Globetrotters settle in Bolton Hill


Townhouse: An Episcopal deacon and her family end their world travels in a restored five-story structure that dates to the 1880s.

May 30, 2004|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Mary Walton is an admitted anglophile.

Her five-story, red-brick Bolton Hill residence reflects the compatible duality of her life: service to God and an obsession with anything English.

Walton greets guests at the double-door entrance of her restored 1880 townhouse. Two miniature poodles, Maggie and Clark, stand dutifully beside her. Immediately noticeable from the threshold is the house's width, a mere 18 feet. The overall length is 51 feet.

A hall and staircase occupy the north side of the home, while pocket doors open onto a living room and dining room on the south side. In the rear of the home, facing east, a kitchen leads to a well-tended English garden that runs an additional 150 feet out to a back alley.

Seated in her dining room, which is painted a soft yellow with white molding, Walton, 56, reminisces about 35 years of marriage.

"We've moved all our lives - 32 times," says the United States native. "But this is it. We bought the house in the winter of 2000 - [told the Realtor] we'd take it before we even saw the inside."

Walton explains that she and her husband, Daniel, 57, fell in love with Bolton Hill and connected immediately with the Episcopal parish of Old Saint Paul's downtown, where she became the deacon. With her husband easily commuting to his consulting job in Annapolis, Mary Walton sees no need to move again.

They consider their $220,000 purchase a spectacular find. An additional $45,000 was spent on a top-floor bathroom for their 19-year-old son's suite, a sink in the master bedroom dressing area, an outdoor deck and a refurbished kitchen.

The couple loves to entertain, so Walton views her dining room as the heart of the home. Her traditional mahogany table, a stately 3 1/2 -feet-wide-by-10 1/2 -feet- long, dominates the 14-foot-by- 20-foot space. She proudly points out that it was bought in Harrods of London, where the couple lived for three years. (While there, they managed to pick up many antiques, which enhance a manor-like quality throughout the home).

Mahogany high-backed chairs feature blue leather seats. A three-tiered crystal chandelier - original to the house - emanates prismatic effects from morning sun flooding through two long windows. Walton has decorated her wall space in an interesting way here: six panels, approximately 3-feet-by-5-feet are covered with oriental fabric in red tones and framed in gold-painted molding. Two small mahogany and glass cabinets also hang on the wall, displaying an antique silver spoon collection. Walton's grandmother began the collection in 1911, gathering the spoons as souvenirs from travels all over the world. The set, she notes, is precious to her.

A door marked with a brass plaque, "Loo," opens to a guest bathroom in the southwest corner of the dining room. It is decorated in dark blue wallpaper, with Indian prints adorning the walls.

The galley kitchen, north of the dining room, is an example of style and economy of space at 4-feet-by-20-feet. Utensils are hung on the green walls, while white cabinets on opposite walls have clear glass doors "to open up the space," Walton says. A door off the kitchen leads to an above-ground basement, which features a brick floor and a fireplace that will be "renovated someday," according to Walton.

The family's living room, in the front of the home facing west on Park Avenue, has a formal yet comfortable British feel. Moroccan-red walls pick up the ruby hues of a Persian rug the couple bought on Bond Street in London. It lies atop oak flooring original to the house. A walnut baby grand piano sits in front of double windows. The southern wall beside it is filled with photographs of the interior of Saint Thomas Cathedral in New York, where Walton's son, Rob, performed for many years in its renowned choir. She proudly calls it her "Saint Thomas corner." A Portuguese icon of the Virgin and Child rests atop the piano.

Climbing the open staircase to the third level, a carved banister winds to the top of the house. At the landing, Walton points the way to her study.

"I call this my womb," she says. "I work here, prepare my sermons, pray and study."

The room faces east and is brightly lit; the sun focuses its rays on smooth cherry bookcases. A treasure sits at Walton's desk - a photograph of Pope John Paul II and the Archbishop of Canterbury praying together in Canterbury Cathedral. The remainder of the third level consists of a dressing area, large bath and master bedroom. In the bedroom, a 6-foot poster bed sits opposite a carved wood fireplace with vine painted tiles.

The fourth level of the home contains a guest room, a bath with skylight and the family's den. In this area, beige walls, tapestry rugs and a wide-screen television are featured. A small hall door leads to the fifth-floor garret and Rob Walton's suite of rooms.

"We will climb these stairs till it's time for the nursing home," Walton says, laughing.

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