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Former rancher near a river sees the light

The Baltimore Sun

In the Downs community outside Annapolis, a 1980s house that began as a long and dark brick rancher has been transformed into a large, light-filled two-story home surrounded by lush gardens and accompanied by a separate two-car garage.

That's because when Paula and John Gifford bought it eight years ago, they had a different vision for the 110-foot-long house: cathedral ceilings and big windows that would take advantage of the sunlight and serene setting on the peninsula bordered by Brewer and Clements creeks and the Severn River.

The narrow hall that ran through the house is gone. "It was like a tunnel," Paula Gifford said while standing in the kitchen. "You could stand here and bowl." The couple bumped up ceilings and removed walls to create airy spaces that flow together.

The former cedar screen porch is a glass-wrapped room that opens onto a tiered deck.

About the house : The house has three bedrooms, three full baths and one half-bath. Many rooms have oak floors, recessed lighting and ceiling fans.

There is garage parking for four cars, two in the attached garage and two in the new detached garage that features a mechanic's pit and a second-floor room that the Giffords use for storage.

The couple created a center foyer with a high ceiling and a reception area with a wall of windows to welcome guests.

They turned the three bedrooms on one side of the house into a suite with a library and two bedrooms, one with a walk-in closet. Two full bathrooms are there; one features beige marble, the other is done in white tile.

The other side of the house has a family room with a fireplace, an enlarged eat-in kitchen with white-painted wood cabinets and a dining room.

Address: 860 Coachway, Annapolis 21401

Asking price : $1,079,000

Taxes: $8,366, plus $525 annual homeowners association dues, which includes water privileges, tennis courts, clubhouse and more.

Size : The 4,366-square-foot house sits on 1.03 acres.

Features: The master suite is the new upstairs in the enlarged house. The couple wanted the area to have a cozy but spacious, modern look.

The goal was to create "not just a bedroom, but a retreat," Paula Gifford said.

The master bathroom's slipper tub rests by a window with a view of the woods, taking advantage of the setting's privacy, John Gifford said. The room includes a tiled step-in shower with a bench. A dressing room/walk-in closet is lined with built-ins.

Listing agent : Janet Hunt, Long & Foster, Annapolis, 410-263-3400

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