Tailor-made abode is `a labor of love'

DREAM HOME

Forest Hill: Adding a Ravens-themed bathroom and a high-tech heating system, a couple had their unique tastes built in.

February 13, 2005|By Lisa Ancarrow | Lisa Ancarrow,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Mark and Carolanne Kappus had clear requirements for the design and decor of their new home. It had to be energy-efficient, have ample space for entertaining, and -- for these avid Baltimore Ravens fans -- it had to have a purple bathroom.

The Kappuses got their purple bathroom -- strategically located near the guest-friendly family room in the couple's 3,500-square-foot Cape Cod-style home in Forest Hill in Harford County.

Built in 2002 for about $380,000, the Kappuses' home has met all of their initial requirements while employing some unique design twists.

For one, a two-story, two-way stone fireplace -- one of three in the house -- greets visitors in the front foyer rather than the typical staircase and adds to the home's open, airy feel.

"We didn't want the stairs to be the focal point of the foyer," said Carolanne Kappus, 39.

Instead, the stairs are in the kitchen at the back of the house, lending a measure of privacy as well as being near the entrance to the three-car garage.

Using warm yellows and greens as well as fabrics and accessories, Carolanne Kappus employed a nature theme throughout the home. The downstairs floors are hardwood, accented with area rugs.

The kitchen is painted sage, with sand-colored Corian and dark green laminate countertops. The birch cabinetry conveys a warm feel to the room. The five-burner gas range has a warming tray, and there are two wall ovens. All the appliances are stainless steel.

A center-island sink faces the back yard of the 2.2-acre property.

"Carolanne always wanted to be able to look out and see the outdoors," said Mark Kappus, 42, owner of Kappus Construction Inc. Several rooms have nine-over-nine pane windows.

Adjacent to the kitchen, a small bar sink and wine rack face the family room -- a welcome feature for a couple that entertains frequently.

The buttery yellow of the family room blends well with the wicker furniture with leaf-print upholstery. The room contains the other side of the foyer fireplace.

Mark Kappus' talent for woodworking is evident in the wainscoting and trim of several rooms. The formal dining room has a tray ceiling with hidden lighting that makes the 10-foot ceilings look higher. Burgundy curtains add a rich textured look to the windows, while contrasting nicely with the vellum walls and white wainscoting.

In the formal living room on the south side of the house, the deep green walls are set off by white dentil molding painstakingly applied by Mark Kappus around the perimeter of the ceiling. Each piece is precisely 1 inch apart. The tedious process of cutting, gluing and placing each tooth required three weekends to complete.

"It was very time-consuming, but a labor of love," Mark Kappus said.

Furniture in the living room consists of pieces from Carolanne Kappus' family. A 1940s-era footed sofa and crewel-work wing chair add a sophisticated look. Glass sconces above the sofa hold dried roses carried by Carolanne Kappus at her wedding five years ago. French doors open to the foyer.

Mark Kappus also has a home office on the opposite side of the foyer.

Upstairs, the couple has fourbedrooms. Two smaller guest bedrooms on opposite sides of the upper level are mirror images of one another, complete with window seats nestled in the dormers.

The master suite has a two-way fireplace and a sitting area, and is accented by a large four-poster bed. The bathroom is painted in a soothing lilac, with a large shower with two heads and adjacent soaking tub. The fireplace opens to the tub, making this room a perfect place to relax during the cold months.

There is another full guest bathroom off the main upstairs hall, as well as laundry room. An unfinished "bonus room" above the garage could be used as an in-law suite.

In keeping with their desire for an energy-efficient home, the couple used building materials and a geothermal heating system that keep the weather at bay while saving them money.

Mark Kappus used pre-cast Superior Walls concrete walls. "It's stronger than conventional materials and has a higher insulation value," he said. "I like it for here, because our cooling season is more expensive to pay for than our warming season." On average, the Kappuses' monthly heating bill is $90 a month.

Mark Kappus' handiwork and Carolanne Kappus' decorating skills fully impressed Jim Connolly, Carolanne Kappus' father.

"It took a lot of planning, research and love, but I can't say enough about it," Connolly said. "It's a real dream home."

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