Dream home: New year, new house

Spacious villa near Bel Air is happy resolution for couple

May 16, 2010|By Marie Marciano Gullard, Special to The Baltimore Su

For Joe and Joyce Kennedy, the new year came with a new home.

Having placed their Bel Air home on the market and sold it in three days, the vibrant pair of empty-nesters chose to buy one of the villa homes built by Bob Ward in the Harford County community of Vale Meadows.

Their end-of-group residence, constructed with vinyl siding and elegantly complemented with a brick and stone front, was ready for them by the end of December. They moved on Dec. 30 and were comfortably settled in by the time they toasted 2010.

The Kennedys paid a base price of $369,000 for their 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home, which offered the bonus of a bright sunroom off the kitchen as a builder's incentive. An additional $56,500 was spent on upgrades that included hand-hewn maple flooring on the first level, maple kitchen cabinets, upgraded appliances and granite countertops.

"I wanted space to roll out a pie," said Joyce Kennedy, an agent with Garceau Realty, running her hand along the oversized granite top of the kitchen's center island.

A tall, grandfather clock in the spacious hall bongs on the hour, the only sound heard in the home, save for the couple's beloved whippet, Willow, dutifully following her mistress with nails tapping across the floor.

"We have so much artwork that we have collected over the years, mostly from galleries," said Joyce Kennedy, indicating two favorite pieces hung in her entrance hall – a full-length portrait of a woman and an impressionistic piece depicting an estate behind iron gates, barely visible in the fog that has engulfed it.

The Kennedys' formal dining room has Sheraton-style furniture fashioned of mahogany and set against walls painted a medium shade of beige. A crystal chandelier hangs from a tray ceiling over a glass-topped table.

A winding, maple staircase leads to the second level where a large, open area serves as what Joe Kennedy calls "a gentleman's room." A dark leather chair fits to a cherry desk, behind which a three-tiered, arched mirror reflects the entire stairwell and the doors to a guest room. One of two guest rooms has been outfitted with twin wrought-iron beds for the couple's grandchildren, who often come to visit. On one of the guest room walls are two framed watercolors of Willow, the family pet.

Joe Kennedy, a retired Army aviator who served three tours in Vietnam, and spent 31 years working for the government in aviation research and development, has found his happy place in a villa home with very little maintenance — the community association takes care of his small front and side yards. An avid cook, he enjoys the kitchen, where he prepares meals for his working wife.

As for Joyce Kennedy, she couldn't be happier coming home to a home filled with the scents of his cooking.

"When we first moved in, I'd walk around upstairs with my coffee, thinking how lucky I am to be here," she said.

Making the dream

Dream elements: The villa is located in a peaceful setting within walking distance of downtown Bel Air. The two-story home has a stone and brick exterior and interior features that include a curved staircase, a sunroom, a spacious first-floor master suite and exposed second-story hallway.

Design inspiration: Joyce Kennedy, a former interior decorator, has placed her traditional furniture pieces throughout the home to their best advantage, many set at angles to help define large areas. Neutral tones are accented with flourishes of color, as seen in the many pieces of artwork hung throughout the home and in the thoughtfully placed pieces of sculpture. A unifying decorating theme, recurrent throughout the first level, is the addition of plantation shutters on windows, eliminating the need for draperies.

Personal touch: In addition to the collection of artwork, Joyce Kennedy has decorated a second-level room into what she calls her "Room of Memories." In the room she keeps photo albums on a buffet along with a tall, double-faced table clock with a manufacturers' date of April 1, 1877. Travel books that remind her of visits to Italy and Germany also sit atop the buffet while fully dressed papier-mache rabbit sculptures look out at visitors. "These are a touch of whimsy," she said. Hanging on the wall opposite the sofa is a framed piece of needlework done by her sister before she died. The sentiment stitched in the center in script reads, "A Sister is a Special Friend."

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