Colonial as a personal canvas

dream home

March 29, 2009|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Baltimore Sun

In June 2004, Randy Woods and Dwayne Harrison purchased a three-story Georgian-style home in the bucolic Baltimore neighborhood of Ten Hills.

Woods, 50, and Harrison, 49, wanted a single-family home, after living for many years in a town house. Most important, they were seeking an older home that was structurally sound, but with an interior crying out for renovation.

They spent $339,000 on a 3,800-square-foot 1924 Colonial. The house is constructed of brick and capped with a slate roof in fine condition. Woods, co-owner of a floral design company in Catonsville, and Harrison, a court reporter, set about creating a tribute to the French and American deco periods of design.

"The interior of the house had not been touched since the '70s," Harrison said. "Where you see white, the color was originally Nile green."

The white happens to be every bit of wood trim and molding throughout the first floor. Bright, neoclassical-style molding pops from dark-purple walls in the dining room and olive walls in the formal living room.

Woods and Harrison estimate they spent $150,000 on renovations, which included gutting three full bathrooms, enlarging the kitchen, rescreening a side porch and replacing the glass windows in the sun room.

The couple is picky about their furniture. Harrison prefers the oak and walnut of French-stylized pieces, so he ordered many of them, including eight dining room chairs, from Paris. Throughout the house, bronze sculptures, framed watercolors, and period photographs and lithographs grace walls. Almost every room and hallway has French-imported, nickel-plated bronze ceiling lamps with opalescent globes.

In the kitchen, whitewashed cabinets set against lemon-yellow walls are reminiscent of a butler's pantry, while a shiny white tin-paneled ceiling lords over honed black granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances.

Both men, who have art backgrounds, consider the home their personal canvas and seldom disagree on colors or style.

"I was able to visualize," Harrison said in reference to their plan for the interior, which includes a third-floor master suite, an office, den and guest room. "I knew what we would be doing as soon as we walked in the house."

Dream element: : Location. The home is in a well-established neighborhood on a half-acre of wooded property. It has a backyard that features stone paths and a fish pond.

Design inspiration: : French and American. Rooms are designed around the owners' collection of authentic French and American deco furniture and accessories.

Surprise feature: : Furnishings. The living room illustrates the neoclassical penchant toward symmetry, both in set furniture pieces and wall hangings.

Personal touch: : Woods and Harrison bring back art as souvenirs of their travels. They proudly display furnishings, including antique prints, fine Erte plates and a 1930 French clock.

A lesson learned: : When renovating a house on your own, take on the job while you are young enough to do the work. "This house has been totally redone in less than two years, and it just about killed us," Harrison said.

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