When Ken and Debbie Provenson bought their home in Glen Burnie's Rippling Estates development, their neighbors were excited to see the long-neglected house take on new life.
"The house was totally uninhabitable," said Ken Provenson of the ranch-style house they purchased in 2001. "Everything in this house, except the roof and siding, has been redone."
Despite the house's condition, the couple loved the neighborhood - a quiet, family-oriented enclave about a mile from Crain Highway where people were close and friendly, and many houses, including their own, abutted wooded acreage. They paid what they thought was a good price of $113,000 for the repossessed home, and Ken Provenson, a contractor in new-home construction, got to work. It would take a month before he could move his wife and daughter in, since windows were knocked out, there was no heat or air conditioning, and finally, no kitchen.
With a bank loan of $32,000, the couple put in a new kitchen, new bathroom, drywall, new doors and windows, flooring, trim, electric and plumbing, and a multi-tiered, outdoor deck and retaining walls.
"Don't forget the blood, sweat and tears," said Debbie Provenson, "and the fighting."
Now, there are only sighs of relief and pride in a job well done.
The 2,400-square-foot house faces east onto a wide street. The property drops in the back, allowing for a walk-out lower level, and sliding doors to a patio with a double deck above it. Steps lead to the lower of the two decks where the couple's children, Cynthia, 9 1/2 , and Kyle, 2 1/2 , can jump into an above-ground pool. Beyond the retaining wall, a fenced-in yard sports a trampoline and wooden play equipment.
The family works and plays in the lower level where four large rooms are furnished for recreation. A movie room, for example, features two large leather sofas, one at floor level and one on a riser. The pub-style sofas, with a projection booth built-in behind them, face a wide screen that is pulled down from the ceiling on the opposite side of the room for theater-like viewing. When the screen retracts into the ceiling, an entire wall unit is revealed, exhibiting hundreds of DVDs.
A game room with poker table and pinball machines, an office with a large aquarium, and what Debbie Provenson, a stay-at-home mom, calls a "bonus room" with fireplace and comfy chairs complete the comfortable lower-level living.
From street level, the front door opens into the living room, distinctive with two walls painted a rich shade of maroon, a pleasing contrast to the almond of the other two walls and in the dining room. In a bay window, a ceiling-high Christmas tree is loaded with white lights and ornaments, many needle-worked and monogrammed.
The walls of the living room and the hallway are adorned with framed family photographs and needlework.
An 8-foot-long, glass-topped table and six high-backed chairs, upholstered in cream damask, dominate the dining room. Wallpaper below a chair rail has a brownish, marble-like pattern with veins that match the almond walls above. Beyond the dining room, a galley-style kitchen features honey oak cabinets, black appliances and green marble laminate countertops.
Three bedrooms and a bathroom sit off the hallway. Ken Provenson created a tray ceiling in the master bedroom by placing low voltage lighting into 6-inch crown molding dropped from the ceiling and extending it around the room's periphery.
Always thinking of new projects to enhance their home, the couple insists on their own personal stamp.
"When you walk in the front door, you can tell the house is ours," Debbie Provenson said.
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