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Designer Stephanie Bradshaw’s stunning new Baltimore County home combines the outdoors with contemporary opulence

Two years ago, Stephanie Bradshaw and her partner, Brett Bernard, were ready to pack up and move to Colorado to be closer to hiking and the great outdoors.

Then the couple discovered an acre of land in picturesque Sparks Glencoe in northern Baltimore County. The ponds, forests and rolling terrain peppered with farms were too good to pass up.

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That’s where they decided to build Wild Pines, their 4,500-square-foot house plus an additional 1,000 square feet above the garage for SBHQ (Stephanie Bradshaw Head Quarters), her in-home design studio. Bernard’s construction company, ProCor, is run out of their 800-square-foot finished basement.

The kitchen of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md.
The kitchen of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md. (Kenneth K. Lam)

“We were able to build our Colorado dream home in Maryland,” said Bradshaw, 45. The quality of schools in the area was the deciding factor of moving there.

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“I have always loved the outdoors, and knew I wanted to either be on a lake or in the mountains,” said Bradshaw, who met Bernard, 43, nine years ago on a job site. The two became a couple a year later.

“We decided to build our dream home near Baltimore — a city we both love — and here is where we will raise our son, Dallas, and continue operating both of our businesses.”

Overhead view of the family room of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md.
Overhead view of the family room of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md. (Kenneth K. Lam)

Building and decorating their home

The couple built their “modern mountain” home after five months of design — they sketched the plans on a napkin in January 2019 — and permitting with their architect, Chester Bartels. The home was erected after an additional 11 months of construction by Bernard’s company. They moved in two weeks before COVID-19 shut down things in March.

“There was always this connection with nature that was a constant in my mind throughout the process,” Bradshaw said. “I chose a few words at the beginning of the project, as we do with all projects, that I wanted this house to embody. Those words were: natural, modern, collected, chic, sophisticated, approachable. All the finishes, furniture, fabric selections and art, traffic patterns, were curated with those words in mind.”

Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw in the foyer of her family's dream home in Sparks, Md.
Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw in the foyer of her family's dream home in Sparks, Md. (Kenneth K. Lam)

She said she chose greens and rusty hues — the color of pine needles once they have fallen to the ground — tan, bark and pops of blue.

“I really wanted the entire palette of the home to flow and took a few color risks in a few of the spaces too,” she said, pointing to the dark studio green in the breakfast nook and almost all black in the basement’s media room.

Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw, husband Brett Bernard, son Dallas and dog Brooks in the family room of their dream home in Sparks, Md.
Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw, husband Brett Bernard, son Dallas and dog Brooks in the family room of their dream home in Sparks, Md. (Kenneth K. Lam)

“It goes without saying that this was an extremely intimate design project and sometimes a bit overwhelming because in addition to the interiors we were also the builders,” said Bradshaw. She has won a number of interior design awards through the years, including Best Interior Design by Baltimore Magazine in 2019 and Best of Houzz in design in 2019 and 2020.

“I also knew that the decisions I made were going to be an investment and ones I would live with for years to come, so I tried to keep with a clean, modern aesthetic, but also infuse some color that highlighted the land it was built upon,” she said.

Immediately upon entering Wild Pines, a striking dark structure, you can see the seamless finished product that she describes.

The floors — white oak with a light lime wash — lead you from room to room as you discover all of Bradshaw’s touches before ultimately arriving in the home’s heart, its living room with 25-foot ceilings.

“There’s always something new to discover in each space,” Bradshaw said.

Green plants and furnishings in the master bedroom of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md.
Green plants and furnishings in the master bedroom of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md. (Kenneth K. Lam)

Special touches

The dozen pieces of hanging art — except for a few pieces by her 4-year-old son, Dallas — are mostly created by women.

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“I’m a huge proponent of supporting women,” said Bradshaw, who hosts Cake & Whiskey, a reccurring networking event for professional Baltimore-area women. “I did intentionally choose to support women in the arts with my selections.”

One piece not created by a woman is a custom-made deep brown guitar hanging in the living room. It was made by Bradshaw’s brother, Drew. His company, Bradshaw Guitars, also made the beams and the mantel in the living room.

Bradshaw calls her home her “greenhouse”: It is filled with lush greenery at every turn.

The dining room of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md.
The dining room of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md. (Kenneth K. Lam)

“I love my plants,” she said of the more than 50 plants, which include a large fan palm and Monstera, both in the living room, and a Ficus alii in the foyer. “I mist them twice a day. If you were to take the green out [of the home] it wouldn’t feel as beautiful.”

Off the master bedroom is their his-and-hers walk-in closet. His side is more understated with an assortment of darker-colored button-down shirts and checkered tops. Her side is a colorful assortment of dresses and heels highlighted by various studded Valentino pumps.

Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's walk-in closet of her dream home in Sparks, Md.
Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's walk-in closet of her dream home in Sparks, Md. (Kenneth K. Lam)

With its glass shower, oversize wall mirrors and and white marble floors, their bathroom has a bright, ethereal feel.

A blended approach

The home is the ultimate balance of contemporary trends and classic elements.

For instance, a glass and hand-rubbed antique brass chandelier by Aerin Lauder hangs in the kitchen, while an aged iron Sputnik-like lighting fixture by Kelly Wearstler graces the dining room. Both are from the Houston-based Visual Comfort, a lighting retailer.

The hallway leading into the master bedroom of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md.
The hallway leading into the master bedroom of Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's dream home in Sparks, Md. (Kenneth K. Lam)

A perfectly stacked pile of firewood sits next to a cozy fireplace in the living room. And a mounted head of a female eland antelope, which Bradshaw purchased from Wishbone Reserve in Hampden, adds a sophisticated ruggedness to the living room.

On most mornings, you can find the couple in the living room relaxing in custom reupholstered animal print chairs by Lee Industries of Conover, North Carolina, as they look out onto the half-acre of forest that frames the home.

“I really wanted the house to feel grounded,” Bradshaw said. “I wanted it to feel outside but inside.”

And even though the home looks like an advertisement from an upscale glossy home magazine, Bradshaw said that it is very much lived-in.

“I didn’t want people to come over and think they could not sit down,” said Bradshaw, as her 9-year-old Maltipoo, Brooks, scurries by. “I wanted to create intimacy.”

Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's son Dallas' bedroom.
Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw's son Dallas' bedroom. (Kenneth K. Lam)

And with four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, Bradshaw insists that they built a multilevel home that is just enough for them.

“Every room we really use,” she said. “We built the house the way we wanted to live.”

Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw, right, husband Brett Bernard, son Dallas and dog Brooks pictured in her home office.
Interior designer and event planner Stephanie Bradshaw, right, husband Brett Bernard, son Dallas and dog Brooks pictured in her home office. (Kenneth K. Lam)

A model home

The new house has drawn so much interest among neighbors, friends and family that it serves as an unofficial model for projects the couple plan together, according to Bernard.

Bernard, who began a general contracting business in 2003 after working as a technology education teacher, pivoted in 2011 to mid- and large-scale residential and mixed-used project management.

Bradshaw, who will continue her event planning company, will expand her interior design home offerings, which account for a significant chunk of her business — especially during the pandemic.

“People want us to design spaces together,” she said.

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Living under one roof will come in handy for the couple’s next venture, Bernard said.

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“We already know each other. And we’re on the same page,” he explained. “We work well together.”

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