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Lots of room to enjoy life in this manufactured home

When John Wallace Jr. chose to buy his manufactured home two years ago, it wasn't the quiet neighborhood or skylights that convinced him.

Wallace's three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was the model for the Middle River community of Biscayne Bay Village where the surrounding homes had many of the same features.

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But Wallace, 59, says it stood out from the others in one big way - its space.

"The open floor plan is what sold me," he says.

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Wallace certainly knows that the term "spacious" often is not associated with manufactured homes. The homes often are built in factories and assembled in a day or two at a housing park.

Wallace lived for 33 years in a smaller manufactured home in Dundalk while he was an employee with Bethlehem Steel.

After retiring in 1997, Wallace and his stepfather, Ken Davis, moved into a condominium in Joppatowne but they missed the privacy of a single home.

Wallace wanted to return to a manufactured home because of what he calls the comfort and affordability.

He paid $70,000 for the Biscayne Bay Village model in 2001.

Wallace's brother, Charles Davis, visits often and said he is surprised at the size of the house and that the living room, family room, kitchen and dining room open into one another.

"The way everything's set up and all, that's nice," Davis says.

The house is decorated in a mostly traditional style with a color scheme of emerald green, rose and floral patterns that are found on furniture, walls and window dressings. Real and artificial flowers are in nearly every room.

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Located inside the front door, the living room features two emerald-green armchairs and a floral-patterned sofa. Beige carpeting is throughout the house. At the center of the room is a gold-swirled marble-top table, the same color as the wallpaper. Wallace says it wasn't until he moved in that he noticed the gold in the paper.

A recessed family room sits to the right of the living room. Wallace says a new entertainment system and the organ by the front window make it his favorite part of the house. He learned to play the organ about 25 years ago and now performs a few times a month for relaxation. The fish tank in the corner also makes the room a favorite for visiting nieces and nephews.

The family room connects to the kitchen where a fluorescent ceiling light and two skylights illuminate the room, which has honey-oak cabinets and a white linoleum floor.

A built-in spice rack and flower vases above the cabinets give added character to what Wallace calls his "country kitchen."

The connecting dining room is more formally decorated than the kitchen and features a dark mahogany dining set and china cabinet.

An antique radio sits along one wall and a grandfather clock, a 1924 gift to Wallace's grandmother, rests in the corner.

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Together, the four rooms cover a large portion of the 1,600-square-foot home.

Without dividing walls between the rooms, light pours in through windows at the front, back and side of the house.

Well-stocked candy dishes are throughout the rooms as a welcoming touch for company.

Down the hall from the main living room are Davis' bedroom, a guest bathroom and a utility room. Wallace has converted the guest bedroom into an office.

The master bedroom sits partially hidden at the far end of the hallway. An attached master bathroom boasts a sunken tub and separate shower that Wallace says never fails to impress visitors.

"People always tell me this is a great party house," he says. "I say, 'Start bringing the party supplies.'"


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