On the northern Baltimore County street where Jason and Madeline Comoglio reside, all the Cape Cod-style houses are lined side by side. There is no monotony, however, but rather a cozy, train-garden kind of ambience where each owner expresses individuality of exterior trappings as well as varieties of landscaping.
For the Comoglios, though, their 1950s-era home is about as opposite in design (and ultimately, lifestyle) from their previous townhouse and downtown Canton neighborhood as any move could possibly make it.
Fourteen months ago, the couple paid $350,000 for the Lutherville residence with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a finished basement they say was in very good condition and well maintained by the former owners.
"We wanted an older home, one that we could easily expand upon [but] still find manageable," said Madeline Comoglio, a freelance graphic designer and mother of two children, 3-year-old Julia, and a newborn son, Grant.
With very few repairs or updates necessary, the couple spent about $60,000 on the 3,100-square-foot home purchasing all new furniture, as well as making renovations that included changing light fixtures in several of the rooms and adding recessed lighting, repainting every room and combining two first-floor bedrooms into a master suite at the rear of the home and adding an addition to the suite that created a large master bathroom, the house's third.
For Madeline Comoglio, the most important feature of the home is that there is a place for everything inside the cozy, compact space that features oak flooring throughout.
A built-in corner cabinet in the dining room allows more room for her mahogany laminate table, chairs and side hutch. The open kitchen, adjacent to the dining room, features knotted pine cabinetry, laminate counter tops, black appliances and a blue ceramic floor. Walls in both the kitchen and dining room are painted a deep pumpkin shade, with the latter room's lower half sheathed in wainscoting painted white to match the corner cabinet.
Color themes of dark cocoa, light brown and olive are found on the living room walls, on the upholstered furniture, and even wood units such as the entertainment center fitted into one wall as though it were custom made for the space. Clearly the living room is to be lived in and enjoyed.
Family portraits are hung going up the staircase to the second level. Many are black and white or sepia, coordinating with the dark beige walls.
The home's second level, like a large portion of its finished basement, is devoted to (and designed for) the Comoglio children. Julia's bedroom is powder blue with white frame molding and small-scaled furniture such as a bright green, plush arm chair. Grant's nursery is painted sea foam green and deep yellow, with dark cocoa splashed inside the dormer area. The home's third bathroom is on this level to be shared by the children.
"When we left the city, we had expectations for ourselves and our family," Madeline Comoglio said. "In this home, we found exactly what we wanted."
And like a person totally without regrets, she added, "We thought we'd miss the city, but we never looked back!"
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Making a dream home Dream element:
The Comoglios' cozy Cape Cod-style home nestles on a very quiet suburban street, yet it is just blocks away from busy York Road and all of its shopping, dining and businesses. Sitting on a quarter-acre of land with a fenced backyard and shed, the house is the picture of quaintness and family-friendly living.
Design inspiration: Having come from a contemporary, urban rowhouse and lifestyle, the Comoglios sold all of their modern furnishings and chose, as Madeline Comoglio says, "pieces that are rustic and natural-looking [but also] kid-friendly." Dark woods, along with comfortable, overstuffed furniture in neutral colors, are placed in rooms boasting rich woodsy shades of paint. All of these design elements, as well as their placement, are intended for maximum functionality. "We didn't want rooms that we would never use," she said.
Personal touch: Madeline Comoglio enjoys creating special effects and features for her children's play areas. In Julia's room, for example, she has placed a wide colored ribbon along the wall by the dresser, enabling the 3-year-old to affix all of her barrettes to it. In her son's nursery, she has had a large tree painted on two of the walls, adding interest and a three-dimensional effect.