It is a long way from Lubbock, Texas, to Baltimore's Reservoir Hill, but Kelly Dale Terrill was up for the change.
"I wanted to do something different, and I liked the Mid-Atlantic," said Terrill, 32. "So I got a job at the University of Maryland as a coordinator of development and alumni relations."
The year was 2005, and the trip east landed him in Columbia. He rarely came into the city other than for quick visits to the Inner Harbor or, as he said, "to do touristy things."
But before long, the Texas Tech graduate became interested in the city's parks, buildings and past. He read books on Baltimore history that fascinated him to the point where he decided to look for a home in the city.
That was in 2010, and after checking out many houses in various neighborhoods, he found his prize property — a townhouse in Reservoir Hill, the once-tony area of fountains and monuments that used to boast residents such as writer Gertrude Stein and the art-collecting Cone sisters.
Among public gardens, Beaux Arts buildings and neighbors dedicated to the area's revitalization, Terrill settled into Eutaw Place in 2011.
"I bought this house for $99,000 through the Healthy Neighborhoods program," he said of his three-story, white marble, Italianate home. "They gave me a $25,000 forgivable loan if I got everything up to the Baltimore standard building code."
Which Terrill said he did, noting that the plumbing and heating were in fine shape, as was most of the interior architecture with its original 1896 woodwork and moldings. With 3,690 square feet of living space and 12-foot-high ceilings, the home has six fireplaces and cabinetry as well as parquet flooring. A winding oak staircase is open to the third floor, while bay windows in the front rooms of the first and second levels are topped by a circular covered outdoor balcony on the third.
Terrill's grandmother provided most of the furniture, and he purchased additional period pieces from Second Chance, a salvage store in Baltimore. After one year of living in the home, he was eligible for a renovation loan, which he used to install central air throughout and granite countertops in the kitchen. He also renovated a first-floor bathroom and repainted most of the house.
There are still a few areas on the third floor that need attention, but time is on his side. Terrill plans a long stay in the home he considers himself extremely lucky to own.
"What makes Eutaw Place a dream home for me is the connection to my current and former neighbors," he said. "When I moved in, I quickly realized I was surrounded by extremely capable people who were dedicated to making our area one that is synonymous with Society Hill in Philadelphia or Beacon Hill in Boston."
It wasn't long after moving to the neighborhood that he became involved, joining the Mouint Royal Community Development Corp., a marketing and economic development venture, as a founding member.
And there would be more opportunities for Terrill. In 2011, he contacted Arcadia Publishing with a book proposal. His "Reservoir Hill," part of the publisher's "Images of America" series, was issued in January.
"After doing research and interviews for my book … I learned [about] all the former residents and their profound impact on our city and nation's history," he said. "Living on Eutaw Place, my neighbors and I all feel a sense of responsibility to continue the legacy of our former neighbors and keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive that started decades ago."
Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.