A waterfront native returns to his roots


Docked: Vic Obringer says he "always wanted to be back on the water," and now he's done it.

August 21, 2005|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Vic Obringer, a 52-year-old divorced father of three, waited a long time to find his dream. A little over a year ago, he stumbled across it by returning to his roots - the water.

Hopewell Pointe, a new development in Essex, sits on the banks of Hopkins Creek, a small tributary of Middle River and the Chesapeake Bay. The homes here consist of condominium units as well as single-family houses in five different models. All have a distinctive, two-story traditional design, with light gray vinyl siding and white vinyl trim.

The uniformity of the houses presents a pristine look, although a variety of colored flags (many with a nautical theme) give them a touch of individuality.

"I always wanted to be back on the water," said Obringer, an executive with Northrop Grumman, who grew up in Sparrows Point. "This is my chance to live my dream."

Obringer is formerly a resident of Phoenix, where he had a large home on 3 acres. As a single parent, he grew tired of the day-to-day maintenance. But he stayed until his youngest daughter, Christie (now 19), graduated from high school. Both Christie and a 21-year-old son, Michael, a senior at West Point, live with their father in the new home. The oldest son, Ryan, 24, also lives in a condominium at Hopewell Pointe.

Obringer paid $330,000 for his home, which includes a boat slip across the street. The owner of a 30-foot Chaparral power boat, he says he is "easily out on the bay in 20 minutes."

A delay in his home's completion date allowed Obringer to do a little customizing. He fashioned custom ceiling molding for the first floor and chair rails in the kitchen and dining room. He also installed a plasma high-definition television with surround sound. He and his daughter then chose new furniture and plantation blinds for all of the windows. These expenses totaled $18,000.

The home's 40-foot-by-40-foot dimensions, coupled with an open first-floor layout and windows along three walls, provide Obringer with an abundance of light. The house faces south with a wraparound porch extending along its east side. A one-car garage is attached to the west side. The front door with side windows opens to the living room, with the kitchen and dining area visible beyond.

The family moved in a little over two months ago. Light maple flooring on the first level contrasts with the dark walnut and mahogany furniture Obringer purchased with his daughter's help.

In the rear of the home, stark white molding and white plantation blinds gleam against burgundy colored walls. French doors lead to a deck.

"The composite material [of the deck] and vinyl rails make it maintenance free," Obringer said. "And the community association takes care of cutting the grass."

The home's kitchen features distressed maple cabinets, matching the light tones of the flooring. The countertops are speckled Corian and the appliances stainless steel. Obringer converted a coat closet in the kitchen into a repository for cookbooks and wine by adding shelves and racks.

East of the kitchen area, a round table of carved walnut takes center stage in the the dining area. Four feet in diameter, the table's pedestal base is of wrought iron. Five walnut and wrought iron chairs complement the suite, their dark tapestry cushions providing richness and texture.

The first level also contains a cozy nook for relaxation and reading. Two large reclining pub chairs flank a marble gas fireplace. The chairs are covered in floral chenille in shades of olive, green and burgundy. Going for a "beachy, yet formal look" in his home dM-icor, Obringer's focus was on purchasing transitional furniture, a style somewhere between traditional and contemporary.

This style is evident in the living room. Pieces here include a tuxedo sofa covered in rust-colored suede and a leather lounge chair and ottoman in deep olive. Two accent tables as well as one large refectory table behind the sofa are of mahogany with slate top inlays. A long, low mahogany credenza with a glass door rests on the wall below the plasma TV.

Obringer uses the second level's hall area as a laundry spot. An ironing board installed in the front wall allows him to iron while looking out on the river.

Four bedrooms occupy the second level. Two are rather small but serve as comfortable guest rooms for his son's friends on leave from West Point. His son occupies a third bedroom. The master bedroom contains cherry furniture, dominated by a large sleigh-style bed. The master bath, painted sea-foam green, has a sunken tub and a glassed-in shower. Views of the river are seen from two windows and reflected in the sink's large mirror.

The home's basement is one-third above ground and has a full bath, family room and bedroom. It serves as an apartment for his daughter.

As Obringer continues adding touches to his dream home (last weekend he built a chair rail and shadow boxes on his staircase wall), he vows to stay put.

"This is a great neighborhood, [with] a lot of empty nesters, a lot of people here to start fresh."

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