Wide-open rancher

Dream Home

A Sykesville couple removed interior walls to double their living space

May 11, 2007|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Sun

The Kirchhoff family home at the end of a quiet cul de sac in Sykesville in southern Carroll County looks pretty much like any other 30-year-old rancher built of concrete and aluminum siding.

But pass through the front door under a three-column portico, and that changes.

"It's your typical rancher," Diane Kerchhoff said matter-of-factly. "We just opened it up and doubled the size."

No interior walls define any specific area in two-thirds of the home's living space. An open banister for the stairs to the lower level is the only break in an open floor plan that sweeps 50 feet in depth and 35 feet in width. The eye wanders from area to area, clear to the back wall where large, multipaned Georgian-style Palladian windows flank a brick fireplace.

The extensive renovation began in March 2004 and was completed just before Christmas of that year.

"It took us nine months of work," said Diane Kirchhoff, who, along with her husband, Bill, owns Railtec Construction, a custom railing company in Sykesville. "It was like giving birth."

The home's remaking came 14 years after the couple bought the rancher for $130,000. An acre of landscaped property came with the house. So, too, did small rooms, shag carpeting, pink walls and a tiny galley kitchen.

Bill Kirchhoff told his wife that they couldn't just knock out walls, but she persevered when contractors assured her the walls she wanted removed were not weight bearing. And since the couple had become attached to the neighborhood, undertaking the project made sense.

In addition to removing interior walls, the $150,000 renovation included a rear addition with a family room, new kitchen and enlarged master bedroom on the main floor and a music room below, a laundry room, and finally, a backyard deck and above-ground pool.

The home's entrance opens immediately onto a formal dining area, a focal point for a family that enjoys entertaining. An intricately carved 12-foot-long Louis XIV-style mahogany table dominates the room. Eight matching side chairs and two captain's chairs complete the ensemble. Light from a triplet of windows on the south wall casts an indirect glow onto the mahogany and oak floors. (The flooring was a happy surprise the couple discovered when the shag carpeting was removed.)

Bill Kirchhoff embellished the floorboards near the front door with an inlaid rosette that includes walnut wood.

"I love the look of different kinds of wood," Diane Kirchhoff said.

The centrally placed kitchen has maple cabinets and cherry bar stools that hug a large C-shaped counter. The countertops are of brown granite and the floors have terra cotta tiles.

"This is where the party happens," said Diane Kirchhoff .

Beyond the kitchen area, the home's family/living room speaks to relaxed elegance with an L-shaped sofa of white, duck cotton placed in front of a mahogany breakfront containing a wide, flat screen TV.

At the far end of the home's east side, double doors open onto a spacious deck. Here, the family enjoys soaking in a hot tub. A two-tiered deck in the garden beyond holds the above ground pool.

The master bedroom, an office and a guest room lie off the hall on the home's west side.

The lower level contains a family living space, a music area filled with drums and guitars, and the bedrooms and shared bath of 19-year-old daughter Morgan and 14-year old son Tommy.

The Kirchhoffs' plan is for the rancher to always stay in the family."This is home, and the people around us are awesome," Diane Kirchhoff said.

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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