Dave and Nancy Becker and their daughters Hayley, 14, and Taylor, 11 (yellow top).
Dave and Nancy Becker and their daughters Hayley, 14, and Taylor, 11 (yellow top). (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun)

As you drive up to the Beckers' front door in Carroll County's Sun Valley development, large front yards and a good chunk of land between homes create a warm feeling of country living amid open fields.

Dave Becker, 44, and his wife Nancy, 42, have invested heavily on landscaping, and it shows.

Trees include crape myrtle, blue spruce and cherry. They share the lawn with a red-twig dogwood, a Southern magnolia and a prickly pear. All are as beautifully and thoughtfully placed on the land as the neighboring houses are carefully staggered.

Inside the front hall of the Beckers' brick-fronted, two-story Colonial, it is immediately apparent that the same care given to the exterior is found inside. The 2,800-square-foot home is immaculate — and kept that way by Nancy Becker, a substitute elementary schoolteacher who noted, "My dad does not like clutter, and I inherited that trait."

The couple moved to their Westminster home 10 years ago from an Eldersburg townhouse, calling their decision to head a little farther west a "nice compromise." She has family in Frederick, and her husband has relatives in Towson, Nancy Becker explained.

They spent about $300,000 on the house and property, which includes work they have done over the years, such as building a two-sided, double deck onto the back and placing crown molding, wallpaper and paint on interior walls.

"From being in the building industry, I know people spend a lot of time in the kitchen and family room, " said Dave Becker, a sales representative for Toto USA, manufacturers of residential and commercial plumbing products. "Every time we entertain, people always end up in the kitchen."

With that in mind, and their desire for home with a warm, country feel, the couple chose to open up their kitchen and adjacent family room by shortening the half-wall divider between the two.

A 6-foot-long aged pine table with matching benches is a family heirloom that takes center stage in the kitchen, where walls are painted a light shade of terra cotta.

"This is the most talked-about color when people come into the house," said Nancy Becker. The color suits the kitchen's honey maple cabinets and coffee-colored Silestone countertops. A custom-made, built-in desk unit below the cupboards offers a convenient work place.

The adjacent family room is Shaker in style in both its furniture and its simplicity. Walls are painted light sage with darker sage trim on the floor and ceiling, the brick fireplace mantel and at the windows covered with wide, wooden blinds.

"I like bright; I like open," Nancy Becker said. "The first thing I do in the morning is open the blinds."

Open and spacious describes the two-story front hall with its grand Palladian-like window and door transom providing abundant light. An oak staircase turns at a landing before climbing to the second level. The hall opens onto a formal living room and dining room.

Gold paint on the walls with a deep burgundy accent wall sets the tone for a living room tastefully furnished in Queen Anne style, with cherry end tables and a black and white-checked camelback sofa. Flowing sheer curtains in beige and sage colors adorn the windows.

The dining room showcases Colonial-style oak furniture, with ladderback chairs, a large hutch with glass windows and a long parson's bench. Below the white chair rail, the walls are painted light forest green, while above the rail, Nancy Becker hung wallpaper with white medallions on a light green base.

The couple's second story includes a guest room, separate bedrooms for their daughters — Haley, 14 and Taylor, 12 — as well as a large master suite furnished in traditional decor.

"We love the circular flow of our house," Nancy Becker said. "My favorite room is the master suite where I read and relax. Dave's favorite is the family room."

Could that have anything to do with the wide-screen TV there? Dave Becker's not talking.

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Making the dream

Dream realized: The Beckers are thrilled to be in a single-family home in Westminster, a short distance from their former home in Eldersburg, both in Carroll County. The living, they say, is relaxing and the neighbors are close-knit and enjoy entertaining.

Personal touches: Nancy Becker added paint and wallpaper to rooms to provide warmth and a personal touch. The couple has allowed their daughters to decorate their bedrooms as they wish, with electric colors, such as light purple walls and dark purple trim in Haley's room and pink walls with lime-green trim in Taylor's room.