A `treehouse' hideaway

Dream Home

For graphic designer, her condo's uncluttered interior lets her appreciate nature outside

Real Estate

May 25, 2007|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Sun

Rosemary Conroy says she lives in a treehouse.

Not really. But she has good reason to feel that way when she looks out of her casement windows onto treetops and hears, but does not see, children playing in the yard of nearby Calvert School.

Conroy's airy hideaway is one of 36 units at the Gardens of Guilford - a gracious, 1923 Spanish-style complex nestled among old trees and flowering bushes in North Baltimore's Canterbury-Tuscany neighborhood. The white stucco walls, terra cotta roof tiles and U-shaped courtyard with red-tile steps and wrought iron railings are distinctive in a neighborhood of Tudor-style townhouses.

Conroy, a graphic designer, bought her third-floor condo in 1994 for $136,000.

"I looked for a very long time," she said. "I really wanted a yard, but when I saw this, I jumped at it."

The 1,500-square-foot condo had once been divided into two apartments, she said. Now reassembled into one large parcel, the condo boasts an outdoor patio atop the roof of another below. Accessible from French doors off the living room, the 15-by-20-foot terrace is furnished with tables, chairs and an abundance of potted plants and flowers.

The walls throughout the interior space are painted white since, according to Conroy, "there are so many architectural flaws; different colored rooms would only emphasize that fact." For example, oak flooring on the west side of the condo is laid at right angles to the east side's boards.

Still, with every window frame painted brick red, the sense of a unified flow from room to room is achieved.

Conroy said the condo was in fairly good shape when she moved in. She spent $50,000 to $60,0000 to replace the kitchen and master bath, outfit the terrace and refinish the floors.

The condo's largest rooms - the living and dining rooms - stand off the main entrance, one on each side. In the dining room, four high-backed oak chairs snuggle up to the round pedestal table while a mirrored hutch reflects a red-vase centerpiece filled to the brim with orange stargazer lilies. The furniture once belonged to Conroy's grandmother.

The living room features a wood-burning, brick fireplace painted white and wedged between built-in bookcases along one wall. A camelback sofa of aqua and white stripes dominates the center of the room, with two casement windows and French doors as its backdrop.

A few well-placed photographs hang on the walls.

"The place is uncluttered," Conroy noted, adding, "There's so much clutter in my mind that I have to have clean lines, visually."

Conroy opened and brightened the kitchen with white painted wood cabinets, gray Corian countertops, stainless appliances and alternating dark green and white ceramic floor tile. A small casement window is flung open to the trees and birdsong.

Dual hallways segregate Conroy's lives of work and pleasure. Along the east hallway where bookshelves sit, her office offers a large work area complete with desk and computer for an assistant.

The west portion houses Conroy's bedroom and master bath.

Here, a mahogany bedroom suite stands in bold contrast to white walls and white tulle fabric hung at the windows and blowing in the morning breeze. Conroy keeps many pairs on hand, since her two cats find the fabric a delightful diversion for their claws.

"I'm here for the duration," the 50-year-old said, watching the cats at play. "The place is eccentric, and I like that."

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. For more dream homes and photos, go to http:--www.baltimoresun.com/business/realestate, click on Dream Home.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.