After renting a unit in the Harborview community for four years, Bryan Lucas was determined to take his time finding the perfect house in Baltimore to make his own.

"I looked at 30 to 40 places around Canton and Fells Point," he said. "Then I bought the last house I saw. My agent said it had been on the market for two days."


The two-story red-brick rowhouse he purchased was a completely rehabilitated property in Federal Hill, the product of a company called Building Character, owned by brothers Matt and Mike Knoepfle. These construction professionals buy dilapidated city homes, rebuild them from the ground up and then sell them. According to the company's website, the Knoepfles have had a hand in over 300 area homes, ones that Lucas calls "the best rehabs in Baltimore City."

"They spared little expense and paid attention to detail when designing and building my home," said Lucas, 45, a senior account manager in health care sales.

He settled on his 1,900-square-foot rehab on Sept. 15 — for which he paid $385,000 — and moved in five days later.

Lucas' front door opens onto the living room, part of his 15-foot-by-60-foot first-floor interior. Nine-foot ceilings with recessed lighting and an open floor plan give the illusion of a much wider area.

"[My] favorite room is the living room," he said. "[My] choice of furniture, fabric and colors make it the most appealing to the eye — warm and inviting, contemporary, but not losing the classic rowhome feel."

Lucas said the room "was a blank canvas" when he bought the house, so every piece of furniture was chosen "specifically for the space." Walls painted a light shade of gray accentuate the multiple layers of ceiling and window molding the Knoepfle brothers are known for. Here they are painted white.

One wall is brick, evoking a rustic but modern look as it meets the hardwood floor. A very large and colorful abstract painting hangs on the opposite wall above a sofa upholstered in light fern green microfiber.

This painting, by an unknown artist, was purchased from a New York City gallery. Its bold colors, Lucas said, "blend well with the softer tones of the reclaimed wood furniture and unique leather jean tag rug," which he bought at Arhaus Furniture in Harbor East.

An L-shaped kitchen begins halfway into the first-floor layout and features white cabinetry contrasting with black granite countertops and slick stainless-steel appliances.

Lucas is particularly fond of a pair of guitars hanging on the kitchen wall, framed in custom rectangular cases to create 3-D works of art.

Pieces of furniture that Lucas brought with him to the house include a dark leather sofa and a bright orange woven rug. These, along with a 50-inch flat-screen TV, a wine cooler and a shelving unit make for the special area he calls his "chill room."

A finished basement serves as his office and features a sitting area and a full bathroom. The master bedroom, which has a full bathroom attached, is furnished with a mahogany suite, complete with a four-poster bed.

While Lucas said he "could not be happier" with his home, he acknowledged that there's just one more thing he'll add down the line: a "larger refrigerator in the kitchen."

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