Big house for big stuff

Dream Home

A Hampden couple found the ideal home for collections of antiques, second-hand goods

Dream Home

February 23, 2007|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Sun

Graphic designer Paula Bogert and her husband, Denny Lynch, live in a house of "stuff."

Neither finds that description particularly insulting or distasteful, for as Bogert says, "We have a great love of stuff."

What they also have is a three-story Hampden home in which to display myriad collections of paintings, statues, iconography, carpets ... just name it. Their personal inventory is as long as the 62-foot length of their Baltimore brick house with wrap-around front porch.

Lynch, a 58-year-old freelance photographer, grew up in the neighborhood and remembers the late 19th-century house as one of the two biggest in Hampden. In fact, there was a time when its exterior red brick facade was used by many as a landmark - "turn left at the big brick house" - for example.

Bogert and Lynch were living in the neighborhood when house went on the market in 1994. They bought it for $124,000.

"What a find," said Bogert. "This house came with eight garages. We couldn't afford a house like this today."

The first order of business was to repair the roofs on the garages. This way, Bogert explained, they could rent them to people in the neighborhood, where parking is a premium.

The couple estimates that they spent another $40,000 on the house, which was structurally in good shape. However, floors needed to be sanded, and they wanted to fence the property. They also built a third-floor deck.

"As soon as we painted [the exterior] drab olive, the landscaping came alive," said Bogert, referring to the trees and shrubbery that wraps around the home's front and side.

A desire for muted color carries over to the home's interior where walls and molding throughout are painted the color of dry mustard.

Both Bogert and Lynch believe this nondescript hue allows their "stuff" to stand out better - at least the stuff that's hung on the walls or rests against them.

The kitchen in the rear of the home is new, but designed to look old. Their penchant for visiting antique, consignment and second-hand shops paid off in a center island that was transformed from a veterinarian's stainless steel examining table.

Bogert added slatted wood shelving under the table and purchased a wine rack and baskets that snugly fit into the shelves. The table's top is crowned with a long piece of butcher block. Bead-board walls add to the aged look of the kitchen, which originally was the home's sun porch.

The original kitchen is used as a breakfast room. It, too, is filled with the beloved stuff they've collected, most of it locally.

"We're getting to the point where we don't even have to leave the neighborhood to get what we want," said Bogert, singing the praises of a plethora of shops on Hampden's 36th Street.

The breakfast room is radiant thanks to a huge, 10-foot-high gilt-framed mirror reflecting the light streaming in through windows on an opposite wall. Commanding center stage is a mahogany, double-pedestal table flanked by two oak church pews. Whichever pew suits a visitor's fancy, he'll be able take in a museum's worth of bric-a-brac and memorabilia.

Bogert's favorite piece is usually her most recent acquisition.

Today's treasure is a 2-foot high altar fashioned of matchsticks, with a plastic sculpted image of Jesus and holy cards glued to its table front.

"I'm intrigued by the history of objects, and wonder who had them before me," she said, fingering delicately the sides and top of the altar.

The dining room, adjacent to the breakfast room, contains another lovely mahogany table, this one glass topped. Strewn across the table are two recent purchases - needlepoint wall hangings.

The second and third floors, with offices for Bogert and Lynch, and a large master bedroom, also boast treasures that include several antique bird cages, coffee grinders and old prints, both portraits and places.

Only the third-floor deck, with its panoramic view of Hampden, is free of antiques and memorabilia. Even so, the couple is able to look down from here onto the shops they frequent for their household furnishings.

There is never a thought of moving away from this "house of stuff," although in the future they might consider renting the two top floors while living on the first.

"When we're too old, we'll sleep in there," said Bogert, pointing to the kitchen that was once a sunroom.

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

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