Situated in the city's Bolton Hill neighborhood is a relatively new development of brick townhouses solidly placed among the late Victorian and early-20th-century structures that once housed the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Woodrow Wilson and, more recently, pianist Leon Fleisher.
This little enclave within an enclave is called Lions Park Fountains. The two-story houses hug the periphery of an open, brick-paved courtyard with benches and fountains. Large statues of lions guard the entrance to the 1980 development. The home of Tim and Caroline Ingles, which they bought for $250,000 at the end of 2002, sits at the end of a group.
"We left a very sterile suburban environment outside of Denver to live and raise our daughter in a place of diversity in the city," said Tim Ingles, a 54-year-old engineer with Boeing. "An important part of our decision was also to downsize [and] buy within our means so that we could live close to a cultural center and have the features in [our] home that we thought most important."
The couple and their now-12-year-old daughter, Hallie, lived in a furnished apartment for over a month while their home got a makeover to suit their needs.
The most radical of interior structural changes was tearing the walls down in the back of the home to create a very large kitchen and living area.
"The great room we created changed the house entirely from its original design … which was walled-in," noted Caroline Ingles, a 51-year-old employee of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Woodlawn. "We now have an open living room and kitchen, and with the addition of the modern gas fireplace, it has really become the hub of the house."
From the front entrance, the eye is drawn beyond closets, a formal dining room and a staircase to the second level and to the large open rear of the house, where the major decorating theme is contemporary and minimalistic.
"We evolved stylewise," Caroline Ingles said. "Less is more."
A five-piece brown leather sectional sofa custom-made in Brazil dominates one side of the room whose walls are painted an eggshell color. A tan carpet sits on oak flooring and dark brown shades cover the windows and doors. A 60-inch flat-screen TV adds to the casual look of the room. The neutral decor is offset by splashes of color found in the large cityscape and landscape paintings hung on the walls.
"Tim took up painting at the age of 40 after our New Mexico honeymoon," Caroline Ingalls said.
Tim Ingles' work, mostly oils with a few watercolors and acrylics, range in subject matter from Baltimore landmarks such as Penn Station to portraits of his daughter. In addition to the original artwork, family photographs are displayed throughout the house as well as vintage art and pottery.
Part of the great room, a maple L-shaped island with a black Silestone countertop sets the tone for a modern kitchen that includes stainless-steel appliances and a backsplash from counter to ceiling fashioned from half-inch-square glass tiles in shades of green, blue and brown. The kitchen, which Caroline Ingles designed, cost $50,000 — well worth the price since, she said, family gatherings revolve around food and TV.
A more formal dining room features walls painted muted gray against which a contemporary, maple suite of table, chairs and china closet make a dramatic contrast.
The home's second level includes Hallie Ingles' bedroom, Caroline Ingles' office and the master suite.
"My husband and I really love our master bedroom suite, especially when the leaves are out on the trees and it becomes a really charming sanctuary," she said.
As in the dining room, the bedroom's walls are painted dark gray, while a light pecan suite creates what she calls "a respite from the TV and computers that dominate the other rooms."
Tim Ingles adds, "This room is the perfect place for a nap on a sunny afternoon with the sun filtering in through the lush maple trees in the quiet park just outside our windows."
As for that setting outside the bedroom window, he said "We can step out our front door into a park and be a few minutes' walk from many of the city's attractions."
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