Their `spiritual retreat'

Dream Home

13 years ago, Robert and Patty Antreasian found tranquillity in a Baltimore County rancher

Real Estate

November 10, 2006|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Sun

Thirteen years after their move from Baltimore to the secluded countryside on Glen Arm Road off Cromwell Bridge Road in Baltimore County, Robert and Patty Antreasian are still enjoying what they call "the tranquillity of their spiritual retreat."

Their rambling rancher sits atop a steep hill shaded by tall oaks, pines and maples. The 3-acre property's multiple levels are accessed by wooden and fieldstone steps.

Lush vegetation grows everywhere, much of it becoming cloaked with the falling leaves of the season. A meditation garden is behind the 2,100-square-foot white stucco house, the boxwood surrounding it providing a natural "gated area." A pool, patio and semi-enclosed wooden canopy are yards away.

Robert Antreasian walked the grounds, followed by the family's three dogs, a Scottish terrier, a Labrador and a dachshund. The dogs barked and squirmed through piles of recently cut brush. As Antreasian talked about outdoor projects that he would like to tackle, his attachment was apparent.

"I am so fortunate to have found such a place," he said.

Past the enclosed porch that serves as an entrance to the rancher's open interior, Patty Antreasian worked in her kitchen, the center and heart of the home.

"We saw an ad in the paper, and within four days we had the house," she said.

Purchased at auction for $152,000, the house had been abandoned in the middle of a rehab, when they moved in. They have vivid memories of spider webs and bugs everywhere, as well as the stench of rotting food in the refrigerator.

Robert Antreasian, 53, who owns an art gallery in Hampden, was determined to finish the project, essentially learning "to renovate on the job."

The couple loved the rustic, open layout of the house, with the kitchen and dining area separated by 4-foot-high bookshelves, and the heavy oak beams, and they loved the large windows that faced southeast onto beautiful morning sunrises.

But they also were realistic.

"There was a big hole in the living room ceiling where the fireplace insert was supposed to be," Robert Antreasian said.

Overgrown brush "blew out" a couple of lawnmowers.

The Antreasians spent about $100,000 for a new kitchen, hardwood and ceramic flooring, and a new wing on the southeast side of the house. Here they added bedrooms for son Graham (now living in Savannah, Ga.) and daughter Isabel, plus a full bath and a laundry room. The house has no basement or attic.

A wing on the rancher's opposite side, original to the house, includes a home office for Patty Antreasian, 49, a counselor who places au pairs in American homes. An adjacent bath and master bedroom complete the wing.

Living room, dining room and kitchen flow together at the home's center. Black slate floor tiles define the living area, and contrast vividly with a rock interior wall painted white. A tan leather sofa and easy chair face the wood-burning fireplace. The area is brightened by Robert Antreasian's large painting of bright orange orangutans romping through the jungle.

In the dining room, maple hardwood flooring with diamond- shaped walnut inlay lies beneath a great farm table fashioned of beechwood. Ladder-back chairs hug its 8-foot-long sides.

In contrast to the shades of warm yellow used in the living and dining areas, Patty Antreasian chose an eggplant shade of deep purple for the kitchen walls, a striking contrast to the beech cabinets and black appliances. Double doors of glass lead from the pantry to the backyard patio and the seclusion of the garden.

"It was a big culture shock at first, from city noise to [here]," Patty Antreasian said. "But now I love the feel of being on vacation all the time."

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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