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Down by the riverside

The Baltimore Sun

After living for 15 years in the historic district of Annapolis, Kevin and Theresa Reville decided to pick up stakes and settle along the banks of Rideout Creek, a scenic body of water between the Severn and Magothy rivers in Anne Arundel County.

"I cried for the first six months after we moved here," Theresa Reville said about the February 2004 purchase.

It was not so much buyer's remorse that distressed the 40-year-old real estate agent, even though she and her husband had spent $1.4 million on a property that would require extensive renovation. Nor was it the fact that they would be doing most of the work themselves, since the couple had tackled other renovations.

It was the culture shock that even the view along a lushly landscaped front garden swept down to a 100-foot pier at the water's edge could not assuage.

Theresa Reville missed Annapolis. She longed for the days when she could keep her car parked and walk everywhere, popping into restaurants and galleries on a whim. Here, she felt isolated. And so, to cope, she focused her energy on the circa 1962 split-level home she and her husband referred to as a "notch above a tear-down."

The roof leaked. There was water and termite damage. The sheeting beneath the exterior cedar siding was rotted out.

Clearly, what they had mostly paid for was nearly an acre of land with 150 feet of waterfront.

The Revilles decided to transform the house into a contemporary New England-style cottage, complete with gables and dormers to replace a flat roof.

The couple estimate they spent about $300,000 to put in four new bathrooms, a new kitchen, a new roof, picture windows overlooking the water and a second-floor addition. New oak flooring and drywall were installed, along with hot-water baseboard heating throughout the 3,600-square-foot interior and new fiber cement siding on the exterior.

Kevin Reville, a 39-year-old engineer, elicited the help of friends who shared his passion for architectural reconstruction.

The home's revitalized interior is a picture of relaxed elegance - the open interior decorated in an eclectic mix of furnishings.

Inside a long and narrow entrance hall, an open-tread steel staircase supported by a single center beam appears to float up to a second level awash in light.

Beyond the staircase, the hall opens onto the kitchen, where dark paneling covers the walls three-quarters of the way up, with the top quarter painted light yellow. Cabinets of bubinga meld with countertops of honed black granite. There's also a working brick hearth.

Beyond is the living room, where four floor-to-ceiling windows topped with transoms look out to the water. Microfiber sofas and chairs in red and red/beige prints are grouped around oak tables in conversation-nook fashion.

Outside is a large deck of Brazilian hardwood with nautical-style furniture and a view of the couple's 40-foot sailboat and 36-foot power boat flanking the pier.

The second-level addition includes office space and a family room, while bedrooms occupy the home's original upper level. There the couple's master bedroom features a wall of built-in bookcases and a mahogany sleigh bed in the center of the room.

Theresa Reville still misses Annapolis with its walkable charms and lifestyle, but she is quick to add, "We could not be more blessed."

Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Write to Dream Home, Real Estate Editor, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or e-mail us at real.estate@ baltsun.com. Find our Dream Home archive at baltimoresun.com/dreamhome.

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