Eduardo Cini uses his creative skills daily in his job as a professional hair stylist.
Off the job, the 47-year-old native of Malta employs that innate sense of design and color in his Baltimore County home.
In August 2003 Cini purchased a two-story townhouse at The Beeches, a Towson community of cedar-sided homes complete with neighborhood pool and tennis courts. The setting is almost completely surrounded by woods, and deer roam an area architecturally designed for privacy. No house faces another, either in the front or back. Winding paths from the parking lots weave around landscaped lawns to individual front entrances. Bird song is pleasantly audible; traffic hum from nearby Providence Road and the Beltway is nonexistent.
Cini paid $219,000 for the house, which he said was built in 1977.
"It wasn't my taste," he said matter-of-factly. "But I knew immediately what I had to do."
Vision, he maintains, had a lot to do with it - the same vision that friends and clients call upon when he is often asked to help them out with a decorating problem or project.
"I've always had a sense of style, so people ask me to help out," he said, adding, "I'm a frustrated decorator."
Cini has spent about $65,000 making his vision reality. He's installed rough marble block flooring throughout the first level of the home, put granite countertops in the kitchen, renovated the master bathroom and finished the basement.
And while he has accomplished quite a bit in his 3,000 square feet of living space, he's still not finished.
Contemporary in style, the furnishings Cini has chosen for his home - together with an eclectic collection of original artwork set against a backdrop of deep olive green walls - elicit a soothing, gallery-like feel.
The front entrance hall showcases an open layout straight to the rear of the 45-foot-deep home. The beige marble floor presents a Mediterranean ambience. Here, a mahogany refractory table is topped with objets d'art that include a glass bust by artist Paloma Picasso. An original Erte print hangs on the wall above the table.
Cini's kitchen, immediately off the hall, is painted in a soft shade of taupe, coolly coordinating with oak cabinets and black granite countertops. White appliances provide contrast, as does the wall art which consists of framed, whimsical posters and decorative ceramic dishes and bowls.
At the south side of the entrance hall, a den bears a safari-like design theme, complete with a wall filled with African wood cut landscapes and a kangaroo skin on the floor in front of a settee upholstered in leopard print.
"I know the kangaroo skin offends some of my friends and they won't come into this room," Cini said. "I understand [and] respect that."
A formal living room and dining room occupy the rear of the first level,which has been painted olive green. The dining room features a Scandinavian-modern suite, its table top of icy, frosted glass. A semi-circular glass china closet displays Faberge crystal glassware - a gift from Cini's mother.
Artwork from Cini's world travels grace a living room furnished with a contemporary suite upholstered in white suede. Original paintings, bought at auction in New York, depict Egyptian and classical themes. A zebra skin rug, purchased in Ghana (and which Cini has a license to own) sits on the marble floor in front of a slate fireplace. A series of shadow boxes painted white are artistically assembled on the room's west wall. Each box contains treasures picked up on Cini's travels; they include a colorful porcelain mask from Mexico, ostrich eggs from Ghana and small onyx urns from Egypt.
Cini's finished basement is, he says, "where my friends and I come to let go" - a deco-like retreat with red suede furniture set against walls painted a matte black.
"Your bedroom should always be painted in your favorite color," Cini said, leading the way to his master suite on the home's second level. Here, periwinkle blue walls are as soothing as the lush green landscape that hugs his windows and gives him the feel of "sleeping in a tree house."
The second level also includes a guest room and sitting room.
Surrounded by his artwork and contemporary furnishings, Cini is hard-pressed to name a favorite room in the house.
"They are all my favorites," he said. "I made them to be that way - all with a special meaning for me."