Just how long can it take to find the perfect, not run-of-the-mill rowhouse with a nontypical layout among hundreds for sale in the Southeast Baltimore neighborhood of Canton?

For Chrissie Davis, a 39-year-old health care consultant with Huron Consulting Group, the search took more than two years. Finally, she struck home-hunter's gold.


"As soon as I stepped foot into this house, I knew I'd never see another Canton rehab like it," she said. "Since change scares me, I spent a few days after the settlement freaking out about this big new responsibility and whether or not it was the right decision. And then I focused on turning it into my home, one room at a time."

And for visitors who step into her home, it is instantly clear that she succeeded. To begin, she purchased a sound structure, spotless and completely renovated to her liking, for $340,000. Two stories, a finished basement, two large bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a third-floor enclosed wet bar opening onto a wraparound rooftop deck were just the beginning of the amenities that awaited her.

The interior space measuring 12 feet by 65 feet has become, Davis says proudly, a "study in contrasts: rustic and urban, modern and warm."

Of the home's many features are the exposed, highly varnished oak ceiling beams and floorboards throughout the first floor. The wood staircase to the second level has open risers that frame her kitchen with each step up, and its black iron rail mimics the ironwork found throughout old Baltimore. The entire north wall is covered in old brick, an homage to the age of the home. Finally, soft track lighting warms and defines the multiple textures throughout.

"The living room [is] a mix of furniture with the anchor pieces [such as the] sofa, swivel chair, ottoman and console table from Sofas Etc. in Towson," Davis said. "Accent pieces [such as] side chairs, area rug and tin mirror [are] from Su Casa in Fells Point. Ballard Designs [provided the] silver coat hanger and wood/iron bookcase, and Arhaus the side table."

Reeling from the cost of furnishing her living room alone, she was accompanied by her decorator, Nancy Pappas, on a trip to HomeGoods.

"[She] showed me that although I splurged on staples that will last for years to come, I could get a number of steals on accessories and change them out later if I wanted to refresh the look of the room in the future without having a monetary coronary," Davis said. "At HomeGoods, I found 'steals' on the artwork above the sofa, sconces on the brick the wall, a blue lamp on the side table and many other decorative items."

Davis' favorite room in her house changes from day to day. Her kitchen, with its warm birch cabinets and metal pulls, along with her high-top wood-and-metal table and bar stools that fit cozily in the back corner, has been enhanced by a favorite piece of artwork — a colorful painting using the encaustic (hot wax painting) technique titled "Brazen Sea" by local artist Sandi Wilson Cienski.

Another of her favorite places is her upstairs bedroom, which relaxes her after a busy day. Davis calls the space "tranquil, simple and the perfect place to read."

"Oddly enough, I wanted my bedroom to look like a hotel," she said, of the room's gray walls, glass tabletops and bright bed linens in an orange swirl design. "This is ironic since I spend about 120 nights a year in hotels.

Her home project list is still a long one. She is looking forward to making gallery walls in the second floor hallway with her travel photographs. Family pictures are a priority, especially ones of her dad, who died 10 years ago.

"Having him in various rooms means that he can see where I live and how I've grown up in my 30s," she said. "He would have loved the rustic look of the wood."

Davis also finds intangible rewards in the closeness — figuratively and literally — of her neighbors.

"My dream-home criteria always included good people surrounding it, and I have that in spades," she said. "Change is good, especially when it involves 'grown-up furniture' and moving out of your comfort zone."


Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Send an email to homes@baltsun.com.