A Beverly Hills star


82-year-old Baltimore home may lack palm trees but it does have good looks

October 05, 2007|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Sun

Baltimore's Beverly Hills neighborhood may not have palm trees, swimming pools or movie stars, but the subdued ambience of its wide, tree-lined streets and architectural diversity of the homes make it one of the most desirable locations in the city's northeast section.

The Arts and Crafts home of Shan Abeywickrama and Brad Parker sits on a quiet street off busy Moravia Road. Around it, on perfectly landscaped lawns, are brick rowhouses with Tudor-style gables, stone cottages and large bungalows covered in cedar shakes.

Their 1925 American Foursquare-style stucco home has wide brick steps that lead to a covered front porch tiled in terra-cotta squares.

"We call this the `city burbs,' " said Parker of the neighborhood.

Living in separate houses downtown, Parker and his partner both yearned for tall trees and a bit of property to garden. But neither wanted to give up city living. So they sold their respective houses to buy the 2,800-square-foot home for $315,000.

The pair loved the Arts and Crafts detailing that includes inlaid oak flooring, multipaned French doors and generous trim and baseboards. Since moving in 13 months ago, the two have spent $30,000 on improvements that include fencing the one-third- acre lot, installing central air conditioning, putting on a new roof and restoring the second-floor ceiling.

The men also were attracted by the home's many windows, 9-foot- high ceilings, transoms over doors and windows, and sun porch.

"We love the fact that there is so much light in the house," said Abeywickrama, 35, a civil engineer.

The home's entrance opens onto a large foyer. Here, as in the living room, the walls are painted in a soft gold, setting off 6-inch- wide cream baseboards and window moldings and complementing the warm tones of the oak stairs.

Two landings on the winding staircase each have a window, negating the need for a hall lamp. The couple has created a cozy nook at the base of the staircase with a carved oak corner table and lamp.

The living room exudes openness and light as well. A beige satin camelback sofa sits in the center of the room in front of a working brick fireplace. Magnificent textiles from Abeywickrama's native Sri Lanka adorn the walls and coordinate with gold-colored silk draperies.

The sunroom off the living room is a cozy haven for the couple's two cats and two dogs, which rest comfortably on a heavily padded maple bench surrounded by floor plants.

The dining room, separated from the living room by multipaned French doors, is painted a deep cherry, again offering high contrast to the cream-colored floor and ceiling trim. A standout here is a contemporary cherry table with coordinated high-backed chairs.

The home's backyard satisfies Parker's green thumb. The 43-year-old call center manager for a printing company tends his vegetable garden in the rear of a yard that includes crab apple and fig trees, along with a large grape arbor.

A cement patio furnished with wrought-iron table and chairs was once a basketball court. A statue of St. Francis keeps company with a sculpture of Buddha.

The master bedroom, an office and guest room make up the second level of the home, but it is in the finished basement where the men spend most of their time.

Comfortable, pub-style furniture is arranged around walls decorated with Abeywickrama's original oil paintings and brightly colored masks.

"When we found this house, we saw ourselves in it," said Abeywickrama. It was important for both to remain in the city and, according to Parker, "to create something together."

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. Find our Dream Home archive at baltimoresun.com/dreamhome.

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