Jeanette and Mike McBride are the first to admit there is quite a difference between housing prices in Georgia, where they used to live, and Maryland.
"When we moved up here, it was sticker shock," said Mike McBride, 49, whose satellite communications company transferred him to their Hanover office last fall. Before that, the couple lived in Chickamauga, about two hours north of Atlanta.
"We gave ourselves a $250,000 limit," said Jeanette McBride, 48, who works for a law firm in Bowie.
The two soon found out that a quarter of a million dollars would not buy much in the way of a new house in the Baltimore-Washington region.
Their search ended at Tanyard Springs, a planned community in Anne Arundel County which, when complete, will include more than 1,000 townhouses and single family houses with a portion of the community zoned for retail use. The model home opened in February 2008 and to date, 460 homes have been sold.
The McBrides paid $330,000 for their three-bedroom townhouse with two full bathrooms and two half baths. The price was a bit over their limit, but they were swayed by the many amenities that came standard in the Lennar built home. The only additional costs were new living and dining room furniture and an extension on their backyard deck to accommodate large outdoor pieces of furniture. The deck addition totaled $2,400.
The 2,600-square foot home has a state-of-the-art kitchen, outfitted in stainless appliances, granite countertops and oak cabinets. Back splashes are ceramic tile. While the couple cooks, they can entertain guests in the open family room that features a pub-style leather sofa and chair group situated around a gas fireplace with a mantle of dentil molding. An attractive secretary sits perpendicular to a multi-drawer chest that displays a gallery of photos from Greece, where the couple first met. Oil paintings of Rome and Paris cityscapes hang on the walls.
Ceiling molding was also a standard feature, along with chair-rail molding that shows attractively in the dining room and also defines the area. The entire interior has been painted a very light shade of beige which contrasts with the white molding at every door and window.
Nude figurines in alabaster sit on the living room windowsills and in one of two curio cabinets. These delicate sculptures include goddesses from Thailand and Afghanistan. Jeanette McBride also displays the Three Graces, a piece she picked up in Paris.
"The big thing for us is room for full-size beds," said Jeanette McBride, leading the way up the staircase to the third level. "We have two huge walk-in closets and a laundry room."
The McBrides have decorated a guest room in black and white, their daughter Jessica's room in a minimalistic contemporary style and their own master suite in the more traditional style of carved oak furnishings and neutral over-stuffed bed coverings.
An above ground, finished basement boasts a pool table, bar and fitness equipment. A two-car garage is accessed from the basement.
The McBrides enjoy the convenience of suburban living to the urban activity of nearby Baltimore.
"There's a real suburban feel here," said Mike McBride. "We've had deer in the backyard [and] so much wildlife."
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Making a dream home
The McBrides' three-story townhouse is located in the Glen Burnie development of Tanyard Springs. Georgian in design, each home is accented with a lamp post in the front yard, giving the streets and circles a Dickensian feel. A portion of the large community is zoned for retail uses in future plans, while soon to open amenities include a pool, a clubhouse with fitness, tennis courts open play areas, tot lots and trails. "For the cost of [a] Lennar home, we got all this space, all the bells and whistles," said Mike McBride.
"The back of the house is informal, and the front is formal," Mike McBride said. The contemporary living room and dining room are filled with pine furniture and upholstered sofa and chairs in a micro-fiber tapestry design. In the rear of the house, a large kitchen with stainless appliances sits adjacent to a homey family room decorated with pine and leather furniture.
The stairway to the second level is located off of the family room, allowing visits to the kitchen without being seen from the front, formal area of the home.
Jeanette McBride has filled two curio cabinets in the living room with a collection of Swarovski crystal animals and porcelain and bisque bulldogs, a favorite breed of the couple.