Lots of room, but cozy still

DREAM HOME

dream house

August 30, 2008|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Baltimore Sun

With 5,800 square feet of intricately carved plaster moldings, sweeping archways and parquet oak flooring, it's hard to digest the beauty of Tom Hall's home all at once.

So Hall, the music director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, wife Linell Smith, a former reporter for The Baltimore Sun and 19-year-old daughter Miranda enjoy their 13-room, circa 1895, Italianate-style home in historic Reservoir Hill one room at a time.

"There's no favorite room," says 53-year-old Hall. "It depends on where we are at the moment."

His recollections of holiday gatherings around a 10-foot-long mahogany dining table are as vivid as the terra-cotta-colored paint on the room's walls.

"It's a very romantic house," Hall says. "I love snuggling up with Linell and Miranda in front of the living-room fireplace on a winter evening [and] in warm weather having candlelight dinners on the deck."

The couple bought the house in 1986 for $112,000. The home, Hall says, was in pretty good condition, but the neighborhood was a bit dicey. Now, a sense of community prevails in Reservoir Hill.

"There's a great mix of folks here," Hall says. "Artists, owners, renters, young people, old people, black, white - an integrated urban mix."

Hall says he loves the idea of having his own studio space (complete with grand piano) on the home's third floor and the fact that they can have intimate gatherings for a few or, with 5,800 square feet, parties for 150 people.

"I think a home is warm because of the people in it," Hall says. "When people come, they feel at ease and comfortable."

Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Write to Dream Home, Home & Garden Editor, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or e-mail us at dreamhomes@baltsun.com.

making the house their own

* The first thing that Tom Hall and Linell Smith did when they bought the home was build a 20-foot-by-20-foot deck on the back and fill it with plants and flowers.

* They converted the third-floor apartment into a music studio and office.

* In 2004, with the help of a Historic District tax credit, they gutted the kitchen and constructed a dream environment for Hall to cook in. They also repointed the stones around the outside of the house and replaced wiring.

* An extensive and eclectic art collection that includes pieces from friends and family members is displayed throughout the house. Rather than hanging the works in a gallery fashion, the couple improvised the placement of art based upon where the pieces were most suited.

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