Laura Mooney has made a fresh start in her second Canton home since 2003.

Her idea was to simplify her life and downsize while remaining in the East Baltimore neighborhood she has lived in for the last 11 years. Her newly renovated Canton home, which she moved into four weeks ago, is a symbol of newfound liberation, she said.


"This house is light, airy and clutter-free; that's my aesthetic," Mooney said.

That aesthetic has a welcoming effect. A distressed wooden sign set in a wrought-iron stand at the foot of her winding staircase says it all: "Bonjour!"

The entire 12-by-50-foot interior has a neat, streamlined feel, with a bit of whimsy added through bright artwork. Mooney's lamps and chandeliers sparkle on the walls and white 10-foot coffered ceiling in the living room.

"I blinged-out the house with a bit of crystal," she said.

Mooney, a technology marketing specialist who owns the business Time2Market, paid $418,000 for the two-story, brick house with a compact, yet open 1,200 square feet of living space. The walls are painted light gray throughout, except for a natural brick wall on the west side of her living room that provides contrast and texture. She is proud of how she built out the fireplace and of the many glass pieces on the mantle she picked up in Italy.

Many of the furniture pieces in her house were purchased from Nouveau Contemporary Goods in Baltimore. These include a vibrant pink side chair with an asymmetrical back, and a mirror with wrought-iron frame. For her dining room, she chose blue, microfiber tufted armchairs and brushed chrome side chairs.

A built-in niche between the living and dining room displays more items from her travels, such as a sandstone elephant from Africa and vases from Hawaii and Italy's Amalfi Coast.

Just beyond the dining room is a C-shaped, open kitchen. White lacquered cabinets, shutters, and a subway-tile backsplash, plus granite countertopsand stainless appliances give the room a pristine and cutting-edge appeal.

The second level has two bathrooms, a master bedroom and an office. Two of Mooney's favorite pieces are found in the minimally decorated office: a distressed pie safe and a purple velveteen Mad Hatter chair.

A carved pine armoire in the master bedroom gives a touch of old-world ambience, contrasting with a steel-frame bed topped with a white medallion comforter and gray pillows. Plaster paintings of pin-up girls in the bedroom and hall bathroom are by Baltimore artist Gene Garcia.

Mooney's half-basement gets natural light from an above-ground window, with extra brightness coming from a mirror wall hanging and an abstract painting of multicolored bull's-eye on an orange-painted floor. A weaved, high-backed chair picks up the vibrant colors of the painting.

A full bathroom in the basement has light ceramic tile in the glass shower and a white marble counter. On the wall is a pen-and-ink drawing of Mooney's first Canton rowhouse — a reminder of the neighborhood she loves.

"I found it liberating to move into the city. The energy, the proximity to so many great shops and restaurants and the walkability were all new to me having grown up in the suburbs," she said. "This [house] represents regaining my independence and the timing with the New Year feels like a fresh start to an exciting future."

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