After their two sons headed off to college, Bill and Carolyn Walter thought the time might be right to downsize. Coming from a large, single-family home in Timonium, they wanted something smaller with a strong community association to handle outdoor maintenance, and also in the same area of northern Baltimore County.

The house-hunting ended when the two came across a lovely villa for sale in the nearby community of Pebble Creek. Carolyn Walter knew instantly she wanted to move into the traditional home that connected to four others on the street, resembling a row of cottages with deeply pitched roofs and front dormers. The interior design, with meticulous attention paid to details such as two wood-burning fireplaces, wide molding and oak flooring, appealed to her taste for traditional furnishings.

In spite of herself, Carolyn Walter gushed over the great find.

"I told her, 'Don't say you love it so much when I'm trying to negotiate price,'" Bill Walter said, decidedly, but with a smile that indicated the outcome was inevitable.

The Walters, who would be the second owners of the house, paid $410,000 for a two-level, plus finished lower level, 4,000-square-foot home on approximately one-tenth of an acre.

While the home, built in 1994, was in very good condition, the Walters have made several improvements and upgrades since they moved in in 1998. During the past twelve years, the couple added new kitchen appliances, cabinets and granite countertops, hardwood flooring on the home's second level, and a deck. They had the master bathroom renovated.

The couple also added a decorator wall from the entrance to the kitchen. In keeping with the traditional aspects of the interior architecture, Carolyn Walter called upon a construction design company noted for its exquisite restoration, renovation and millwork, SouthFen Inc. to create the paneled wall over the original plain one. The raised panels, Colonial in style, are painted the same shade of eggshell found in the living and dining rooms, with the trim painted a deep shade of wheat. The sight of this angled wall, embellished with three brass sconces, upon entering the hall sets the formal tone for the rest of the home.

"We live in the kitchen and the family room that has two doors out to the deck," said Carolyn Walter.

These rooms, with walls painted a deep shade of Duron's Burberry Red, contrast in a casually elegant style with her vast collection of Delft pottery and porcelain prominently displayed in every room, on every shelf and wall and in every cabinet. From platters to large bowls, houses, urns, plates and even an umbrella stand, the delicately painted blue and white pieces perfectly accent every room's decor and wall color.

The formal elegance of the dining room is enhanced by a crystal chandelier that drops from the 23-foot ceiling. A mahogany suite of Chippendale-style furniture features a double pedestal table that will seat 12 and a china closet filled with a Royal Copenhagen service for eight.

The living room boasts one of the home's two wood-burning fireplaces, while cherry furniture and an entire wall of framed prints depicting various scenes of horse and hound hunts give the room a decidedly English country feel. The look is carried out in the second-floor hallway, where several services of silver sit atop mahogany side tables.

The second-floor bedrooms, especially the master, which is painted soft yellow, have a distinct, manor style achieved with artwork, artfully placed armchairs and benches, needlepoint pillows and rich fabrics on furniture and beds.

The finished lower level follows the same circular flow as the two above it. A library filled with hundreds of books segues to a sitting area before moving to a craft studio and finally, a separate office for Bill Walter.

The couple shares a laugh over the mention of their new home being almost as large as the one they left.

"Yes, but we're close to everything, and the community has strict covenants when it comes to exterior work," Carolyn Walter said.

"And it's maintenance-free. We lock the door and go!" her husband added.

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Making the dream

Dream location: Bill and Carolyn Walter's villa home is located in Pebble Creek, a neighborhood development in Timonium. Though nestled in a wooden area, they are close to the amenities on the York Road corridor.

Dream design: The homes are painted a light khaki and cream color with wooden trim at windows and doors that feature arched transoms. Chunky stone chimneys, stone half-walls, double-car garages and sloping roofs with prominent gables contribute to the traditional design of each house in the row.

Dream element: A large, angular entrance hall presents onto a winding oak staircase that sweeps to the open hallway of the second level. The circular flow of the first floor leads to a rear kitchen and breakfast room. The layout is, Carolyn Walter says, "great for parties. Everyone is comfortable, [and] every room is used."