62 mirrors give an open feeling

DREAM HOME

Changes: After they married in 1994, the Warrens spent $120,000 renovating and adding on to the house he bought for $17,000 in 1968.

May 23, 2004|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Bunny Warren has counted 62 hung mirrors in her northern Anne Arundel County home.

Some are the size of the upper half of a wall; others are framed in gilded bamboo molding and hung in clusters. Still others are affixed to double sliding doors.

It is not that Bunny Warren is vain. She merely wishes to give the appearance of open space in her 2,500-square-foot, two-story, double-gabled home in Brooklyn Park.

Her husband, Roger Warren, a retired systems analyst, bought the circa 1934 house in 1968. He paid $17,000 and lived there with his then-wife and two daughters.

In 1994, when he married Bunny, they began a $120,000 renovation and home-addition project. In 1999, the couple spent $12,000 to remodel the home's original kitchen.

A first-floor addition was built just beyond the original kitchen and dining room. It is in this great room that the Warrens created their main living area.

It includes a TV room and a second dining room. The back, or north end, consists of a foyer-like indoor greenhouse. It is accessible by double French doors and has an additional door leading to a new porch.

The couple chose a butter-yellow paint for the boldly textured walls throughout the first floor. The doors and molding are white.

From the front, or south entrance, the house appears longer than its 50 feet. Every window is adorned with white plantation blinds. Morning sunlight spills through their wooden slats, forming geometric patterns on the rich patina of mahogany furniture.

"There is not a single curtain in this entire house," Bunny Warren says. "I don't believe in them."

The blinds and the authentic Persian carpets in vivid reds and greens that cover the hardwood floors accentuate the 18th-century effect of Georgian and Queen Anne furnishings, many of which were purchased on weekend excursions to antique shops in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware.

"I don't believe in matched sets or suites of furniture," she says.

In the original dining room, ribbon-back chairs line a double-pedestal dining table. A broken-top pediment distinguishes a small china cabinet on the west wall. In the addition, the Warrens' second dining room features shield-back mahogany chairs with needlework floral seats.

The distinguishing thread running through the house is Bunny Warren's collection of Oriental accessories. She catalogues 52 pieces of Oriental artwork. These include lamps, Chinese porcelain vases and figurines, and numerous framed pictures of geishas that she clusters on walls above chests, tables and buffets.

The redesigned kitchen was a deliberate attempt to maximize its small, 12-by-14-foot space. In contrast to the home's traditional decor, the Warrens chose white walls, cabinetry and appliances. Hardwood floors are covered with scatter rugs in celery shades and floral prints. The Corian countertops are in a similar shade.

The staircase to the home's second level hugs the west wall. It is decorated with prints of geisha girls. A window at the landing magnifies light with the help of an octagonal mirror. A hand-carved walnut hope chest rests on the landing. Bunny Warren's father made the chest as a wedding gift to the couple.

The master bedroom, accented in pink and green, features a bowed-front mahogany chest of drawers. Eleven mirrors allow the light to bounce off soft green walls and a collection of porcelain pieces. A cozy nook in the bedroom has been given a scaled-down, boudoir-like wing chair. A Depression-era piecrust table sits beside the chair.

The home's only full bathroom (a half bath is in the basement) was remodeled in 1994. The L-shaped room is done in black and white tiles. Six additional mirrors keep company with the one over the sink.

The remaining two bedrooms serve as individual dressing rooms for the couple.

Bunny Warren's study contains a cherry secretary that belonged to her mother. A three-section mirror atop a mahogany dresser reflects a collection of crystal perfume bottles and decanters. Family photos in silver frames are placed alongside favorite books. The walls here bear 18 framed mirrors.

"The rooms are small but scaled properly," says Bunny Warren, calling it "decorating 101."

Back in the great room, the full impact of style and comfort is evident. A camelback, stitched sofa rests in front of a widescreen television on a mahogany credenza.

"I've tried to obscure the TV set with paintings and prints hung around it," she says, gesturing to a Colonial painting of a congressional scene.

In 2000, the couple installed central air-conditioning, a $13,000 investment that was well spent, they say.

"Most couples fight at the thought of remodeling," Bunny Warren says. "We had a ball."

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