Tina Pierce knew for a long time that one day she and her husband would downsize, sell their Mount Washington home and purchase a condo. The two had always envisioned themselves amid the bustle of downtown.
When her husband passed away two years ago, the move for Tina became more pressing. Rather than settling downtown, however, she chose instead to buy a condominium in the Highlands, Quarry Lake at Greenspring, which - in addition to being near the same wooded area of Northwest Baltimore that she was used to - was closer to her mother-in-law.
"I think of [the move] as a new chapter in my life," said Tina Pierce, a speech pathologist. "The first night I slept here, I knew it was the right thing."
Pierce bought the model featuring two bedrooms and two full bathrooms, choosing the top floor in a stone and vinyl-sided building artfully positioned at the highest point of the Quarry Lake site.
As her unit was nearing final construction, she enjoyed selecting upgrades that included a choice of light fixtures, flooring, cherry kitchen cabinetry, stainless-steel appliances and granite counter tops.
"This is the cherry house," Pierce said lightheartedly, referring to her choice of hardwood furniture. "The decor is traditional with Asian accents."
The unit's layout is open beyond the front door. Both bedrooms form separate wings on either side of the kitchen, dining room, den and living room.
Paying particular attention to color's effect on the psyche, Pierce decided on medium shades of muted colors for the walls and furniture. An overhead fixture in the den, for example, introduces ambient light that spills softly onto taupe-colored walls. A cherry desk, credenza and a tuxedo sofa upholstered in sage-colored microfiber complete the tranquil feel.
Pierce cherishes many landscape and floral paintings that belonged to her parents, who were antique dealers.
"I've definitely got the collector's gene," she said.
Dream element: : Highlands, Quarry Lake at Greenspring overlooks a wooded area and the waters of the quarry. Pierce's fourth-floor condominium balcony provides a tranquil view.
Design inspiration: : Taking her cue from the calming, blue-gray and gold colors of the lobby, its comfortably upholstered club furniture and framed floral prints along the hallways, Pierce maintains a traditional decor, with walls painted in soothing colors and adorned by a collection of artwork.
Surprise feature: : Pierce's master suite includes a sitting room and an Asian-inspired touch complementing (and decorated around) a framed fabric fan and a bamboo wall screen in a gold-and-red floral design.
Personal touch: : Pierce proudly displays her collection of more than 70 pieces of beautifully colored Gouda pottery. Her vases, jars, lanterns, ashtrays and candlesticks are both matte-finished and high-glazed; they date from 1890 to 1930.
A lesson learned: : When choosing her upgrades, Pierce wishes she had known more about picking out and maintaining floors. She says she might have chosen differently.
Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Write to Michelle Deal-Zimmerman, Real Estate Editor, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.