Part of the entertainment area at the Schwartzman home.
Part of the entertainment area at the Schwartzman home. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun)

When Sue Schwartzman first walked through her newly built single-family home in Owings Mills, she carried four paint samples from room to room. All Duron colors, their names — Mystic Green, Viola Satin, Prestige Purple and Violet Kohl — got her creative juices flowing.

"All of these four colors and [their] values are throughout the house," she noted, producing the original swatches she worked from 17 years ago when she and her husband, Ron, bought the home.


The 2,300-square-foot, one-story unattached condominium is one of 62 in the gated community of Weston, a development that is virtually maintenance-free and, as Sue Schwartzman is quick to point out, "has pools, tennis courts, a two-car garage, and is within walking distance to shopping [with] easy access to [Interstate] 795."

Coming from a traditional townhouse in Lutherville, Sue Schwartzman, a 58-year-old retired dental hygienist, made the decision to go modern in decor with a healthy dose of whimsy. And so, since 1995, she has been picking up furnishings from shops all over the Baltimore region, as well as from interesting boutiques and myriad crafts fairs.

"Gray is my neutral," she said, seated at the slick, glass-topped table of her recently remodeled kitchen, which began by gutting the entire room. The setting is sleek and uncluttered, with walls painted light gray and cabinets of espresso-stained cherry with chrome handles. Flecks of gray in the granite countertops contrast with a glass tile backsplash. Gray slate flooring cements the modern look, and for contrast, Sue Schwartzman has hung colored clusters of plates flanking either side of a wall-mounted flat-screen TV.

Adding to the interest of her modern decor is the fact that the interior of the home has been designed with a variety of angular walls. Very few rooms are square or rectangular. In the couple's hallway, painted gray with a faux-marble finish, a console table in brushed aluminum with a glass top and a wavy cutout "skirt" serves as exhibit space for two of their favorite craft show pieces: "Hairy Lady," made of wood in a black dress with a pink, moplike mane; and "Traveling Lady" on a multicolored hobby horse.

"We were not afraid to use a colorful palette that reflects our personalities. And funky art completes our happy home," Sue Schwartzman said. "Our favorite piece of art in the house is 'Happy Girl and Happy Boy,' which was done by Rokoko. This piece reveals a lot of who we are."

As if to illustrate her point, Ron Schwartzman, 68, who works at Acme Paper and Supply in Savage, leads the way into the open area that serves as living room and dining room. On the wall separating the two, the Rokoko sculptures flank a colorful resin framed mirror. Shades cover the windows in this great room, where a large J-shaped, muted purple leather sofa sits under a high, angular ceiling that slopes upward toward the roof.

"As you can see, this is a fun house, [but] it has to be livable," he said

In the dining area, a metal, glass-topped table with high-backed chairs sits under a chrome chandelier in the shape of a flying saucer. The lighting fixture is hung from a tray ceiling painted black and embellished with silver stars.

"Before you come in here, remember, I do not like bedroom sets," warned Sue Schwartzman, standing at the threshold of the couple's master suite, where a wrought-iron sleigh bed with muted gray-green, geometric print linens sits against a wall of equally muted purple with faux marbling. Two "floater" night tables on either side of the bed are built into the wall and fashioned of light gray-marbled Formica. A wide matching shelf unit has been built into the opposite wall. A rose-colored accent wall offers contrast to a lilac ceiling and wall art of pink flowers in a black lacquered, Art Deco-style frame.

"This home has been our 'Canvas in Motion,' " said Sue Schwartzman. "We have been able to create a colorful and whimsical home that puts a smile on our faces every day — and on [the faces of] everyone who visits.

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