Aaron Maybin's home-field advantage

You might say that Aaron Maybin is on top of the world. Indeed, from the lofty perch of his new condo at the Inner Harbor, the 22-year-old NFL player has a panoramic view of the city he calls home.

"Oh man, I love it," said Maybin, a linebacker for the Buffalo Bills who was born in Baltimore and went to school in Ellicott City. "To live downtown, to wake up and look out at the harbor, it's incredible."

Maybin, a standout at Mt. Hebron High School and an All American at Penn State University, was selected as the NFL's 11th overall draft pick in 2009. That same year, he signed a five-year contract reportedly worth as much as $25 million.

"I'm living my childhood dream," said Maybin, one of four siblings. "It's a blessing. … One of the first things I did was purchase a house for my parents down South."

Eager to find his own spot, Maybin and his management team began scouting properties last year. He ultimately decided on a two-bedroom, 21/2-bath unit in a luxury high-rise along the city's waterfront.

While Maybin spends the football season in upstate New York, he returns here during the off-season and whenever his schedule allows. This weekend he'll be in town and suited up with the Bills as they take on the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

"Baltimore is home to me," said Maybin, who began playing football at age 5 in Pee Wee leagues. "It's great being downtown. I can pretty much walk everywhere."

As excited as Maybin was to purchase his first home, the condo needed work to update its bones and give it some panache.

Enter Susan W. Brown, who heads Spaces Design Center in State College, Pa. with clients that include boutique hotel chains and celebrity homes.

"Aaron loves relaxed modern comfort," said Brown, who helped transform the space into a contemporary bachelor pad. "He's spent time in Miami and has a fondness for the modern styling you often see in many of the luxury hotels in that area. I honed in on that."

The vibe is youthful, hip, and sexy. Practically everything is new: furnishings, paint and wall finishes, window treatments, flooring, lighting and plumbing fixtures. Even the rooftop deck and garden got a makeover, with chic outdoor furniture and landscaping that Maybin describes as "very zen."

The condo's primary color palette melds black, gray, scarlet and white — the latter shades a nod to Maybin's college fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. Pillows and other accessories in glittery silver and bright hues provide visual pops.

The entrance foyer strikes a dramatic tone, with a gleaming glass and chrome table, two Roman Estate-style lion statues in glossy black — Maybin collects lions — and delicate bronze sculptures of male and female angels.

In the combination great room and dining area, all types of seating and shiny tables are casually grouped for conversation. There's also a sleek brushed stainless steel fireplace. Several rooms, including the master bath and guest bedroom, boast floor-to-ceiling windows that offer skyline views and flood the space with natural light.

Brown custom-designed several pieces to meet Maybin's needs: cabinetry to hold his cherished movie and music collection, and a custom headboard and king-size platform bed in the master bedroom to accommodate his 6-foot-4, nearly 250-pound frame.

It was also important to Maybin that art figure prominently in his home, since he's an artist. His charitable fund, Project Mayhem, promotes art education among inner-city youth.

"Aaron is a wonderful artist, and some of his most relaxed and cherished time is spent drawing and painting," said Brown. "So we took one of the rooms and converted it to a working studio overlooking the glorious Inner Harbor."

Equipped with easels, stools, and a funky leather geometric rug, the cozy studio also has floating shelves that display Maybin's football paraphernalia and awards.

Although the home is perfect for entertaining, Maybin says wild parties are out — "I don't want people messing things up," he chuckles. But he does look forward to gatherings with relatives and other special people in his life.

"When I first walked in and saw everything, my eyes were wide. It looked great. I'm home."