Beltway ramp to Eden


A World War II-era stone cottage but with a steam shower and enclosed hot tub

December 07, 2007|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to the Sun

Fifty years ago, when construction of the Baltimore Beltway tore through woods and rural villages like scissors through a knitted scarf, disjointed neighborhoods and dead-end streets were often left in its wake.

Eden Terrace, off the Catonsville exit ramp, is one such place. The name Eden still appropriately describes the area that dates to the early 1900s. Towering oak trees grow just feet from the Beltway's concrete barrier walls while winding roads snake through wooded properties with grand old houses.

Attorney Dick Piet and his artist wife Natalie McIntyre desired woods and privacy but with easy access to downtown Baltimore and Washington. They happened upon a granite cottage for sale there. Built in 1945, its 2-foot-thick stone walls are capped by a slate roof.

"There was only one family in this house," Piet said, "and it had not been touched."

Good and bad news.

While the house - on three-quarters of an acre of oaks, hickory, tulip, poplar and dogwood trees - was structurally sound, McIntyre remembers ubiquitous brown shag carpeting, avocado kitchen appliances, and self-stick linoleum over bathroom tiles.

The couple paid $191,600 for the two-story, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. The year was 1989, and three phases of renovation would soon follow.

Almost immediately, the couple spent $30,000 to upgrade the plumbing, electricity and kitchen. In 1990, they spent another $45,000 to tear out a breezeway that connected the house to the two-car garage and replace it with a sunroom with a cathedral ceiling. They also added an at-grade deck.

The final and most costly - about $365,000 - of the renovations began in 2002. The project included an entrance area, a new master bedroom suite with adjoining bath and steam shower, a kitchen makeover, new floors, more than 20 casement windows and a new, oversized two-car garage with loft.

Outdoor improvements included concrete-block parking pads, walkways and retaining walls, a newly designed front porch and a separate screened enclosure with a hot tub.

The result was a 3,000-square- foot living space (not counting the basement) within a cozy World War II-era cottage reminiscent of old films such as Mrs. Miniver.

The home features a side entrance that opens to a hallway with a tile floor and winding oak staircase. To the left, a rustic living room with ceiling beams complements the granite exterior. The couple has furnished the room with Oriental carpets over oak floors and brown leather, pub-style furniture. A stove insert inside a granite fireplace warms the room.

A step up leads to the dining room, where light green walls are adorned with prints of New Orleans by Phillip Sage. A mahogany, Sheridan-style dining room table is surrounded by two sideboards and two glass-door barrister cases holding china and crystal.

The newly remodeled kitchen boasts maple cabinetry with an Arctic frost glaze, Italian granite countertops, plus a table and chairs of recycled cypress tucked into a windowed nook.

In addition to the bedroom suite and sunroom, the first floor contains a 12-foot-by-14-foot library lined with bookcases and a mahogany secretary.

The second-floor hallway is painted creamy yellow. A guest bedroom, which the couple refer to as "the cave," has a queen-size bed tucked under the eaves. Piet's office and McIntyre's studio also are on this level, along with a renovated bathroom showcasing original tile flooring and the walls.

Justly proud of the work they have put into their dream home, McIntyre says: "Everything we've done allows us to be here until they carry us out."

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