By Marie Marciano Gullard, For The Baltimore Sun
6:32 PM EST, January 17, 2013
Blocks of cement for a front lawn and a rooftop deck with a view for backyard entertaining are just two of the amenities that drew Patricia Brunetti from Washington to Baltimore.
Her dream home in Canton is among a group of townhouses that have been integrated with the decades-old houses and businesses around them, and where some of the best attractions are out of doors.
"I came here for the community," said Brunetti, who works in government sales and purchased the property from Ruppert Homes Urban Redevelopment.
"The people [in Canton] are welcoming, warm and friendly,"she said. "I also moved here for the harbor and [Patterson] Park, and my new house is halfway between them."
Brunetti was pleased that granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances were included as standard features in the house, which she bought for $359,000. Other upgrades were of her own choosing, such as wood flooring throughout the home, upgraded kitchen cabinets and crown molding in each room. She decided against a center island in the kitchen in favor of her cherry dining table and upholstered chairs, saying, "If you save the builder money, he passes it on to you."
Unlike many buyers who begin fresh in a newly built home by purchasing brand-new furniture to fill it, Brunetti brought her furnishings and artwork with her to Baltimore. Most of her pieces were either inherited or purchased in consignment shops throughout Washington.
Her first order of business was to find a decorator, whom she tracked down on Angie's List.
"I already had most of what's here now, so I was looking for help 'curating' my stuff and adding the right finishing touches," Brunetti said.
She enlisted local designer Mary Yeager to help her create a space with traditional, neutral decor.
Soft touches in the home, such as muted, Oriental-style carpeting find delightful niches in areas of the second-level kitchen and living room. Medium-stained oak cabinets and additional granite beyond the counter to the backsplash set the tone for a warm feel while complementing the beige tone paint on the walls.
Wide wooden blinds on the three front-facing living room windows are bookmarked with drapery panels of embroidered silk fabric. In the room is a large sleigh-style daybed built of walnut and covered in a quilt of peach and light blue geometric design. Sixteen throw pillows in various sizes, shapes and fabrics add splashes of color amid a pair of lamps with black shades over urn-shaped marble vases.
Brunetti's artwork includes some she has collected over the years and her own framed abstract multimedia pieces.
"I most value the art I'm lucky enough to have — both my own work and that of other artists I admire," she said. "I believe it is art that gives the interior of the home its soul. Being surrounded by wonderful, interesting work adds depth and meaning to any space — and to life, actually — so I'm grateful for what I can create myself and what I have by others."
An abstract above her daybed was painted by artist Afaf Zurayk, Brunetti's teacher at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, who quickly became a friend and now is a creative collaborator.
"I have one or two of her works on every floor, so I always have a view into other the dimensions of life that art can take us to," she said.
A large bookcase of Dutch origin juts out from a wall, visually breaking up the length of the living room and creating two separate sitting areas.
"The main level … is the multipurpose heart of the house," Brunetti said. "It's great for relaxing, reading, working and entertaining, in addition to occasionally cooking and eating, so it gets the most use."
Still, she notes that each of the rooms is a favorite for different reasons and purposes
"I spend as much time as I can each day in the art studio on the first floor being creative, which is important to me. The guest room is getting more and more booked by my Virginia and D.C. friends and family who love Baltimore, too. Meanwhile, it's also my TV-watching room."
The second bedroom in the house is the third-floor master suite, decorated in what Brunetti calls "girlie style."
The rooftop deck is bare at the moment, but she plans a vegetable garden in pots, some plants and outdoor furniture come summer.
Looking beyond her deck, out at the park, the harbor, myriad rooftops and church steeples, Brunetti said happily, "This house is in the right place. Now that I'm here, there's so much I want to do."
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