Dream home

Custom Owings Mills home is spacious and warm

For The Baltimore Sun
This Owings Mills home may be large, but it still has a cozy, warm feel.

An impressive stucco and stone, Mediterranean-inspired home exudes a dignified presence on 2 acres that back to woods in Owings Mills. With an exterior resembling a European country retreat, its three-level interior encompasses 7,520 square feet of living space.

This is exactly what Udaya Talwar and his wife, Simita, dreamed of in a design by Sunfire Custom Homes, built in August. It presents a perfect place for the couple and their two boys, 14-year old Sai and 10-year old Sanjay, to grow as a family. When they moved into their new home in December, they had far more room than in their previous Crofton residence.

"There is a large yard for the kids to play [in]," said Udaya Talwar, 54, an engineer and vice president of operations and supply chain at Woodward Inc. "The color scheme and granite countertops meet my wife's requirements… and [there is] more space within the house."

Their home is large and luxurious, commanding immediate attention at the arched, portico-like front entrance. Inside, the foyer's 20-foot ceiling and winding staircase to an open second-level hallway are a study in the successful combination of 21st-century innovations and traditional warmth.

Sweeping arches off the foyer open to a formal living room and, across the hall, a dining room. Gracious interior design elements coupled with elegant furnishings define these areas, which make up the entire front of the home's first floor.

A double tray ceiling looms over the dining room, with chair rails and cherry wood traditional furniture from Ethan Allen. The living room, also decorated with traditional furniture in shades of rust, yellow and cream, features a carved mahogany coffee table and a side table. The wall art is exquisite, chronicling slices of life from the Talwars' native India.

"The living room has some exquisite artwork from a town in the southern part of India," Talwar said. "These [pieces] are done by artists who pass on their skill from one generation to the other through hands-on training. The artwork is delicate and detailed."

These valued treasures are not the only wall hangings in the Talwar home. Framed professional photographs of the family, at all stages of their life, adorn the walls, tables and the credenzas throughout the home.

A butler's pantry off the dining room leads directly to the back of the house. Here, a kitchen and adjacent family room run the entire width of the house and are separated by a 6-by-6-foot contemporary dining table and eight matching high-back chairs.

"The kitchen is where we meet and talk," Talwar said.

Electric guitars, stools and an amplifier set up in front of the room's large bay windows suggest a whole lot of rocking going on. The boys, it turns out, are musicians and perform locally.

Brazilian cherry wood floors complement a custom kitchen where cherry wood built-in units, an island and countertops are topped in gold-flecked granite. Simita Talwar, a 47-year-old primary care physician who loves to cook, appreciates the stainless-steel farm sink and the powerful exhaust fan over the professional-grade stove.

An exterior deck spans the entire back of the home and is visible through the French doors and bay windows of the kitchen, as well as through the wall of windows in the family room.

A coffered ceiling and a stone wall containing a gas fireplace and built-in bookshelves define the family room, as does the comfortable leather pub-style furniture. A few antique pieces, such as a carved wood love seat, punctuate the traditional decor here.

Interior French doors off of the family room open onto a den where Sai and Sanjay, both students at the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, study and do homework.

A lower-level recreation room is highlighted with floor-to-ceiling windows and access to a bluestone patio. There is also a guest bedroom on this level.

Four bedrooms and a laundry room are found on the upper level. Of particular appeal is an unusually large master bedroom, featuring a living area and a full bar with refrigerator.

At the top of the owners' to-do list is to modify the three-car garage with shelves for storage and racks for shoes.

But one of the home's biggest pluses for the Talwars is found just outside the front door.

"The best part [is] the McDonogh School bus stop," Udaya Talwar said. "It is right at the end of our driveway."

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