When Steven and Mary Lynn Lakin purchased their two-story Colonial-style home in Gambrills 12 years ago, they didn't see it as a longtime residence.
"I thought we were one house away from 'the one,' but as it turns out, we've lived here longer than we ever thought we would," said Steven Lakin, president of a construction trade association.
Plans change all the time, and the Lakins are proof of that.
"And so, we decided many years ago to make this house the home we always wanted — [and] thought it already was in many ways," Steve Lakin said.
Their home, one of a few dozen constructed in the community of Patuxent Preserve, is in a wooded setting with an ample-sized lot. They are close to their neighbors only in terms of friendship and seasonal gatherings.
As second owners of the home, for which they paid $719,000, the couple decided that since it had previously been a rental, they would make some changes to the 6,300-square-foot interior that included four bedrooms and three baths on the second level and a finished basement-turned-apartment. All of the oak flooring was restained, the family room fireplace was refaced, tile flooring was laid in the sunroom and the kitchen was remodeled.
This summer, the Lakins plan to install a new roof, and in the near future they might update the master bathroom. Both agree that their backyard, with a free-form, in-ground pool, gazebo and landscaping, is a continuing seasonal project.
"We believe you should enjoy the benefits of these projects while you are still living in the home, and not put them off until it is time to sell," said Mary Lynn Lakin, an area director for a Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company.
The front entrance of the home opens to a foyer where the first of many wallpaper choices — beige with a gold diamond design — greets guests. An open staircase of oak rises to a second-level bridge overlooking the family room on one side and the foyer on the other.
A dining room and a living room with an adjacent sunroom accessible through French doors are on either side of the foyer. A family room, the kitchen and screened-in porch are at the rear of the home.
The sunroom, with walls painted a light shade of celery and French doors that open onto the gardens, was designed around a grand piano belonging to Mary Lynn Lakin's grandmother. Three sides of the room feature Palladian-style windows under a cathedral ceiling, while tropical-inspired furniture is offset by an enormous potted palm. The room is Mary Lynn Lakin's favorite.
"It is a comfortable room that gets lots of light throughout the day," she said. "I often work remotely and spend many hours in the house … in the sunroom where the Palladian windows make me feel connected to the world while sitting in on conference calls or working at my computer."
A screened-in porch adjacent to the kitchen is a second favorite.
An art collection holds special meaning for the couple. They are often reminded of their travels abroad when enjoying the pieces found in just about every room of the home.
Steven Lakin said the artwork with perhaps the most sentimental value is "a hand-painted rock sculpture of a woman and man embracing one another, which sits on an end table in our family room. It was a gift to us from an artist in Taormina, [Sicily], whose painting of the [Teatro Greco] hangs in the living room."
Another favorite is a landscape of a farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore painted by an artist friend.
The remodeled kitchen seems to be the coziest room in this house of graceful warmth. Here, maple cabinets are hung over beige and brown glass tile backsplashes, with green silestone countertops offering contrast. A center island houses a cooktop with additional stainless built-in appliances. A three-bay breakfast area opens onto a small deck and courtyard between the family room and screened-in porch.
Friends and family, including the couple's three grown children and grandchildren ranging from teen to newborn, are welcome guests in the Lakin home, where bedrooms and other sleeping space abounds. The master bedroom showcases an adjacent sitting room, perfect for Steven Lakin, who calls it "a cozy and unassuming spot with an oversized chair and sofa, flat-screen television and lots of family photos."
The room is also a hideaway from the bustle in other spots around the house.
"This is a perfect home for us," said Mary Lynn Lakin. "It is not the largest or most elaborate, but it is perfectly suited for our lifestyle. Any home can be a dream home if it is comfortable and reflects your personality."
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