A palette in rowhouse

Dream Home

`Modern and antique furnishings should live together,' new owner says of his imprint

Real Estate

October 20, 2006|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Sun

Wallace Farmer believes that a house should tell the story of who you are, and that it should always be "a surprise when you walk in the front door."

That kind of personal imprint was something he always felt was missing from his condominium in Washington, where he works at the Library of Congress Copyright Office.

Many trips to Baltimore convinced him that he needed to live in a more intimate city, filled with neighborhoods and history.

In May, he bought a three-story brick rowhouse on North Fulton Avenue. The completely refurbished house in West Baltimore cost him $180,000.

"Everything was completely done for me," he said. "I spent $6,000 on natural bamboo flooring and $2,200 for upgraded central air [conditioning]. And that was it."

The crisp, pristine look of white walls and 12-foot high ceilings emphasize the spaciousness of the home, which at 22 feet is wider than many rowhouses, not to mention its 70-foot depth. The walls and floor are the decorating foundation - what Farmer calls his palette.

"I think modern and antique furnishings should live together," he said. "But I like order; too much stuff makes our lives complicated."

Farmer says he shops with purpose. He knows as soon as he sees an item whether it will work for him. His entire downstairs reflects that love of uncluttered spaces, punctuated with color and "rock 'em, sock 'em pieces."

From the front entrance and hallway, 11-foot-high double doors open onto a living room that is dramatic in its contrast of white and solid colors.

On the wall opposite, an oval mirror framed in bamboo rests on a dark, faux marble mantel and hearth. Instead of a fireplace, there is a metal grill set into metal that years ago served as a heat duct. Farmer has placed dancing wooden pigs on one side of the carved mantel and a jade vase on the other. A 3-foot abstract metal sculpture of a man rests on the floor in front.

A faux suede, chocolate brown modern sofa with a chrome frame sits in front of two long windows. A wicker-barrel chair and silk-covered occasional, both turquoise, flank the opening to the dining room, where Farmer's fondness for mixing old and new is evident.

There, an art-nouveau carved oak credenza and antique wooden hobby horse contrast with a large basket holding three bamboo reeds that soar nearly to the ceiling and a large, colorful abstract painting on the wall. The table is dark, stained oak with a smoked glass insert. Four matching high-back chairs with rectangular cutouts and beige suede seat cushions finish the suite.

A large kitchen in the rear of the home is filled with sunlight from two windows that look out onto a narrow patio. Light oak cabinets contrast softly with white appliances. A round bamboo cafe table is accompanied by two director's chairs.

Farmer's second and third floors are worlds of white - with white ceilings and walls and off-white wool carpeting.

In his bedroom, three narrow front windows are covered with chocolate brown shear draperies over miniblinds. A mahogany sleigh bed with white bed linens sits below three framed black and white photographs depicting foggy landscapes of winter trees.

A den/TV room is situated at the rear of the second floor.

The master bedroom suite occupies the third level of this 3,300-square-foot home. From the front room, three windows look out on the Baltimore skyline. The room is not furnished at the moment, but Farmer plans to take his time and shop prudently for the right pieces. He said that he'll "know what's right when [I] see them".

"I'm going to be here for a while, and I want to take my time decorating," he said. "I want to leave my imprint on this house."

Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Write to Dream Home, Real Estate Editor, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or e-mail us at real.estate@baltsun.com.

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