Shirley and Edward Ey shocked friends and relatives last year when they chucked country living and moved to Baltimore.
They sold their spacious, custom-built stone home in Jarrettsville and bought an 85-by-14-foot, pre-1860 brick rowhouse in Fells Point.
"Relatives and friends thought we were crazy," said Mr. Ey, 59, a project designer for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.
But the Eys preached one word to the naysayers: convenience. Their three-story, $110,000 home is small and comfortable, and they can walk to just about everything: restaurants in Fells Point and Little Italy, even baseball games at Camden Yards.
"I've got everything I need here," said Mrs. Ey, 56, a retired bookkeeper for a professional pharmacy. "We're walkers, and there's always something going on."
"It's an ideal place to retire," Mr. Ey said. "To go to the 7-Eleven store at our Jarrettsville home, I had to jump in the car and drive two miles. Now I can walk."
They became smitten with the city after helping their son, Craig, renovate a home in Fells Point two years ago.
"We would never have come into this area except for our son," Mrs. Ey said. "We fell in love with walking to restaurants and everybody saying, 'Hi, how are you?' "
They searched for nine months before finding the right home on a tree-lined street. Their two-bedroom, two-bath home satisfies all of their needs. It has an eat-in kitchen, two sets of wide stairs, a large basement for Mr. Ey's woodworking, a family room and side windows, thanks to a breezeway that separates their house from their neighbor's.
"I love the side windows," Mrs. Ey said. "I couldn't stand that closed-in feeling, especially after living in the country."
But the home's uniqueness is what finally sold the Eys. The previous owner had torn out the interior and renovated the house, exposing brick walls and wooden beams and creating a loft.
He changed the wall texture and ceiling height to separate the kitchen from the breakfast nook. The kitchen has an 8-foot ceiling and white walls; the breakfast nook, a 20-foot ceiling and brick walls.
The family room overlooks the breakfast nook and is connected to the first floor by one of the home's two staircases. The other is in the living room and leads to the second and third floors.
The laundry room, master bathroom and master bedroom also are on the second floor. The master bedroom has one of two nonworking fireplaces. The other is in the living room. Both have decorative black and brown marble mantels.
The guest bedroom is on the third floor, but it also serves as Mrs. Ey's sewing and crafts room. The Eys make crafts for themselves, family and friends. It's a joint effort. Mr. Ey creates the wooden pieces, such as hearts and figures; Mrs. Ey adds the finishing touches with paint, clothing and bows.
Other examples of country abound, such as a hanging quilt in the family room, a large twig wreath with silk and dried flowers over the back door and a heart border in the kitchen.
"We've brought a touch of country to the city," Mrs. Ey said.