New Canton rowhouse has art deco feel

DREAM HOME

Development: Steve and Kristen Appel have tried to add years to their Baltimore home.

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

A quaint grouping of three-story rowhouses sits a block from Boston and Clinton streets just east of Canton's revitalized O'Donnell Square.

Twenty-seven homes - nine each on three streets - form a U-shape with a common courtyard where residents often gather for community barbecues or convivial chatter while washing their cars.

In October 2000, Steve Appel, 41, co-owner of Nouveau Contemporary Goods Inc., moved into this brand-new development called Canton Gables. He paid $284,000 for his three-story, masonry and aluminum home, complete with a rooftop cupola and deck. He spent another $34,000 on making it not look new.

"[My wife Kristen and I] were able to come in when the builder was here and we somewhat customized the house," Appel remembers.

The ground level of the 2,100-square-foot home consists of a hallway, access to the rear garage, stairs to the living quarters and - where a den was initially designed - a gym. Appel says he worked with the builder on a specialized rubber floor and an electrical upgrade for an area that includes free weights and aerobic equipment.

The hallway's south wall, to the right of the staircase, is covered in imported English beige satin wallpaper with a gold harlequin print.

"We hired an expert to put it up for a seamless finish," Appel notes.

The staircase leads to a large kitchen on the second level. Located in the back of the home, the kitchen's north and west walls are adorned in an English manufactured fleur-de-lis wallpaper pattern of the same hues as the harlequin. The wallpaper serves as a backdrop to light-birch cabinets and a center birch island with a black granite top.

Faux leopard print-covered bar stools flank the island. They rest on 4-inch planked hardwood flooring of light pine. A raised black-metal gas fireplace in the north corner sits next to two black leather chairs. A framed poster of a female model holding a fluted glass of champagne rests against the wall, rather than being hung from it.

" ... The leaning [poster] grounds the whole seating area," Appel says.

A porcelain rooster collection acquired from an artist in the south of France rests atop the cabinets in this L-shaped kitchen. Double doors leading to a deck are accessible from the east wall. The deck, a feature of all the houses, is in close proximity to the one next door. It overlooks an asphalt courtyard.

West of the kitchen, and toward the front of the home, a dining and living room is divided by two wood, Doric columns. They are painted white and go up to the home's 9-foot ceilings.

"We were the only house [in the complex] to take this option," says Appel, noting that the columns take away from the "new look" of the home.

The walls in this area are splashed with pumpkin-colored paint. A dining room chandelier and two living room wall sconces, designed by Raymond Waites, are in citrine-colored crystal.

"Our lighting [here] is mood-directed," Appel says. "There are no builder fixtures in this house."

"The orange walls in the living and dining rooms glow at night when candles are burning and the sconces are turned on," says Lee Whitehead, Appel's partner in Nouveau Contemporary Goods' two downtown locations.

The living room is designed around a gas fireplace with a slate hearth and a wooden mantel decorated in dentil molding and painted white. Faux leopard easy chairs sit opposite a cocoa brown sofa of faux mohair. A faux crocodile storage ottoman that serves as a coffee table separates the three-piece suite.

In the dining room, a brushed steel table with a painted glass top rests next to a walnut art deco buffet with burl inlay and glass doors. Here, Appel displays a 1937 collection of martini glasses painted in a leopard design.

The third floor poses what Appel calls "the big challenge to get rid of builders' white."

The master suite is in the back of the home and is entered through double doors. Here, Appel has worked colorful magic with lavender painted walls and white ceiling molding.

The 16-by-16-foot space is decorated in deco-modern. A highlight includes a pair of dog bone-shaped chairs that are covered in a copper-purple swirl design and trimmed in gold chenille. A king-size bed has a high steel frame headboard with intricate line designs. A table television is housed in a 1950s-style white birch cabinet.

Two bathrooms and an office/den, where Appel keeps treasures such as his grandmother's Victrola, and his grandfather's desk, finish out the third story. A staircase leads to the cupola (and panoramic view of the harbor) and a 16-foot-by-20-foot deck.

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