Thirty-five years into their marriage, Stan and Linda Antoszewski have come full circle, in their first - and forever - home.
"We've gone through stages here," Stan Antoszewski said of their 1,488-square-foot rowhouse in Dundalk. "When we first moved from a one-bedroom apartment, this place seemed like the Taj Mahal."
The couple purchased the 16-foot-wide, two-story brick home in September 1973 for $21,000. Built in 1960 in the Gray Haven community of eastern Baltimore County, it featured a finished basement with a full second bathroom.
The first level consisted of a sunken living room, along with an open dining room and kitchen area. Upstairs, three bedrooms and a bathroom offered space to grow.
Soon after the move, the couple had a son and then a daughter, both now grown. But the family began to feel a bit crowded during the growing up years.
Linda Antozewski remembers moving their son's bedroom to the paneled basement and using his room upstairs for a family area.
Mother and daughter shared the upstairs bathroom, while father and son took over the basement bathroom.
But the area suited the Antoszewski family. Both children walked across the street to their elementary school and around the corner to middle school. Grocery and convenience stores, as well as other services, were a stone's throw away on Wise Avenue, a main Dundalk thoroughfare.
Stan Antoszewski had, as he does to this day, a 30-minute commute to his job at the Social Security Administration's Woodlawn headquarters; his wife stayed at home with the children.
Over the years, the Antoszewskis estimate they've spent almost $42,000 on upkeep and upgrades, replacing the roof and windows twice, adding new carpeting, air conditioning and heating, remodeling the basement and kitchen, and putting up a carport.
As the couple approaches a 35th anniversary in the rowhouse they paid off long ago, it has once again become the spacious palace they moved into as newlyweds.
"This is the time when the two of us get to know each other all over again," Linda Antoszewski said. "We go and do as we please [and] we get to decorate the way we want."
Linda Antoszewski has chosen a country decor that complements oak dining room furniture. Treasured antiques, like her great-grandmother's sewing machine, share floor space with curio cabinets displaying vintage glassware and a 1953 child's Singer sewing machine - a Christmas gift from her husband.
The overstuffed, pub-style living room furniture is upholstered in cranberry red microfiber that pleasingly offsets checked draperies of red and cream color.
Red Z-Brick along one wall pulls together the three rooms and coordinates with the red brick kitchen linoleum. Walnut kitchen cabinets are lined underneath with tube lighting for a soft evening glow.
The staircase to the second level is adorned with framed photography, mostly Stan Antoszewski's work. The subject matter of the pictures ranges from landscapes to statuary and interesting architecture.
The children's bedrooms have been turned into guest rooms, each brightly painted and with country themes. The master bedroom, painted light butterscotch, features a king-size bed dressed in embroidered linens.
The club basement, returned once again to a family room, is a favorite space for the couple.
"I sit down here, wrap up in my quilt and watch TV," said Linda Antoszewski.
The room's Early American decor includes cabinets for Stan Antoszewski's model car collection and a wall of family portraits.
With no intention of moving, the couple still delights in their little rowhouse.
"It's taken a while, but I've finally gotten it to where I want it," Linda Antoszewski said.
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