For many people, midlife is a time for fresh beginnings, and often those beginnings bring the exhilaration of reinvention.
Deb Moriarty, vice president of student affairs at Towson University, acknowledges both. After 13 years in Catonsville, her large home was suddenly an empty place filled with the memories of her recently deceased husband, Greg Giovanazzi, and a daughter, Casey, now 20, about to take off for college.
It was at that point last August that the 59-year-old gathered up her favorite mementos, pieces of artwork and assorted photographs and left Catonsville for a Bozzuto-built, three-story townhouse in the new development of Towson Green. Not only was she closer to the university, but on a nice day, she could almost walk there.
"For years, I have wanted to live closer to work and to be in a space where I was surrounded by dining, shopping and entertainment," Moriarty said. "Living in Towson fills both of those goals for me."
Moriarty soon found that the home, which she bought for $440,000, fit her like a glove. Its three floors of living space, totaling 2,030 square feet, were easy to furnish and decorate. Furthermore, she loved the idea of everything being brand new — an empty canvas on which she would create a colorful new start.
"The [home's] stairs scared me at first, but then I thought they will keep me in shape," said Moriarty, whose glass always seems to be half full.
Just inside her light-brick home with a blue-gray front door, a bright foyer opens onto a study she has filled with gym equipment, photographs of her daughter playing volleyball, and a corner devoted to her husband's achievements as a bronze medal-winning women's volleyball coach at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
A hall on the ground level leads to the back of the house, a guest bathroom and two-car garage.
"Life happens on this floor," Moriarty said, climbing the steps leading to the second-level living area. Bright and open, the kitchen boasts birch cabinetry, a center island, stainless-steel appliances and light granite countertops. Beyond the kitchen, the dining room also serves as an office where Moriarty can look out sliding doors onto a deck and the open land behind the house perpendicular to hers.
The area is casual and homey, with decor that includes a white, country-style table and chairs, and blond furniture pieces to coordinate with the kitchen cabinets and the light oak flooring throughout this level. Sammy, Moriarty's 8-year-old golden retriever, finds a sunny spot on the floor from the eastern-facing back of the house. This part of the house has all the warmth and color of melting caramel and is Moriarty's favorite place in the home. She decorated the walls with the artwork she and her husband amassed over the years.
"Here is a beautiful print of boats on a lake that we purchased in Ann Arbor, Mich., which reminds me of great times on the Great Lakes where we camped every year for close to 10 years," she said of the large piece framed in light wood. "A personal favorite is a painting of pots of flowers done on an old wooden door that was purchased at the Catonsville Art Festival a few years back."
Adjacent to the kitchen and dining area, passing through a butler's pantry, is the living room, again featuring a comfortable decor. A three-cushioned microfiber couch in a soft shade of lemongrass commands the room, along with a wall-length bookcase and cabinet unit with glass doors. Displayed here are family photographs, favorite books and Lladro figurines the couple purchased when in Spain. There is also a collection of glass hearts representing anniversaries and other special events she and her husband celebrated.
"Every piece on the shelves holds some great memory of a place or a moment in our lives," Moriarty said. "Especially the photos, and a beautiful [one] my daughter Casey took of the arches of an ancient church ruin during a trip to Italy when she was 13 years old. Finally, I have a beautiful wood inlay of Yosemite Falls purchased at the Towsontown Festival last spring that represents a place that Greg and I enjoyed visiting many times, especially early in our relationship."
On the wall opposite the shelving unit is a gas fireplace, something she insisted on having and has enjoyed all winter.
Moriarty's third level contains three bedrooms, two full baths — one of which is en suite — and a laundry area.
She's unsure how long she will stay in this home she is still creating, but one thing is certain — her move was the right one at the right time in her life.
"The house is perfect for me, modern, clean and cozy. I love the open-space layout and the bright light in the space, especially on the main level," she said. "[This house] has increased my quality of life, [with] time to be able to easily travel back and forth to work for evening and weekend activities. I've made some wonderful friends in Towson through the Chamber of Commerce and living here has helped me deepen those friendships."
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