The decorations and furnishings fill Nancy Carter's new old home in Reisterstown with a holiday spirit and a comforting sense of the past.
A native of Glyndon who was raised in Reisterstown, Carter had lived for 10 years in Westminster before she bought the house in July. After a 1995 divorce and the death of her mother in April, she found herself longing to return and to be closer to other family members.
It "felt like home when I walked in," she said of the "friendly" two-story, 1920s-vintage house, which has white vinyl clapboard siding and black shutters, a wrap-around front porch and a back porch overlooking a parking area and a garage used for storage.
"I used to sleigh ride down New Avenue," she said, pointing to a nearby street.
A sales associate in Westminster for Macks and Macks, a firm of real estate developers, she paid $92,500 for the house, which had been remodeled by the previous owner.
She said she had wanted a house with a front porch, a picket fence and room for flower gardens. The picket fence was added to the side yard with the help of friends, and there is ample room for flower gardens around the house on the 50-by-165-foot lot.
She hopes eventually to turn the garage into a potting shed, plant a rose garden and build a brick patio.
Carter, 49, maintains a Victorian and nostalgic atmosphere inside the house with the furnishings -- including items from her family and from her own childhood.
A decoratively carved walnut coffee table in the living room was purchased at an antique shop in Carroll County and was probably originally the base for a mirrored hallway hat stand.
Her parents' round oak dining room table is in the dining room, and a fancy, refinished wash stand that belonged to her great-grandparents helps to turn a mudroom at the back door into a formal entryway to the house, convenient to the parking area.
A clothes pole built into the wall over the wash stand has been used to hang dried flowers.
The walls throughout are a light tan or off-white and the woodwork is white.
The front hall and the master bedroom both have painted wood paneling.
At the end of a second-floor hall is what appears to be another wash stand, but is really her mother's cabinet sewing machine with an antique bowl and pitcher sitting on it.
On the dresser in the guest room are some remembrances of her childhood -- a toy china closet that her parents gave to her, and a crocheted doll blanket made by her mother. Her old stuffed tiger lies on the bed.
A third bedroom was converted into a bathroom by a former owner, and the small former bathroom is now a storage room.
The mother of three grown children -- two daughters and a son -- Carter said she plans early next year to finish part of the basement as two rooms, one for her son who is in the Navy, and the other as a workshop for her.
"I'm a late bloomer," she said, explaining that she was interested in crafts and wanted to start woodworking and painting.
For the holidays, Carter had four Christmas trees -- including a natural tree in the living room and an artificial one with homemade Victorian decorations of lace and ribbon and other cloth in the dining room. Both nearly touch the eight-foot ceilings.
The dining room tree was topped by an angel that her parents had used when she was a child, and crystals from an old chandelier hung from its branches as icicles.
There were small trees with Victorian decorations in the master bedroom and the bathroom.
A framed clipping of a 1939 newspaper reproduction of "The Night Before Christmas" was hung for the season over a false mantel that friends had installed for her in the dining room; a pine garland with pink paper roses hung from the banister on the stairs to the second floor; and other decorations sat on tables and shelves.
Pub Date: 12/29/96