Vicki Smith and her daughter Ally, 6, sit in the living room of… (Baltimore Sun photo by Barbara…)
For Denny and Vicki Smith, one of the best things about building their Carroll County home was the rapport they developed with the builder.
"Bob Ward builds a great home," said Denny Smith of his large single-family, "Yorkshire" model in the Manchester Farms development. "They worked with us and gave us a lot of suggestions."
Another advantage to choosing a new house is watching the day-by-day evolution, from the pouring of a foundation to the final interior touches.
"We'd come up on weekends and take pictures of the progress," Denny Smith said. "We were scolded one time for being caught inside."
The couple moved into the home five years ago on their fifth wedding anniversary. Their daughter, Ally, was a toddler at the time.
Today the Smith family and their home are a perfect fit.
Denny Smith, who works for Horizon Financial Services in Hunt Valley, and his wife, Vicki, a social worker for the state of Maryland, paid $375,000 for the 3,400-square-foot home. They noted that the finished basement and sunroom were a builder's incentive, but that their upgrades included cherry cabinets in the kitchen, ceramic tile in the foyer and Berber carpeting in the family room.
The home's first level consists of a formal living and dining room on either side of a wide and bright foyer. The real living area for the family is at the back of the house where, in an open area that is as wide as the house itself, a kitchen flows into a family room, with a sunroom as a centerpiece.
Kitchen features include 42-inch cherry wood cabinets, sleek black appliances and ceramic backsplashes above laminate countertops. Vicki Smith said that the kitchen's U-shaped layout works well for her, and she points to a vase atop the kitchen's island.
"I like to have fresh flowers in the house," she said.
The Smith's family room boasts a 20-foot cathedral ceiling, a fireplace with pellet stove and comfortable, traditional furniture. Artwork on the walls includes tin art in multicolored rectangles.
Denny Smith's office is off of the family room and furnished in cherry wood. An executive desk with a faux slate inlay sits in front of a three-section wall unit filled with books, animal sculptures, a television and photos of his daughter.
A contrast of beige furniture and upholstery against burgundy window treatments and dark wall hangings defines the formal living room, while the formal dining room has been painted a deep burgundy accented with a painted black hutch, table and buffet.
An open hallway on the second level forms a bridge from one side of the house to the other. Light oak railings look out over the downstairs family room and the entrance foyer.
The house has four bedrooms, including a guest room painted green and furnished with a four-poster mahogany bed that features carved pineapples. Matching mahogany pieces complete the suite that belonged to Vicki Smith's grandmother.
A second guest room is painted in blue with contrasting light pine furniture.
Ally's room is painted a medium shade of pink and has a wall unit divided into 25 squares inside which she keeps her toys and stuffed animals.
The master bedroom features a cherry wood sleigh bed with matching pieces, and gold linens against walls painted light green.
"I like the contrast of dark furniture against light walls," Vicki Smith said.
A trip to the home's finished lower level reveals an homage to an NFL team.
"Even people who aren't Redskins fans give me compliments on this room," said Denny Smith, leading the way to his combination sports bar and Washington Redskins shrine. Much of the lower level is devoted to a pool table (with a Redskins' helmet decal on the center of the playing area), a shuffleboard, a pinball machine and a sitting area with black leather furniture placed in front of a 72-inch flat-screen TV.
Redskins banners, posters, live-action photos and a framed, autographed Joe Theismann shirt decorate the walls, while a fully stocked bar area is painted in the team's colors with Redskins football cards arranged under the fiberglass bar top.
Back in the sunroom overlooking the deck and newly green trees at the end of the garden, Denny Smith sighed and after a few seconds said, "I hope we're here until we retire. We are as content as we can be. Life is good!"
Making the dream
Dream element The Smiths' two-story, vinyl-sided traditional home sits at the bottom of a cul-de-sac in Carroll County's Machester Farms development. The home's stone front, its portico with columns and a second-level Palladian window leading to a faux balcony hint at Georgian-style architecture. Their half-acre, which Denny Smith refers to as "just rural enough for us," backs to a copse of trees, part of a forest conservation area.
Design inspiration Several pieces of furniture are constructed of wrought iron and cherry wood, while sofas and chairs are tonal and light in color. The walls have been painted a medium shade of taupe, contrasting dramatically with molding painted light cream and dark, flowing crinkled sheer window treatments. A sunroom bump-out at the back of the house has been decorated in French bistro styling with striped, café valances, painted wood bar and wrought-iron barstools.
Personal touch "I love burning candles," says Vicki Smith, who enjoys placing all colors and styles (from tall pillar to tea light) throughout the home. Pillars of various heights adorn the fireplace mantel in the family room and little votive candles sit in wrought iron wall hangings. The couple has also hung numerous framed portraits of their 6-year old daughter, Ally, throughout the home.