Raymond and Rosemary Waldron's Perry Hall house contained a lifetime of memories, a mental scrapbook of first steps and holiday celebrations and hours spent in a backyard playhouse - the hallmarks of their family history.
But nostalgia was shoved aside when their only child left home for college seven years ago. The Waldrons wanted to downsize from their four-bedroom split-foyer home where they lived for 23 years. They dreaded another season of maintaining the lawn on their one-third-acre lot, cutting the grass in the stifling summer heat, raking the leaves dumped by their 54 trees come fall.
They've found exactly what they envisioned at the Windsor at Perry Hall Farms development: a 1,658-square-foot condominium that showcases a cosmopolitan decorative touch far removed from the traditional colors and furnishings at their old home.
The Waldrons say they've been rejuvenated by condominium life, holding parties in their 16-unit building and getting to know their neighbors.
"I'm not a handyman, fixer-upper type," said Dr. Raymond Waldron, 68, a dentist with a practice in the city. "[Living here] is total freedom."
"It was time for a lifestyle change," added Rosemary Waldron, 56, who works with her husband as a receptionist.
When construction is complete - builder Ryan Homes hopes it will be finished in the middle of next year - Windsor at Perry Hall Farms will hold 23 buildings and 368 condominiums, selling from $170,000 to $183,000.
The Waldrons paid $158,900 for one of the first units and spent another $40,000 furnishing and decorating the one-bedroom condominium. They pay $125 a month in building maintenance and landscaping fees.
More than 200 units have been sold since the development opened in November 2001, according to Sam Nucci, sales and marketing representative.
Nucci said buyers are attracted by staples of condo life - secure entrances, paved walking paths, plenty of green space - along with the neighborhood's amenities. The development is a seven-minute drive from White Marsh Town Center and close to Interstate 95.
Those qualities certainly attracted the Waldrons. Their work commute only increased two miles. They see new movies every week at the town center. Raymond Waldron's gym is close by, as is their church.
But the rejuvenation they describe is most readily apparent inside their new home (they moved in last August).
Rosemary Waldron and designer Sharon Imwold created an elegant, sumptuous look, with cocoa walls and lots of taupes, golds and silvers accentuating a light, airy feel. Out went the dark cherry furniture and traditional curtains; in are window treatments featuring textured cornices with swag drapes, Louis XIV chairs and a flat-panel television.
"It should say cosmopolitan but very inviting," said Imwold of The Decorating Studio Inc. in Baltimore. "You could walk in and still feel comfortable, but also feel like you stepped up" in elegance.
Sand-engraved wall coverings are featured in the foyer and throughout the home, with swirl textures that, rather than jump off the wall, blend in with the cathedral ceilings and add to the easy flow Rosemary Waldron wanted to create.
Just off the foyer is what in most of the units is the second bedroom. The Waldrons and Imwold had builders construct a study. Rosemary Waldron's desk, with cabinets on both sides and along the ceiling, is on one wall where the closet would have been. Raymond Waldron's desk and cabinets extend the length of the far wall.
With an eye on creating what they call "getaway areas" in the one-level living space, the Waldrons customized what in other units is the dining room, turning it into what they refer to as the "conversation area."
This room borders the living room, bathed in sunlight from the window in front of the balcony. An angled sofa incorporates the gas fireplace, while two curio cabinets with mirrored back panels bounce more light throughout the room.
A dining area is just off the kitchen, as is a sun room.
The bedroom's decor was inspired by an ornately carved, cream-colored armoire Rosemary Waldron saw in a catalog. Imwold found a bedroom set that matched the armoire and tailored the room's look around the piece. A deeper taupe colors the walls. The master bathroom has his-and-her sinks and the ceramic tile flooring found in the foyer and kitchen.
And daughter Rachel, who lives in Washington after graduating from George Washington University, still has a home away from home: The study holds a new sofa with a queen-size pullout bed.
Rosemary Waldron said she welcomes her new home's escape from the drudgery of maintaining a single-family house.
"I just want to sit in my house and enjoy the beauty of the inside of the house," she said.