Paradise found' in Perry Hall

Nestled atop a pale white-washed door in the master bedroom of Tammy and Matt Edwards' Perry Hall home is a plaque that reads: "Paradise Found."

A sun-beaten straw hat sits on top of a pine bed with four posts, while the beige walls conjure scenes of a sandy seashore. That's where the couple went on their first date 14 years ago at a high school "beach week" in Ocean City.


Their home reflects much of the charm of that memorable getaway, from the open flow of the wrap-around halls and arching entrances to the bottled seashells and a weathered-metal stairway sconce.

The master bedroom's walls are sprinkled with tropical remembrances, drawings of the Atlantic coastline mingled with palm tree prints splashing the walls.


Twin columns, bay windows and stone lions straddle the entrance to the colonial. The back yard boasts herb and perennial gardens and a 25-by-15-foot deck shaded by trees.

"As soon as I saw the outside, I fell in love," says Tammy Edwards, acknowledging that the first time she entered the cranberry-colored oak door she was in tears. "I didn't even have to go past the foyer to know that this was the one."

The couple had been searching for months, according to their real estate agent, Lana Ophardt.

"The hardest part is that they wanted a house with 1950s character and charm, and yet didn't want to sacrifice updated countertops and flooring," she says. "This one proved to be the best of both worlds."

The 48-year-old home was the first one built on Pinedale Street. Yet, renovations made after a kitchen fire four years ago have kept the house one of the most modern on the block.

And while the Edwardses value the contemporary electrical fixtures and cabinets throughout the house, they chat excitedly about some of its old-fashioned facilities, such as a three-story laundry chute.

They were not the only people interested in buying the home. After all, it had three bedrooms, three baths, a finished basement and a storage attic.

After a bidding war with four other families, the couple paid $16,000 more than the original $225,000 asking price last summer.


"It was a great investment," Matt Edwards says. "The timing was just right, because with today's market, it would have been priced over $325,000."

Hues of lush creams, caramels, tans and gold fill the home, built in 1956 by a doctor, also named Edwards.

When the couple and their 3-year-old daughter, Sophia, moved in last August, the previous owners presented them with the home's original blueprints. These now hang in the dining room in a wood frame that blends with the burgundy, blue and white paisley wallpaper.

Tammy Edwards is fond of picking up "fun ornamental furniture pieces," as the dining room's Oriental cabinet and ornate mirrors show. Antique lamps and candleholders light the living room, accenting the subtle floral couch and soft-green armoire.

Every so often, Tammy Edwards, a 32-year-old Fila executive assistant, and neighbor Sharon Allan engage in a friendly furniture swap, eyeing each other's bargain antiques over informal kitchen chats.

"I think it's the prettiest house on the block," Allan says. "I absolutely love it."


While every room has a different setting and mood, from the art deco layout of the first-floor powder room to the periwinkle-wallpaper that provides a "girly girl" tone to Sophia's room, Tammy Edwards describes the overall atmosphere as "a mix of old and new."

This holds true for the basement as well, which is where Matt Edwards' decorating skills shine. One wall is lined with 1960s and 1970s games and gadgets, ranging from ET lunchboxes to Star Trek accessories, while another boasts sports jerseys of Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa, Ravens defensive star Peter Boulware and Troy Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

Aside from his United Parcel Service work, Matt Edwards is a professed toy collector and sports fanatic. He spent months crafting a cube of glass shelves that display some of his most prized possessions: the Evel Knievel Funny Car and Hall of Justice playset that includes action figures.

And the autographed helmet of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis his wife gave him for Christmas is displayed in its own case next to a coin-operated video game - a 1988 model of "Bad Dudes vs. the Dragon Ninjas," where the objective is to help save President Ronald Reagan.

"We decided that he gets the toys and I get the shoes," Tammy Edwards says jokingly.

The basement's red sectional couch shares floor space with a large-screen television and drum set that Matt Edwards hopes to use in a heavy metal band someday. Tammy Edwards is thankful that the windows are sound-proof since she loves to spend time in the modern country-themed kitchen directly above.


The family's favorite alcove is a screened-in porch, the only one in the neighborhood. The Edwardses enjoy sitting out there sipping coffee on weekend mornings and eating dinner after unwinding from work.

They especially enjoy watching cars and joggers slow down to take in not only the blooming magnolia trees, peonies and lilies, but also the man-made beauty of their home.