Like many young professionals who work in or near Baltimore, Jon and Jenny Kraft searched for city properties when they decided to build a home together.
"We looked at myriad different houses and could not find one that was designed for how we live and was also located in a walkable community," said Jon Kraft.
His wife noted that parking, open layout, roof deck, fireplace and a minimum of three bedrooms were also priorities.
They ultimately found a tailor-made answer to their requirements in The Townes at Locust Point, an enclave of 71 three-story brick townhouses built by Ruppert Homes Urban Redevelopment. Located off Fort Avenue, these homes are integrated within existing residences, businesses and landmarks.
The couple paid $430,000 for their townhouse, which included options such as a fireplace and granite kitchen countertops. One invaluable option, which did not add a penny to the selling price, was working out an interior design more suited to their tastes.
"The builder said we could change [interior plans], and we began knocking down walls," said Jon Kraft, a 35-year-old manager at Bowman Consulting specializing in land planning and civil engineering.
The second-floor main living area was on the receiving end of these changes. It is here, at the top of the steps from a ground floor office, bath and foyer, that an open dining area, state-of-the-art kitchen and spacious living room all flow horizontally, one into the other, in neutral, contemporary furnishings splashed with color and texture.
"We heard from a friend about Mary Yeager [of Singular Design Interiors] and brought her in even before we settled," said 36-year-old Jenny Kraft, a contract manager for a transportation planning and engineering firm. "We bought all new furniture; a real investment for a lifetime."
Jenny Kraft relates the fun she and Yeager had buying new furnishings and juxtaposing them with finds from antiques shops and local establishments. Against a palette of soft gray and builder's eggshell paint on the walls, the two women created comfortable urban-chic spaces.
"My favorite room is the dining room," Jenny Kraft said. "I love everything in there, from the chandelier to the wallpaper to the fuchsia server. It has personality."
Yeager's scheme of larger furniture pieces in soft gray, including a sectional sofa, is infused with accent color pieces, including gold pillows, metal starburst mirrors, teardrop crystal lamps, a crystal chandelier over a glass-topped dining table and — to her clients' delight — an antique French-inspired buffet painted fuchsia for pop appeal.
Jon Kraft's favorite spot in the house is the living room.
"The space is comfortable, open and gets a ton of natural light," he said. "It is a great space to sit back and relax, with views of downtown in the background. Our living room couch … fits the space and is still the perfect size for lounging."
Two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an office are on the third level. While the office has been minimally designed for comfort and function, the guest room and master suite are works in progress. The Krafts have no doubt that Yeager will work her magic on those areas, as well.
"Working with Mary was great," Jenny Kraft said. "Jon and I have very different styles, and she was able to navigate us to options that we both liked. She is very creative and made suggestions that took us out of our comfort zones. The thought of furnishing and decorating an entire house was a little overwhelming, and she made the process manageable and fun."
Clearly the couple got exactly what they wanted and more, such as a two-car garage, fantastic views of downtown Baltimore and a quiet street with friendly neighbors.
Looking out from their rooftop deck over the workings of a busy port city, John Kraft gestured broadly and remarked, "We call it industrial chic."
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