Gary and Rebecca Perlow did not set out to buy a condo at the Ritz-Carlton Residences off Key Highway in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area. After all, they lived right down the street in the Townes at HarborView.

"We were empty-nesters and had a five-floor townhome there," said Gary Perlow, a 60-year-old CPA and Mid-Atlantic managing partner of CohnReznick, a national accounting firm. "But we were only living on two floors."

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So the couple moved from the model home at the Townes to the furnished model residence at the Ritz-Carlton in August 2013. They paid $1.7 million for the two-bedroom, 21/2-bathroom unit on the second floor, which, they noted was just 15 feet from the water's edge.

They were so pleased with the decor that their only tweaks were adding a large rectangle of track lighting on the living room ceiling and replacing the kitchen countertops with honed Caesarstone. They kept the weathered pine trestle table, the eight-lamp brass chandelier over it, and the matching buffet.

A private elevator opens directly to their foyer. A half-moon credenza of light wood, both carved and inlaid, offers contrast with the walls, which have been painted charcoal gray. Three Lladro figurines, along with a bisque doll covered in satin and feathers, sit atop the table next to a contemporary lamp with a light brown base and a rectangular cream shade. This vignette sets the tone for the home's transitional furnishings in a neutral decor that is punctuated by large and colorful paintings, sculptures and table art.

"I love having great walls to display our art," said Rebecca Perlow, a 56-year-old real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. And while her artistic tastes encompass a variety of mediums, she doesn't deny a bias toward the painter Jamali, whose style of "mystical expression" has produced her favorite of all the portraits of women that she displays throughout her home.

"I don't claim to be an art aficionado, but I know what I love," Rebecca Perlow said. "When we walked by [Jamali's] gallery in Fort Lauderdale, we both fell in love with his style of painting and the depth of the colors."

To that end, the couple found a large enough wall to accommodate an 8-by-5-foot framed Jamali painting. It hangs in a large open area between the foyer and living room, the perfect gathering spot for entertaining. As people converse, the blond-haired woman with prominent eyes in the painting stares out at the guests.

Just beyond the open gathering space is the living room, which the couple agree is their favorite and one they enjoy every day.

"It's hard to say if it's the room itself, which I do love, or the view one has while relaxing on the sofa," said Rebecca Perlow. "Looking out over the harbor, which you feel connected to, is calming."

Indeed, the room offers tranquillity in every area of its transitional style. The eggshell white walls contrasted with the dark wood flooring provides a museum-like effect. Three vertical niches are situated on either side of the white marble and wood fireplace surround. It is this room where the couple displays large pieces such as ceramic vases, jars and bowls, along with photographs and wooden sculptures. The furniture is upholstered in neutral shades, the L-shaped sofa being the central piece.

"The room itself has clean lines, not very much to distract you," said Rebecca Perlow. "It's simple and uncluttered. I like to think there is a casual elegance one feels upon entering. It is the first room you see from the foyer, and it creates a comfortable, inviting environment."

The outside environment is also visible through the large picture window and the glass door that opens to a covered veranda. As large as an extra room inside, the Perlows' enjoyment from the wicker furniture on this waterside area is immeasurable.

"I can look out and feel like I am in the water," said Gary Perlow. "Watching the boats and listening to the music from Pier Six [Pavilion] makes me feel like I am on vacation every day."

In contrast to the cool colors of the foyer, living room and dining room, the kitchen and adjoining sitting room feature light woods and bright walls. The kitchen includes light wood cabinets, glass tile backsplashes and stainless-steel appliances. The adjoining room features gold draperies, a gold microfiber sofa and a colorful, modern rendition of a Renoir-like painting of smartly dressed people enjoying themselves in a pub.

A traditionally decorated master bedroom is punctuated by a pair of watercolor paintings of fashionable ladies at the seaside by French artist Marc Clauzade.

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From their unit, the Perlows are treated to views of the Inner Harbor, the cityscape and the formal gardens in the building's courtyard — what Rebecca Perlow calls "a triple play."

Almost as much as the view, which includes the soft neon glow of the Domino Sugars sign across the water, the couple enjoys their relaxed lifestyle, an irreplaceable perk at the end of a hectic day.

"Overall, this is an amazing place to live," said Gary Perlow. "The amenities, friendliness and personal attention from the entire staff, and the overall quality of life, cannot be beat."

Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Send an email to homes@baltsun.com.

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