Six years ago, Victor and Margaret Kim purchased a 1-acre parcel in Fulton and proceeded to build a glamorous home with a serious purpose. Once it was completed, the couple took Margaret Kim's 96-year-old grandmother out of assisted living and into their home.
The grandmother lived with the Kims in their brand-new, completely handicapped-accessible home until her death the following year.
The total cost for the land and the custom-built 9,000-square-foot Colonial-style mansion came to $1.8 million. Outfitted for easy access from room to room and with an elevator opening onto three levels, it is a home the Kims plan to enjoy into their senior years.
Margaret Kim and her physician husband own and operate two Howard County locations of AllCare of Maryland Urgent Care Centers. The design scheme for their home, equipped with higher commodes, lower sinks and door handles, aimed for both style and function.
"Building an ADA [American Disability Act standards for Accessible Design] or Universal Design Compliant [UDC] luxury home fits my family's needs today and for years to come," said Margaret Kim, who has a 12-year-old daughter, Bridget, living at home, as well as grown children and grandchildren who come to visit. "Almost everyone who enters my home does not even realize [it is] a UDC home."
A sampling of universal design elements include wider hallways throughout the home, oak wood flooring, low-pile carpeting, a shower with a pull down bench, an intercom system in every room, windows designed to be wheelchair-height for ease of looking out and a telephone in the elevator.
However, first and foremost for Margaret Kim was the creation of warmth, elegance and balance throughout every part of the home's interior and exterior.
"I wanted to incorporate the feng shui elements of earth — family, kitchen, living room — by custom-painting beige, also using water elements of blue for the kitchen wall which helps evoke refreshing energy of color and calmness, incorporating wood elements which signify growth and finally, vitality by custom-painting the second-floor hallway with alternating brown stripes. [I] used fire to emphasize high energy by painting the lower-level wall[s] pink."
"I wanted to create an open design, flowing, UDC home that has an intimate, comfortable, lived-in feel about it but was formal and elegant with transitional pieces of furniture to bring the home together full circle at the mosaic in the foyer."
The swirling mosaic design of the tile has been inlaid in the marble floor of the foyer, adjacent to a cantilevered staircase to the second level. Margaret Kim also employed a painter to give the downstairs walls a marble appearance.
"My favorite room in the home is my kitchen," she continued. "I love spending time cooking, working at the ... kitchen table, looking out the window at my backyard deck patio and pool and also sitting on my deck under the pergola and sipping a cup of tea."
Both high-tech functional and thoroughly outfitted, the kitchen features a Viking range with front mounted controls and a lowered stovetop. Two stacking Fisher Paykel dishwasher drawers offer ease of loading and unloading the dishwasher from a wheelchair. A side-by-side Viking refrigerator features easy-to-access handles.
In her quest for brightness and joy, Margaret Kim has filled the six-bedroom, eight-bathroom home with 28 hanging Schonbek crystal chandeliers and a living room filled with Federal-style furniture. For the dining room, she purchased a triple-pedestal, 12-foot-long mahogany table.
"I also love my bedroom, as it has whitewashed antique Henredon furniture and beautiful whitewashed plank flooring that evokes the beach and is soothing and calming," she said.
The master bathroom has a steam shower, a Jacuzzi tub and heated marble floors.
Paintings and tapestries on the walls and Asian works of art enhance the decor. Set pieces rest on several tables alongside family photos and awards given to her daughter, a competitive swimmer.
The house also has a six-bay finished garage with access to an indoor hallway. The Kims use it to host fundraisers for charity and hold large family gatherings. Their hope is to continue doing so for many years to come.
"We have received over 15 unsolicited offers over the past two years to sell our home," Margaret Kim said, "even though these people have never seen the inside and they don't know that it is a UDC home."
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