Behind the gates of a community in Green Spring Valley is an enclave of estate homes, including the European-style mansion that is home to Alan Klatsky, president of Prestige Development, Inc. and Klatsky Homes.
The soft-spoken land developer, designer and builder welcomes guests at his door, then steps aside to reveal an open interior reminiscent of an embassy or art gallery.
Light from windows on the landing of a wrought-iron staircase floods the interior, the sunshine highlighting the richness of silk-brocaded draperies.
Klatsky, 51, leads the way to the home's east wing, where a large kitchen opens onto a formal, yet comfortable, family room. The kitchen features custom maple cabinets, and granite tops the counters and the island. The floor is laid with Durango limestone that extends to the family room, where a coffered ceiling is accompanied by multiframed windows.
"I use this house as my model," Klatsky said. "It enables me to showcase my work with attention to detail, and the creativity I bring to my projects as a result of world travel."
For example, his intention was to make the kitchen look like a library, and the abundance of shelving and maple cabinets achieve the desired effect.
"The kitchen backsplash is a travertine marble with imported glass mosaic inserts for a pop of color and intrigue," he said. "The browns in the glass help to tie in the Baltic brown granite, which was used for the countertops."
The three-story, 8,000-square-foot mansion was built by Klatsky 14 years ago, along with all of the others in the quiet community in Baltimore County. His property sits on two acres that back to 60 acres of forest conservation land.
Inside, four bedrooms, six full bathrooms and a half-bath share space in a home whose multiple living areas, while open, are kept somewhat separate by ceiling treatments, fabrics, moldings and lighting.
"In designing the dining room space, it became quite apparent to me that people only use their dining rooms for formal dinner parties or special occasions," Klatsky said. "I did not want to have unused spaces in my home, so I designed a space which incorporated the dining and living in one big, open area and made sure there were no walls to block those areas from the rest of the house."
Klatsky said this allows the formal rooms to be "enjoyed each and every day just by walking passed them to get to either wing." He also used muted, earth tones in the rooms to make them warm and inviting.
A uniting design element throughout every room is the display of pieces of artwork Klatsky has collected over the years.
"My art collection is extremely eclectic, with pieces hung in the most unexpected places," he said. "I enjoy a diminutive Rembrandt original etching which hangs in the most unlikely place, my kitchen; whereas I have a whimsical Peter Max in the formal living room. The house is tied together with the background of warm, subtle colors which provide a neutral palate [from] which the art and furnishings can pop."
Klatsky's collections range from Oriental rugs — he owns 50 of them — to antique Japanese cloisonne.
"To me, collections are built along with memories of how the items are acquired," he said. "Each piece I have has a story and sparks a memory every time it's viewed."
The mansion's pleasing symmetry is achieved in the first-floor library and master suite located in the west wing. The suite includes a marble bathroom, a tray ceiling and carpeting in soft green and cream colors. The neutral decor is enhanced by rust-colored silk draperies capped with matching cornices and a soft Dijon mustard shade of paint on the walls.
While the upper level contains guest suites, the lower level consists of several showrooms and offices where Klatsky brings clients, but it is still his dream home.
"I would like to say that my home is a perfect reflection of myself, built with the highest attention to detail yet modestly appointed with furnishings. ...The mix of styles is much like me, a full bag of personality."
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