Renee and Don Gorman are prolific collectors of pop art.
They own everything from airbrushed poster portraits, to ceramics, to folksy African-inspired clay masks. There is even a full-size female mannequin in formal wear gracing a corner of their great room.
Fifteen years ago, Don Gorman's father gave the couple a plot of land next door to the house where his son grew up. They decided to build a home of temple-like proportions to adequately display their vast art collection.
Nestled in a Pikesville neighborhood of Colonials, two-story bungalows and ranchers, the Gorman home is decidedly contemporary. Stained white cedar siding envelops the rectangular structure. One enormous multipaned window the height of the house is next to a double-door entrance of etched glass. A 3-foot-diameter ceramic sun sculpture hangs on the shingles to the left of the door as a welcome.
"We wanted open space," Don Gorman says. "It's a very comfortable home because we use every bit of space."
No wall, floor or corner is left bare.
Each piece of art is cataloged in the memories of the couple's many trips to acquire them. A 6-foot resin flying nymph (the work of artist Zachary Oxman) is suspended from the ceiling.
Thirty recessed lights are imbedded in the 22-foot ceiling. In the great room, two more floor-to-ceiling windows meet to form the northeast corner. On the southwest side of the room, an enclosed staircase links the loft area and breaks the cathedral feel. It also provides additional wall space for artwork.
In 1989, Renee Gorman, 59, and Don Gorman, 62, paid builders $160,000 for their modern dream home. The couple, retired owners of the former Puffins Restaurant, subcontracted an additional $75,000 for the kitchen, windows and floors in their 3,300-square-foot space.
"After 15 years, we just got around to [wall] color," Renee Gorman says, laughing.
Crayon-yellow paint adorns the kitchen walls. A large beam hangs over white laminated open cabinets that flank a 3-by-4-foot glass-block window. Large metal sculptures of a sun and moon hang from the beam and look down on a cooking island with more open shelf units.
Perpendicular to the Corian countertops that surround the sink are a refrigerator and double-oven fitted into the wall. Above them sits a 4-by-6-foot resin sculpture, a replica of a pack of Camel cigarettes.
Across the room, along the loft staircase wall, brick-red paint serves as a gallery-like backdrop for the African-inspired molded clay masks that hang in straight and staggered lines.
Along the great room's northeastern side, aluminum stars flank an airbrushed 4-by-6-foot black-and-white publicity still of Marilyn Monroe. Monroe also is present on an adjoining wall, this time in a life-size, neon-enhanced photograph of her famous nude calendar pose. Both look down on a black leather sectional sofa and chair.
The Gormans own a mannequin - they've named it Anna - that wears a red dress and is stationed near the master bedroom. A papier-mache goat sits at her side.
The library area, hidden behind a mirrored column, includes a stereo system and a vast collection of compact discs. Clay pots of varied size and color share floor space with a fabric palm tree of bright green leaves and a zebra-striped trunk. Several occasional tables of distressed wood rest on colorful hooked carpets.
"We were in Mexico for three months in 1995," Don Gorman notes, "and we brought home a 26-foot container of furniture and pottery."
Daughter Lisa Chiodi, married with a family of her own, remembers the few years she spent in the house before moving out.
Being "in that kind of environment has taught me an appreciation for their taste in art," she says. "I've brought their influence into my own home. Half of my house is decorated with pieces they have given me."
The Gormans' first-floor bedroom suite contrasts with the openness and color of the great room. Recessed lighting softly illuminates taupe-colored walls. The king futon mattress is dressed in a black spread. The walls over the bed are adorned with white, three-dimensional plaster face and upper body masks. Many are deliberately broken or cracked. The Gormans hang pieces of their jewelry from these chalky fragments.
Cheetah-print carpeting in cotton and nylon covers the floors while pleated blinds of black silk shield the window and double doors that lead to a sunroom, backyard and pool.
The master bath features two laminate sinks with marquee-style light bulbs above them. The white tiles of a Jacuzzi tub are highlighted against the black vinyl flooring. The double-shower stall and commode area are tucked behind a 10-foot arch.
The loft area encompasses the southern wing of the home and overlooks the great room. Two former bedrooms have been converted into a TV room and an office.
"I keep telling my mom [she] doesn't need anything else," says Lisa Chiodi, "and she keeps saying, 'There's a place for everything.' "
Chiodi doesn't seem to mind, however. "I never leave there empty-handed, whether it's a small vase or an armoire."