Retreat in natural setting

The Baltimore Sun

There's nothing like a relaxing weekend retreat to a mountain lodge, especially if you don't have to leave home to get there.

Nestled in a hillside in rural Carroll County, this American Craftsman-inspired house strikes a delicate balance between warmth and elegance. It features grand views of Beaver Run as well as wooded acres full of oak, maple, hickory and cherry trees.

"I built the home with the property and the water as the focal point," says owner Bob Pierson. "I wanted you to be able to enjoy the view from nearly every room in the house."

Pierson, a custom homebuilder, designed and built the house and lives there with his family. He chose and installed all of the house's unique finishes and features, such as the large stone mosaic pattern in the area that connects the kitchen, breakfast area, family room and dining room. The planks for the cherry hardwood floors in the house were cut from trees previously planted on the property. Even the large boulders that serve as a small seating area in front of the club room's fireplace were excavated from the property when the house's foundation was laid.

But even with so many personalized features, Pierson is set on trying to match his creativity when he builds his next house.

"Some like leasing a new car every two years because they like that new car smell," says Pierson. "For me, I like the new house smell."

About the house --Built in 2006, the house has a stone, brick and shake siding exterior. There are five covered porches, one of which has its own outdoor fireplace. A stone retaining wall connects the house with the three-car garage. Inside, the foyer branches out to the workout room, downstairs into the clubroom or up a flight of travertine steps into the main living area.

The main level has 12-foot ceilings and is brightly lit by natural light from the many oversized windows. The kitchen, breakfast nook and dining room have stone tile floors, while the family room has cherry hardwood floors.

The dining room is separated by large arches and cherry wood columns and has recessed lighting, with each light separated by crown molding-lined indents.

At the rear of the family room, two stone steps lead to a custom-built masonry fireplace with a multitone, natural stone backdrop.

A stairwell (with cherry wood steps and handrails) at the end of the family room leads to the second-floor bedrooms, the study and its own third-floor observation area.

Address --1820 Valhalla Road, Finksburg 21048.

Asking price --$1,649,222

Taxes --$18,999

Size --The 8,500-square-foot house, on three acres, has five bedrooms (including a master suite), three full bathrooms and two half bathrooms.

Features --The kitchen has granite countertops, custom cherry cabinets, a wine cooler and a center island that serves as both a cooking station and a breakfast bar. There are five fireplaces throughout the house, including one in the clubroom, which has brick walls, stone tile and a full wet bar complete with an ice-cream parlor. There is also a home theater area with a 108-inch projector.

The master bathroom has travertine tile, concrete countertops, a Jacuzzi tub and a 10-nozzle shower. The workout room has an indoor pool with an adjustable water current, allowing the user to swim in place.

Listing agent --Heidi Krauss, Krauss Real Property Brokerage, Hunt Valley, 410-329-9898.

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