Dream home: Renovated home gathers family to the farm

In less than a year, Kim Harbin Taylor, and her husband, Mike Taylor, of Ellicott City have transformed their family's vintage property into their dream home.
In less than a year, Kim Harbin Taylor, and her husband, Mike Taylor, of Ellicott City have transformed their family's vintage property into their dream home.(Doug Kapustin, Baltimore Sun)

When hearth and home — together with a growing family and an onsite family business — are at the center of day-to-day living, a small and dated one-story farmhouse in Ellicott City begins to burst at the seams. To keep their extended family under one roof while preserving the one-bathroom house built in 1954, the Harbin and Taylor families found the only solution was to build additions.

"My mom and uncle were raised on the original farm down the road," Kim Harbin Taylor said. "That house was on 18 acres, and they farmed an additional 44, raising sweet corn and tomatoes."


However, her childhood was spent in the small home that had only two bedrooms, a living room and kitchen. She helped out in the family's open-air market, Harbin Farms, established in 1958. Then, as today, the business offered flowers, fruits and vegetables, pumpkins and Christmas trees.

Years passed and parcels of land were sold to developers. When she married Mike Taylor, who works for the Department of Defense in Linthicum, the couple bought a home west of the little farmhouse and started a family.

After the Harbins and the Taylors decided to live under one roof on the site of Harbin Farms, the expansion began on the little farmhouse. Today, the business, as well as a much larger home, sits on 2.5 acres. The house accommodates the couple, their two daughters, Katlyn, 13, and Madison, 11, as well as extended family, including Kim Harbin Taylor's mother, Dorothy Harbin, and her uncle, Bob Harbin. The Taylors' two grown sons live just a short distance away in the house formerly occupied by their parents.

"We needed to stay close to our roots," Kim Harbin Taylor said. "We would not have found anything close to this [renovation] price in a new home."

In January 2012, architect Jonathan Rivera began work on a design that would build up and out from the original house. A second floor for three more bedrooms was a major part of the plans, along with a ground-floor addition to enlarge the two original bedrooms. On another side of the house, the original garage was demolished and in its place, a family room was added. Ken Mauck of Ken Mauck Construction and Renovations, headed up the team of builders.

The architectural renderings were complete by April 2012 and construction began in July. The job was not without its hiccups, however.

"During the digging of the foundation, the builder came across a huge boulder that the old garage sat on," Mike Taylor recalled. "It was so big they couldn't tell where it stopped. It took two whole days of chipping away with a jackhammer to even get it to where they could pour the foundation."

Then, when everything appeared to be going smoothly, the carpenters found major termite damage. It became a monumental task repairing the damage while staying on the builder's schedule.


The major construction work was the addition of a second floor. The roof trusses were put in place in two weeks. A staircase needed to be built to access the three second-story bedrooms and two full baths. A total of 44 windows were added or replaced.

The kitchen was structurally left as is, but a wall was removed for a full view into the new family room, redefining the kitchen space. A screened-in porch has been turned into an additional room off the kitchen. At first, this area was meant to be a dining room. However, when the original living room was redesigned, it was found to be a perfect dining and gathering room for the family.

The gathering room is painted a dark pumpkin color with all the trim in white. An 8-foot-long rectangular oak table sits in the center of the room with a long bench on one side and Windsor chairs on the other three. The room also features a stone fireplace that is original to the house.

A second fireplace, this time a floor-to-ceiling stone structure, is in the new family room, where a cathedral ceiling rises over 20 feet high with bumpouts and angles to provide interest and suggestions for furniture placement. For the time being, Kim Harbin Taylor has chosen to place leather chairs and traditional sofa and loveseat around the periphery of the large room. A 65-inch flat-screen TV has been installed over the fireplace.

"We love this room since it is large enough to hold lots of people," she said. "We had a beautiful big Christmas tree this year for the first time. Sitting around a fire with family at Christmas was priceless."

Directly out of doors from the great room is a large deck and an aboveground pool for relaxing when family members are not pulling shifts at the outdoor market.


"We love for all of the family and friends [including all of our produce stand employees] to gather at our house for sporting events, holidays, birthdays, or just Sunday dinner," Kim Harbin Taylor said. "An empty house is not what we dreamed of; so now we have the room to fill it with memories and good times. We are blessed to have such a home and such a wonderful group of folks that worked with us to get here."

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