Expressing themselves


Owners of Oella house treat it as a work of art

November 22, 2008|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Baltimore Sun

Total creative freedom is a luxury that Derek Bellomo never took for granted - not the day he purchased a piece of land in southwest Baltimore County's historic Oella and not even when his dream was realized.

A burnt-out house with the original fieldstone foundation wedged into a rugged hillside was all that remained on the 30-foot-by-140-foot property for which he paid $80,000 in March 2007. (Construction, design and furnishings would easily total four times that amount, according to Bellomo.)

"Very few people get to build a house from the ground up, giving them that one chance for this level of artistic expression," said the 40-year-old AT&T software engineer, indicating his surroundings with a broad sweep of the hand.

Both he and his girlfriend, Jen Vincent, knew exactly what they wanted when they called friend Robert Knudsen, an artist and builder.

The house had to be long and narrow, with second- and third-floor white rail front porches running its full width. Yellow vinyl exterior siding and black shutters were at the top of their list so that the outside would have the historic look of the rest of the 19th- and early-20th-century homes scattered throughout the village's hilly terrain.

The interior, however, would be something quite different, what Vincent called "extremely comfortable and an expression of ourselves."

The result is an open interior layout on three levels, each accessed by a wide, wooden staircase. Lines are neat and angular while contrasting with sweeping curves of a third-floor cathedral ceiling.

"Picking furnishings was easy because we have the same taste," Vincent said of the home's contemporary look, which is emphasized by blond wood tables, and sofas and side chairs of red and tan microfiber, all resting on stained pine flooring. Walls painted a deep almond color contrast gently with accent walls of soft blue and brown. An open kitchen area features 42-inch cherry cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances.

The two front porches serve as a retreat. When seated on the wicker furniture, the couple and their guests are hidden from the people on the street below them.

"We feel like we're living in a piece of modern art," Vincent said of the decor. "That's why we love coming home."

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

making the house their own

* Adding color through art. In love with red, orange and yellow, Jen Vincent and Derek Bellomo adorned their walls with modern art pieces using these predominant tones.

* Setting the mood with lighting. Light fixtures with colorful, mosaic shades tie the vivid colors together, while track lighting angled at the hung artwork evokes a gallery feel.

* Softening the scene with window treatments. Draperies of flowing organza in light tonal colors soften the geometric look of the artwork and furniture pieces.

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.