Jodi Fader, a condo owner at Baltimore's Ritz-Carlton Residences at the Inner Harbor, will tell you there's nothing like knocking out a few walls to welcome in a world of light and water views.
"We've been watching this property develop for the last 11 years," said Jodi Fader who, along with her husband, Brian, was the first to occupy the ground floor, wrap-around unit. "We made architectural changes to make it more like a home."
In addition to opening rooms off of a main hallway to allow for a more circular flow, she and her husband added wood paneling in the kitchen and great room, chose wide-planked, old wood flooring to contrast with the marble of the entrance hall and kitchen area, wallpapered the dining room with a hand-painted scene of Chinese-inspired birds and foliage, and finally, integrated antique family pieces with her transitional decor.
And so, in her 3,800-square-foot floor plan, the Realtor with Prudential Homesale YWGC Realty, created a comfortably tranquil and elegantly casual space for relaxing and entertaining.
"I like things to be organic in a space; to have something natural and alive," she said.
Large windows and doors open onto two separate patios (and beyond, a delightfully landscaped lawn, complete with a water fountain).
Indoors, from the first step into a marble-floored hall painted a soft blue gray, there is a sense of calm highlighted by the symmetry of matching mahogany consoles and mirrors flanking the open entrance to the kitchen.
From here you can continue straight ahead to the stylish great room or, with a slight turn, enter the modern, state-of-the-art kitchen.
The kitchen is a study in sleek birch wood drawers and cabinets with stainless hardware, matching the stainless Viking appliances. A wine cooler sits in a corner and is almost the size of a double-door refrigerator. The counters, backsplashes and island top are covered in Calcutta gold marble. All subtly exhibit thoughtful organic design, as does the rustic kitchen table in the breakfast area surrounded by a banquette and chairs covered in blue duck cloth. Warmth is further achieved in the rich birch paneling of the room and a number of plants and flowers in vases.
The great room, opening off of the breakfast room as well as the hall, is tastefully decorated in neutral colors, the dominant shades being taupe paint on the walls and the dark walnut of an entire wall of shelves and cabinetry. This treatment contrasts with traditional furniture of tonal beige on beige, upholstery with sea blue accents on the sofa and plump pillows tossed on it. Everything here is brought together by a 30-foot-by-20-foot beige sisal carpet.
Two impressive and organic metal chandeliers in the great room were custom made for the Faders, a happy reminder for Jodi Fader of her growing-up years in New Orleans.
"Kelly Dodd knew my taste and knew how to pull things together from our other homes," she said of her decorator, who also picked out the hand-painted wallpaper in the formal dining room.
Against a light green paper canvas, peacocks and tiny sparrows rest on the branches of a blooming dogwood tree and hover around pink lotus blossoms. This Chinese-inspired mural masterpiece was the work of craftsman at Paul Montgomery Studios after the style of the New York City-based Gracie family's "Handpainted Chinese Scenics." It complements the mahogany buffet and glass-topped, cast concrete-based table sitting on bare wood flooring.
"It's like being able to move in and out of a feeling," Jodi Fader said.
In the study, grass wallpaper in grayish-blue tones sets the picture for lacquered Asian-influenced furniture. The Faders' poodle, Sadie, jumps on a taupe corduroy-upholstered sofa, ready to watch the wide-screen TV.
The master bedroom and state-of-the-art marble bathroom are currently a decorating work in progress, while a bedroom with private bathroom on the opposite wing of the condo serves as an overnight haven for guests, complete with a view of the patio, lawns and harbor beyond.
"We have an easy lifestyle here, and this is a great house for entertaining," Jodi Fader said, adding, "Laissez les bons temps roulez! Let the good times roll!"
About the home
Dream location: The most beautiful Baltimore residence means little if the owner is not in love with city life. "I love its vibrancy, its ability to be pedestrian, the small neighborhoods and the resurgence of development," Jodi Fader explained. "I can appreciate the character, the change, the decadence and everyone living together. You have to look at the integrity of the development; the surroundings. Here we have such a mix of open, friendly and diverse people."
Dream exterior: "This made it for me — the outdoor space," Jodi Fader explained. "We have 2,000 square feet of ground, two patios and three separate entertainment areas."