A work by artist Chester Overlock at Daniel Reed's home in Clipper Mill.
A work by artist Chester Overlock at Daniel Reed's home in Clipper Mill. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun)

Daniel Reed's flair for decorating and interior design — especially during the holiday season — is immediately evident at the front door of his very modern duplex in Baltimore's Clipper Mill development. To visit this home is to slip into a winter wonderland; a fantasy in light, color and motion.

"Wait until you get inside," said the 44-year-old president of his own design firm.


"I love decorating for Christmas."

He doesn't exaggerate. Imagine seeing the most beautifully embellished department store window and being able to walk through the glass and become a part of that other-worldly tableau. That feeling is palpable with the first step beyond the threshold.

The lighting is subtle throughout a very modern interior design that includes open rooms, beamed ceilings, wood flooring and a steel mesh unit encasing an open stairway to bedrooms above the main level. The ground-level entrance opens onto the home's foyer where a table scene, like an artistic diorama, displays a picture of a starry winter night with snow on the ground and on the winter pine trees, turning them into white obelisks. Small white lights under the "snow" glimmer as a reflection of the sky above.

Immediately adjacent to the foyer is a small in-law apartment for the mother of Reed's partner. A lighted Christmas tree is seen through one of the home's many large store-like windows. A quick turn up a stairway reveals the main living area of the home.

Reed watched his home being built, having his say in every facet of its interior design. In July 2008, he took possession of the $647,000 duplex with an exterior construction of Hardie plank, quarried stone and large picture windows overlooking the Woodberry neighborhood.

"When I saw the floor plans, I knew where every piece of furniture would go," Reed said, leading the way to his dining area, the centerpiece on a level that also includes a kitchen and great room on one side of the home and a TV room adjacent to the dining room on the opposite side with the open staircase separating the two spacious sections of living area. "Modern furniture and an industrial-like interior go very well together."

Indeed, in a home with predominant colors of gray, brown and teal, his wood furniture painted black, his mid-century modern lighted globes on wooden pedestals, a ladder-style bookcase used as a temporary bar for holiday parties and a large chrome and glass-topped dining table are in vivid contrast to microfiber and tweed furniture set in leather frames. A Nativity scene of fine ceramic, along with angels and snowman, all purchased in Italy, form yet another seasonal display in the rooms that sparkle with white garland and softly blinking lights woven into the home's metal work.

Undoubtedly, the star of the seasonal decoration is a magnificently tall and billowing white Christmas tree that sparkles with soft colored lights and jewel-toned ornaments. The wrapped packages beneath it duplicate the richness of the bulbs on the tree – even the bows placed on them gleam silver and gold.

Behind all of the seasonal decor, Reed's love of bold color is softened by wood flooring, ceiling beams and the flowing fabric draperies in the TV room along with modern sculpture and paintings.

"Our art collection has grown over the years," he pointed out. "We pick up pieces we love from local artists. Ron Parks, who creates sculpture and paintings, is one of our favorite artists. Eric Randolph and Alan Cortie, also from Baltimore, have contributed interesting photography to our collection. Some of the art I've created myself. I love to make handcrafted lamps. I've made four lamps so far from various materials like wood, frosted Plexiglas, screen and fabric. "

There is the distinct notion that once all of the holiday decorations are put away, the home will still bask in the softness of artwork, the dynamics of wall color and the motion of several lighted fabric globes swaying in tempo with the owners' movements.

"My home is perfect in every way for me. The house is a good party house, which is very important, and even though it is very modern in style, there is a certain warmth and comfortableness about it." Reed said, adding that the location and neighborhood are also part of the perfection.

"Most importantly, this is my dream home because my mother-in-law lives on the first floor and this allows my partner to be near me a lot more. Before she moved in with us he was traveling to her house on the other side of town every day, several times a day. This kept us apart much of the time. Now we are all together as one happy family."

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