Walt Clark stood in the 30-foot-high grand hall of his Fulton home where a crystal chandelier refracts the sun's rays. A kaleidoscope of prismatic speckles dots the walls and the white marble flooring.
Clark, 41, was thrilled to share what he refers to as " ... the experience and joy of finally building our dream house."
In August 2003, Clark, owner of a money management firm, signed a contract for a 1.5-acre property in the Howard County development of Pindell Chase. For the next 13 months, he would work closely with Toll Brothers on the design of his home. At a price tag of $980,000 (for house and land), Clark settled on the Coventry, a yellow stucco mansion in French Provincial style. He estimates he spent an additional $200,000 on a back deck, pool, draperies and upgraded light fixtures.
The 8,500-square-foot home has six bedrooms, 5 1/2 bath- rooms, three fireplaces, a conservatory, family room, finished basement and study, providing ample space for Clark, his wife Medkes and their three young children.
"We wanted each room to have a different complexion, its own personality," said Clark, leading the way past two Doric columns into the dining room. "We did that with furniture and fabric."
The walls of the dining room, like the rest of the home's first and second levels, are painted a soft buttercup yellow, a warm contrast to cherry wood flooring throughout the first level. A second crystal Schonbek chandelier hangs from a tray ceiling that has been painted mocha.
A high-gloss mahogany pedestal dining table dominates the room. Eight matching oval-backed chairs showcase tuck-and-roll mocha suede upholstery. Two floor-to-ceiling Palladian windows are hung with chocolate-colored satin drapes trimmed with gold tassel. An Oriental carpet, with beige-and-black floral trim, and a center of soft yellow shading, unites the room's color scheme.
In the formal living room, a pair of high-backed Empire-style sofas upholstered in brown velour face each other. The 9-foot ceiling here, as throughout the entire house, is topped with 6-inch white molding.
A two-sided granite fireplace serves both the living room and an adjacent conservatory, presenting a different face in each.
"This is one of our favorite rooms," Clark said in the conservatory. "We can relax and watch the kids playing in the yard."
The conservatory's modern decor stands in sharp contrast to the traditional style of the rest of the home. Seventeen large windows on three walls are decorated with white satin swags, with black satin tiebacks and valances. Microfiber mocha-and-cream sofas have cast aluminum legs. The white marble floor is interspersed with brown granite diamonds.
Framed watercolors and lithographs by William Tolliver, creator of modern and colorful renditions of jazz musicians, hang on the walls. In one corner a living palm tree soars to the cathedral ceiling. Two bamboo paddle ceiling fans create a breeze.
Along the home's back, a 30-by-17-foot sunken family room sports an English country decor. A brick fireplace with wooden Colonial mantel is flanked by double-hung windows adorned with burgundy taffeta draperies with gold tassels. There's an overstuffed gold and burgundy paisley sofa, as well as a pair of walnut occasional armchairs upholstered in gold silk.
A large country kitchen features GE stainless steel appliances, spice-stained maple cabinetry and a ceramic tile floor of peachy-pink hues. A 10-foot island with granite countertop serves as workspace and dining bar. A formal breakfast area off the kitchen is bathed in light from eight large windows.
Clark said the home's basement level is where the family usually entertains. Spanning the length and width of the house, this recreational area features an exercise room, pool table, bar, 60-inch plasma TV, two bedrooms and a full bath with Jacuzzi.
On the second floor a carved walnut four-poster bed takes center stage in the master suite, where a 50-inch plasma TV is mounted inside a tray ceiling. French doors in the room lead to a balcony overlooking rolling hills and country roads.
Three more bedrooms occupy the second level, each with its own full bathroom and each decorated for the personalities of the Clark children - Aaron, 8, Gabrielle, 3 1/2 , and Sophia, 2.
A three-car garage on the north end of the home, as well as a semicircular driveway, ensure spaces for vehicles when the children start driving.
"We plan to be here for quite awhile," Clark said, laughing.