 -foot ceiling.

No music plays, and no television drones. The only sounds are the soft hum of traffic and the occasional honking of car horns 23 stories below.

Davis, 52, owner of Central Station Pub on Charles Street, breaks the silence.

"We paid $199,000 for this penthouse 2 1/2 years ago," he says. "And it was in deplorable shape."

Nevertheless, he and his partner, Caperton, 48, an architect, very much wanted the posh St. Paul at Chase address. And only the penthouse - one of four units on the 23rd floor - would do.

The men spent about $200,000 rehabilitating their 3,000- square-foot condominium. They recite the improvements: new floors, windows, a complete kitchen, baths, baseboard and ceiling moldings, and doors in each room.

"Fifty percent of our furnishings are new as well," Davis says.

The fog lifts a bit, and he steps outside onto the patio, noting that on a clear day his vista takes in the Key Bridge and beyond. He doesn't fear the height: Concrete patio walls almost 4 feet high allow a panoramic view out, rather than straight down.

They have "some of the most stunning views in all of Baltimore," says friend E.J. Boat- wright. "Not only do they get the harbor, but they look out over all of Mount Vernon and its beautiful steeples."

Potted bushes and trees are lined up along the walls of the 800-square-foot patio and placed amid furniture and grill.

"We have some good parties here," Davis says. "Especially on the Fourth of July."

The circular layout of the condo allows each room to flow easily to the next. West of the living room, painted a khaki-sage color, the dining room is a marked contrast. The walls are a dark, forest green with molding and a stucco ceiling finished in a butternut shade. An inlaid mahogany table 5 feet in diameter rests in front of a Henredon, Greek revival buffet. Green draperies on the south wall window reach the floor. Light is cast on a 4-by-3-foot painting of a 18th-century English gentleman, which is on the west wall that leads to the kitchen.

"We wanted to keep [the kitchen] light, since there are no windows in here," Caperton says.

He is seated in the kitchen at a wrought-iron, glass-topped table reminiscent of a soda fountain. Faux-wood cabinetry painted white contrasts with a wallpaper design in a rich orchard print. Flecked granite countertops display appliances.

The kitchen opens to the east entrance foyer, painted a soft butterscotch called Tobacco Road. A marble-topped gilt credenza and matching mirror reflect classic framed prints on the opposite wall. A hall closet holds coats, jackets and a 4-foot-high slot machine.

North along the foyer, a den painted brick red includes built-in white bookshelves. White dentil molding along the ceiling leads to more green draperies on the west side. A walnut Federal-period desk with a leather inlay sits at a diagonal to the south wall. French doors with beveled glass make up the room's second opening to the living room.

A guest room past the foyer also is butterscotch. The English country furnishings include a four-poster bed with a rice stalk design, 16th-century Delft tulip vases that have been turned into lamps and a mahogany armoire.

Caperton opens the door to the master bathroom, with its light marble floors and limestone walls with hand-carved marble roping.

"All we need in here is a vanity, a mirror and a light," he says.

The master bedroom is painted chocolate with white dentil molding. The room includes a walnut sleigh bed, a damask spread in bright yellow and matching satin draperies and cornices. A brocade wing chair sits in the southwest corner in front of a sunflower tapestry that hangs from the ceiling.

Back in the living room is a light green, striped-silk occasional chair, one of a pair perpendicular to two full-size sofas.

The facing sofas are of light cream damask with a tone-on-tone floral design. Overstuffed pillows form the back rests, and sage tassels brush the red Oriental carpet. An ebony grand piano sits in the southwest corner. Across from that, a mirrored, inlaid-walnut armoire houses Davis' crystal collection, which he gathered on his world travels.

Davis and Caperton love city living and acknowledge that life "up here" is good for them.

"We can walk to work," Caperton says. "And we don't have to chain down the patio furniture."

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