When Jerry and Michelle Levine decided to build a house on a Howard County hill, they knew they wanted it to have an outdoorsy feel, but they didn't want a log-cabin style. They sought large spaces to let in natural light, but they also wanted to be able to see what their young children were up to, especially if they were at the backyard pool.
The result is a house with thick wood beams in high ceilings, door-size windows and a pool visible from several rooms. Few rooms are rectangular or have four walls, creating angular areas, and the high ceilings offer views to the sky as well as wall space for artwork.
"It's open and it allows the beautiful outside to come inside," said Michelle Levine, a pharmacist. "There are no dead ends - areas overlap with each other. We entertain a lot, so there are a lot of open areas for entertainment."
Looking to do something different, they ran the grain of wood cabinets in the kitchen horizontally.
They landscaped extensively, making sure to include a buckeye tree from their native Ohio in the layers of green and the variety of textures that can be seen from the expanse of windows.
A loft upstairs once was where their children played - or if the kids were downstairs, could be unobtrusively watched - but now those children are adults, said Jerry Levine, a physician. The couple says the house is too big for two people and one dog.
About the house : The three-level house, built in 1990, has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a powder room, three fireplaces and a three-car garage. Glass doors from the family room, living and dining room, kitchen and master bedroom open onto the deck that wraps around much of the first floor.
The kitchen, Jerry Levine said, was designed to be the hub of the house, a gathering place with lots of storage. An island has seating, the splash area above the sink is mirrored - offering a view of guests as well as the outside - and the room flows into the large eat-in area. A fireplace with a stacked stone chimney divides that area from the family room.
The master bedroom suite is on the main level and has his-and-hers walk-in closets with skylights and built-ins, a dressing room and sitting area. The suite also has a fireplace, as does a rec room on the walkout lower level.
Address: 11921 Farside Road, Ellicott City 21042
Asking price : $1,879,000
Taxes: $14,731; annual homeowners association fee is $500.
Size: The 3 1/2 -acre lot includes the house of 5,038 square feet and a 20-by-40-foot heated in-ground pool.
Features: The house has a floating staircase to the upstairs, where each of the three bedrooms has its own bathroom and ample closet space; a laundry chute sends clothes to the first-floor laundry room.
Built-in storage ranges from bookcases in the office to a marble-topped buffet in the dining room.
The lower level features a changing area for the pool and a wet bar.
Throughout the house, most ceiling lights are recessed or tucked behind beams. From the street, the driveway ends in a circle.
Listing agent : Terri Westerlund, Re/Max Le Reve, Highland, 240-372-7653.
To submit a candidate for Desirable Spaces, send photos and a description of the property to Michelle Deal-Zimmerman, Real Estate Editor, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Listings also may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.