Valerie Matricciani has landscaped her back yard. (Baltimore Sun photo by Jed…)
A street lined with villa homes in the Harford County community of Bulle Rock appears unremarkable, with exteriors that at a glance appear pretty much alike. It is only upon closer look that Bulle Rock residents' personalities shine through gardens, flags and lawn adornments.
At Valerie Matricciani's villa home, the front yard is a botanical feast for the senses and, visitors soon realize, a mere taste of what's to come beyond the door. The walk leading to her home is lined with dwarf bushes, impatiens, large coleus plants and a gracefully blooming crepe myrtle.
"I am so in love with my house," said Matricciani, a petite, 70-year-old breast cancer survivor who looks relaxed and lovely in a light floral sundress. "And I love every kind of flower."
The 3,900-square-foot villa home opens up in sweeping fashion from the front hallway, like the blooming of a flower. Walls in shades of light yellow and peach soar 20 feet to a second-story loft and display framed floral prints while fabrics deliver more flowers in needlework cushions, furniture upholstery and drapery fabric.
"I came here to find out who I was," said Matricciani, who moved from Lutherville upon the sudden passing of her husband. "Being a widow scared me to death, but after the cancer, I knew I could do anything."
Valerie Matricciani purchased the villa home in 2006. "It cost me $519,000 to walk in the door," she said. Generous room sizes flow one into the other and include kitchen, great room, sunroom, master bed and bath, powder room, laundry room and an office, all on the first level. In addition to a spacious loft, the second floor has two bedrooms connected by a full bathroom. Matricciani estimates she spent an additional $100,000 on new furniture, paint and wallpaper throughout the home, as well as a deck off the rear and all of the exquisite landscaping, most of which she does herself.
"I never knew I could decorate like this," she said.
Matricianni leads the way to a bright sunroom that enjoys the afternoon light. She has used a whimsical touch here, by way of framed Constance Guerra prints of sassy older women commenting on life and a small rug at the door to the deck that says "Hi, I'm Matt."
But it is one framed poster in the sunroom on which she based all of her color schemes and decor: a 2-foot-by-4-foot print titled simply "Holland." On the poster, hundred of stamp-sized renderings represent every color and species of flower imaginable. There, on the wall, lies the key to her success, the "ah-ha" puzzle-solved moment which gives meaning to every room in the house. In one form or another every color, pastel or jewel-toned, along with every shade of green, is found somewhere in every room.
Valerie Matricciani's office, in the front of the main level, for example, is painted Key lime green, a backdrop for a mahogany, kidney-shaped desk and wall photos of parrot tulips and Gerber daisies. The kitchen is wallpapered in a designer print of bunched wild flowers on a soft green background that is complimented by white cabinets and black granite countertops.
The master bedroom blooms with a tray ceiling of sage green over a bed dressed in soft flower quilting.
The interior floral decor is enhanced by a meticulously landscaped back yard that is botanical heaven, with one-quarter-acre of design that utilizes hydrangea, black-eyed Susans, cut leaf maples, heliotropes and arbor vitae. Matricciani and her neighbors lobbied for a wooden fence between the landscaped common area and the woods. Having been successful, she calls the fence "icing on the cake."
When asked of Valerie Matricciani if, after four years, she was able to find out who she is, the answer is quick.
"Have I ever! I've never been so happy in my life!" she said, beaming.
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Making the dream
Dream element: The community. Valerie Matricciani's villa home is in Harford County's Bulle Rock community. The home is spacious at 3,900 square feet, and the backyard abuts wooded area and a common strip of land that she and her neighbors landscape for the sheer joy of it. The community's clubhouse, in addition to boasting a pool and gym, offers outlets for creativity by way of a gardening club and crafting opportunities. "There are so many opportunities to do things around here," she said. "I have found my niche."
Design inspiration: Matricciani calls her interior design "casually elegant" where comfortable, overstuffed furniture pieces are juxtaposed with family heirlooms. There is no longer room for the formal accessories that once filled her home. "I have so much packed up," she said. "And I gave away all my silver and crystal." Instead, she has worked around a floral design scheme with a flower presence in every room of the home.
Surprise touch: The lower level, in sharp contrast to the main floor and second level, where pastel colors and flowers dominate, is earthy and masculine, with taupe walls, dark leather furniture and mahogany, pecan and cherry woods. "There are no flowers down here," she laughed.