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Columbia wonderland

The Baltimore Sun

Many of Judy Templeton's friends call her Columbia townhouse "the whimsical wonderland." She is pleased with the compliment.

"This is my little-girl playhouse," said the holistic health counselor who also teaches musical theater and dance. "My home is an amalgam of everything that makes me happy."

Ironically, the year in which it was planned followed one of the most difficult periods of her life.

Templeton's husband died unexpectedly while out of town on a golfing trip. That was almost three years ago. At the time, the couple shared a villa-style townhouse on a golf course in Howard County.

"For financial and logistical reasons, I decided the home was simply too large for me, and was too much of a day-to-day reminder of my loss," she remembered, adding that the house sold in one hour.

From September 2004 to March 2005, Templeton lived with very good friends in the Columbia neighborhood of College Square. When a townhouse a few doors down went on the market, she bought it.

Templeton paid $315,000 for the three-story, brick and vinyl-sided townhouse that was built in 1988. With many initial upgrades, such as a 12-by-25-foot deck, it was, she said, in "incredible shape."

"This house was 100 percent testosterone," she said, laughing, "a real 'guy' house, with a pool table and gym equipment in the living room."

Explaining that she wasn't into "fix-up," just "jazz-up," Templeton paid $3,000 to have the entire house painted. Much of the furniture she retained from her former home and life. The next few months, she was surrounded by paint samples from the local hardware store, daydreaming and planning colors and patterns.

Templeton's 2,600-square-foot house is most delightfully identified by dozens of colorfully patterned throw pillows, whimsical accessories placed on furniture, or hanging from ceilings, and walls painted her favorite shades of deep purple, lime green, bright aqua, vivid pink and buttercup yellow.

The kitchen, one of her favorite rooms, occupies the entire rear of the 35-foot-deep house. Cream-colored appliances and laminate cabinets are offset by walls painted apple green and aqua. Green and purple plush chairs surround a glass-topped round table, and striped throw rugs incorporate all of the room's colors.

By contrast, the open living and dining rooms are painted deep purple with a soft white tulle fabric at the windows. A mirror-front buffet reflects the all-Plexiglas dining room table and chairs, as well as several hanging crystals that cast prisms of light on the walls and white carpeting.

Standouts in Templeton's living room include a day bed of white damask fabric and a matching camelback, boudoir sofa, both sheathed with satin pillows and tasseled, fabric throws. A glass curio cabinet, almost floor to ceiling in height, shelters purple and green stemware and glass vases on its multiple glass shelves.

Three upstairs bedrooms are as uniquely different as roses, daisies and lilies.

Templeton's master bedroom is painted deep aqua with a king-size bed cloaked in a purple satin and damask spread. Painted, porcelain masks adorn the walls, and a shadow box holds a collection of miniature high-heeled shoes and slippers.

Templeton refers to her master bath as "the Mermaid Room." Its aqua walls and lighted dressing-room mirror are covered with hanging and bouncing mermaids.

"I call my office the Fairy Room," she said, flipping a wall switch that activates a ceiling fan. More than 20 fairy dolls hanging from the ceiling frolic in the light breeze.

A guest room, painted bright yellow with a multicolored quilt on the bed, is filled with framed posters by the inspirational artist Sark.

Inspirational, too, is Templeton's party room on the ground floor of the house. Here, a furniture suite of light green leather dominates a room painted soft purple. Glass shelves on the walls display more colored vases, while a corner bar top is lined with wine and martini glasses and colorful bar napkins inscribed, "My castle, my rules."

With her colorful walls, flying fairies, and satin pillows, Judy Templeton has exactly what she envisioned.

"I wanted a house where I could wake up every morning happy, and where I couldn't possibly be sad," she said.

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