When a home has been the center of a happy childhood, it can often be reincarnated to represent a happy and hopeful future. This is the case with Mike and Jocelyn Szymanowski's Canton rowhouse.
"The home has been in our family for over 41 years," said Jocelyn Szymanowski, a 35-year-old attorney. "Mike was raised in this home from the time he was 3 years old, and now we are raising our boys [Landon, 21/2, and Logan, 8 months] in the same home."
But not before the arduous task of renovation that began in 2005 when the couple moved out for more than a year and a half to make way for the demolition.
"We brought the home down to just three walls, peeling back several decades of paint, wallpaper, decor and flooring," Jocelyn said. "It was beautiful to see all of the many happy memories this brought back for Mike of his parents and growing up in this home."
The Szymanowskis wanted to add to the two-story, 14-by-50-foot house, and their only real option was to build up and under. The contractors dug deeper into the existing dirt basement to build one that would run the entire length of the house and have a higher ceiling. They also added a third story and rooftop deck. During construction, "You could look straight up to the sky from the basement," said Mike Szymanowski, a 44-year-old institutional equity trader.
The couple were involved in every aspect of the construction process, even the floor plans. The renovation, which cost $250,000, gave them three floors of indoor living space, including three bedrooms and four bathrooms.
For the interior decor, the Szymanowskis turned to Steve Appel of Nouveau Contemporary Goods in Baltimore.
"I would say the overall decor is described as 'posh hip,' elegant but with more trendy edginess," Appel said. "[We used] rich color tones with a very posh twist in style."
Just inside the front door of the 2,900-square-foot home, the first floor sets the tone. It is clear the Szymanowskis are not afraid to be bold, with color, furniture and artwork working together to bring vibrancy to the home.
The south-side wall on this level is exposed brick; the others are painted burgundy, with the kitchen featuring an orange accent wall. The bright colors continue with the furniture. An aqua wing chair with an unusually high back sits in the front corner of the living room beside a brick fireplace with a burgundy-painted wood mantel. The room also features a tuxedo-style sofa in orange microsuede and a purple plush carpet with pink cutouts on top of the bamboo flooring. There is also a wide-screen TV and black Asian cabinet that serves as a toy chest.
Artwork in the living room consists of a large, abstract painting in shades of aqua, orange, red and yellow. Accessories including black porcelain vases, and pink and blue decanters tie the design scheme together.
The living area is "a beautiful and warm room for our family to spend most of its time in," Jocelyn Szymanowski said. "The room where our family gathers to play, laugh, relax and just enjoy each other's company."
Although the basement has been fixed up as a playroom, Jocelyn likes her boys close by while she is working at the glass-topped dining room table or in the kitchen.
A second piece of eye-catching artwork hangs on the north wall of the dining room.
"It's called 'Gravity.' It's a set of two steel sculptures linked together to make one long statement," Appel said. "It's [handmade] from brushed steel and copper. It can be hung in any direction. … It's all about how you want to create it or design it on the wall. The way we hung it was my vision … sort of a continuation to elongate the home."
A galley kitchen beyond the dining room features black granite countertops, birch cabinets and stainless-steel appliances.
A bedroom for each of the boys, along with separate bathrooms, is on the second level. The last flight of the steel staircase with wood treads and open risers leads to the master bedroom suite. Sliding doors open onto a balcony, and from there an iron staircase leads to a 12-by-16-foot rooftop deck with a spectacular view of the city and harbor.
"Our home is the perfect fit for our family," said Jocelyn Szymanowski. "Mike and I look forward to raising our children in his childhood home."
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