Behind the doors of Baltimore's thousands of rehabilitated brick rowhouses, any number of interior designs can be found. Many are based on size, others on architectural dictates and still others on individual tastes. Some surprise, while others delight.
Trenessa and Yves Annibal's home near Patterson Park does both.
"This contemporary design is just our style," said Trenessa Annibal, 35, about the renovated Patterson Place property she and her husband, Yves, purchased in 2007. "Just like us, it is different and eclectic."
The brick house, built in 1923, features an "English basement" that sits partially above ground. Black shutters trim the upstairs windows and carved wood cornices decorate the roof's edge. First-floor window and door are topped with tall transoms.
The couple attributes what they call the "urban modern" interior to Rob Robinson and his company, Early Bird Enterprise, which gutted, constructed and sold them the property for $329,000. Four years later, the Annibals continue to be enamored with the home that fits their lifestyle perfectly.
"All our contemporary furniture fit perfectly in here," Trenessa Annibal said. "And we like the open space."
The main level's open 1,050-square-foot plan utilizes a mix of natural materials. Brick walls meet mahogany-stained crown molding at the ceiling and tiger wood maple planks on the floor. Steel railings with scalloped tops and arched spindles frame the view of the lower level, where a dance floor of artesian concrete and resin can be seen.
The home's split-foyer design overlooks the front portion of the lower level. A few steps up to the main level reveal a completely open design sprawling 75 feet to the rear of the home.
"We were looking at other houses in the neighborhood, but we fell in love with the brick and cement wall," says 40-year-old Yves Annibal, his perfect command of English flavored with the rich French dialect of his birthplace in Marseille. "It was custom built for the house."
"It's wall art," adds his wife, pointing out the heavy texture of concrete fashioned like the earth's continents over brick "water" on one of the living room's walls. "BellaGrace [the couple's 6-month old daughter] and I sit in the leather chaise longue and look around, outside [and] at the wall."
The combination dining room and kitchen, in the rear of the 14-foot wide by 75-foot long home, boasts maple cabinets with granite countertops. A round, dark-stained wooden contemporary table is set with the couple's china and crystal. Double doors on the back wall lead to a small, fenced-in patio, barely large enough for the family dog, a 7-year old spaniel named Maximilian, to romp.
"Dogs are a lot of work," say Yves Annibal, owner of the travel company, Parlez-Vous Français Tours, says, adding that he is grateful for the short walk to Patterson Park for a good workout with the pooch, who responds to commands in both English and French.
In addition to the dance floor — a holdover from the renovation — the family room is on the lower level. Its centerpiece is a white suede, L-shaped sofa against stucco walls painted a soft shade of lemon. The family room gives way to Yves Annibal's home office, personalized with memorabilia from his service in the Commando de Montfort, the French equivalent of the Navy SEALs. A powder room adjacent to the office is fitted with slate flooring and travertine tiles halfway up the wall, along with a custom-built vanity and glass vessel sink.
"This is a modern baby room," says Trenessa Annibal, who works in international sales for General Physics Corp. in Elkridge, describing BellaGrace's room at the top level of the home. The nursery is painted a rich shade of yellow buttercream, with neutral carpeting, a black crib, changing table, leather sofa and delicate black-and-white toile bedding.
Along the hallway, pride in craftsmanship is evident in doors of knotted pine with cornice molding, Brazilian cherry-wood flooring and, most unusual, the concrete ceiling molding atop brick walls. All of these elements provide this level with a Provencal feel.
The front bedroom opens onto a master bathroom that Trenessa Annibal says sold her on the home. Here in an angular layout, two marble vessel sinks are complimented by an 8-foot tumbled marble Roman shower with twin heads. Travertine tile covers the floors and runs halfway up the walls. A tumbled marble whirlpool tub adds to the luxurious feel of the room.
Standing in their bedroom, with its beautifully swirling cast iron bed with monogrammed linens, the couple talks about their dream home.
"This house fits us to a 't'; each room is so unique," Trenessa Annibal says. "I'm happy to come home and stay at home."
"This is our first home together," adds her husband. "This is where our baby will live and grow up."
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Making the dream
Dream element: The Annibal town house is located on a wide street in Patterson Park, just a few blocks from the historic park.
Dream design: Completely gutted and renovated by Rob Robinson of Early Bird Enterprises, the interior is the model of bold, urban contemporary design. A floating staircase is supported by one steel beam placed at a perpendicular angle to wooden steps with an open steel banister. Interior north and south walls are exposed brick in the front half of the first level.
Dream interior: The Annibals have filled their home with family photography that is displayed on walls, shelves, and dresser tops. A large photo of the couple on honeymoon rests on an easel just beyond the foyer in the living room. Dark wood modular shelves and shadow boxes fill an entire wall in the dining room area. In a layout designed by Trenessa Annibal, framed photographs of family are presented alongside vacation photos and newborn images of the couple's daughter.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun