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Couple's yellow brick road ends at Pasadena waterfront cottage

Where there's a will, there's a way — especially if it means securing the house of your dreams.

Zach and Mary Kuhn always wanted a home on the water. They were living in upstate New York when they made the decision to move south. After considering Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina, Zach Kuhn, 28, was offered a job as a cost estimator for ISEC Inc., a specialty construction company based near Columbia.

"Zach found our dream home while doing an online search, and we had to act fast," Mary Kuhn, 28, recalled. "I saw the home for the first time during the walk-through right before settlement. …People are always surprised that I trusted him to make such a huge decision, but I didn't have time to travel down from [New York] to see it, and everything worked out wonderfully."

What her husband found was a two-story waterfront cottage on Rock Creek in Pasadena. The home sits on a quarter-acre of land that makes up the historic Patapsco Club, a group founded by Baltimore residents back in 1893, when 5 acres on the Pasadena peninsula was given to them by a steamboat captain.

In her book "The Pasadena Peninsula: A Closer Look at the Land Between Two Rivers," author Isabel Shipley Cunningham writes: "During the early decades, families lived in Baltimore but they vacationed during the summer in screened tents on wooden platforms. By the 1920s they built cabins and the next generation lived in summer cottages. Membership was limited to 25 families who owned their cottages though the club owned the land. The Patapsco Club has survived … but permanent homes on the grounds have replaced summer cottages."

The couple paid $230,000 for the home, explaining that the club still owns the original five 5, but as members of the club, each homeowner has a share of the land while a board of directors is assigned to do the finances.

Mary Kuhn soon found work as vice president of operations for Kats & Associates at Keller Williams Realty Baltimore. With both employed, the business of making the cottage their home became a priority.

The three-bedroom, 21/2-bath home is covered in dove-gray vinyl siding, is three stories high and includes a main level, a second floor and a full basement, the back of which is above the ground.

Zach "is very much a minimalist," Mary Kuhn said, leading the way from her front door into the main level.

Indeed, the couple prefers to let the vista beyond their living room windows do the talking. To that end, blinds cover every window that looks out over the piers and water, being raised and lowered as mood and time of day dictate. The bay window in the living room is particularly special.

"In the winter we like to spend time … near the bay window overlooking the water," Mary Kuhn said. "We literally moved in on New Year's Eve and watched the fireworks from that window our first night in the home, so that will always be a special spot for us."

Walls are painted two shades of neutral gray-green, a ready canvas for a selection of black-and-white photographs of landscapes. A dark wood shelving unit is free-standing in the living area and a smaller unit sits against the back of a sectional sofa, defining the dining area, with its dark wood, parson's-like table and black leather chairs. A slider from the dining area opens onto a large, double-tiered wooden deck out to the back yard to the pier and the water's edge, where the couple moors their sailboat.

The kitchen, at the front of the house, is constructed in galley fashion. It is walled off from the rest of the living area, a design plan the couple soon will remedy.

"We will be converting a galley kitchen into an open-concept kitchen with a center island facing the back of the home [and] the water." Zach explained. "We will also be replacing the existing floors with hardwood-inspired tile planks."

The second level features a marble and ceramic-tiled shower and bath with a Jacuzzi placed under a large, inverted bell-shaped window

From the master bedroom, where two side-by-side windows look out over their own private water view, the Kuhns often reflect on their good fortune in finding their Pasadena paradise.

"We have always had a dream of living on the water and owning a boat," said Mary Kuhn. "Zach used to be a sailing instructor, so taking day trips on the weekends always feels like a vacation."

Mary Kuhn, who has a love for wildlife and bird-watching, said she has had the chance to see ducks, gulls, hawks, herons and even the occasional bald eagle.

"We also really enjoy Pasadena's location," she said. "We are 20 minutes from downtown Baltimore and Annapolis, and we are surrounded by down-to-earth and friendly families."

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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