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From a street-level view of the Snider home, with its brick front and three gables jutting from a deeply pitched roof, a first impression could easily be that of a cozy little cottage. Indeed, the 40-foot-wide home suggests compact living with all the trappings of charm.

The wow factor strikes at the front door with an open interior layout extending 70 feet deep to the back of the home. Dava Snider remarks how deceiving the home is from the outside.

"And all the houses are meant to have an individual feel," she said of her two-story home with basement walk-out in the Residences at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace.

The Harford County home has a welcoming feel, warm and bright from three shades of light olive paint on the walls to contrast with wood flooring, cherry cabinets in the kitchen and neutral but textural furniture.

Dava Snider and her husband, Bill, a surgical supplies salesman, moved into the Bulle Rock community three years ago for, among other things, what she refers to as her husband's "painless commute to Baltimore." They chose their home's particular layout from several models offered.

During construction, the Sniders requested additional touches of their own. They upgraded the staircase to the second level, opening it up to the oak flooring they had installed on the main level. They chose granite counters in the kitchen, along with upgraded appliances and a bump out at the rear of the home for a comfortable sunroom. They also added a 40-foot-wide deck, making the house appear even longer. Finally, they chose a finished basement for their two children to play in and for ample storage space in blocked-off areas.

In a four-bedroom home with such an open layout, Dava Snider has defined various living areas with subtle variations in paint color as well as placement of carpets and furniture groupings. For example, in the family room, she let the fireplace on the back wall to dictate design by placing a leather sofa perpendicular to it and having an entertainment unit on the opposite wall.

The home has a feature that appealed to the couple instantly. Two of the home's four bedrooms are on the first floor off the entrance foyer. One large master suite and a second room for an office make first-floor living complete for the couple. The open second level features two bedrooms with adjoining bathroom and a small reading room for the children.

In their three years at Bulle Rock, not only has the Snider family grown into their house quite comfortably, but also into the neighborhood, where friends meet socially and people gather at the community clubhouse and restaurant.

"We love it so much here," Dava Snider said. "We don't plan on leaving."

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Making a dream home

Dream element:: The Snider home is in Harford County in the Residences of Bulle Rock, a complex of new single-family homes, villa-style townhouses and condominiums. The development is on rolling terrain with a view out to the Chesapeake Bay. The Snider family enjoys the community amenities that include a residents club, swimming pool, restaurant, walking trails and a golf course. Dava Snider particularly appreciates the myriad children's activities as well as the school bus stop close to their contemporary-style home.

Design inspiration:: Given the fresh and innovative design of the two-story home, Dava Snider has chosen a decor that she considers eclectic with a nod to contemporary casual. A former graphic designer whose job it was to put together room layouts for advertising purposes, she said she loves natural fibers, textures and different patterns. A striking example is found in her formal living room where rattan side chairs complement a beige suede upholstered sofa and beige silk draperies adorn the windows. Where furniture is concerned, Dava Snider prefers neutral colors, noting that "they are safe." When she wants a different look, she introduces brightly colored textiles, such as red pillows for accent pieces.

Personal touch:: Dava Snider's footprint is found throughout the home in accent pieces - many carrying a particular memory. "We try to buy something from [each of] our anniversary trips," she said, pointing out a framed print of Cecil County and a metal relief of a horse hanging in the front Palladian window. Other touches reflect her sense of color and style. All of the walls on the first level are painted various shades from the same palette of yellow/green. A trio of Buddhas occupying a niche sits in the front hall and a brass telescope stands at a family room window focusing on the vegetation and view behind the house.

Surprise element:: Behind what appears to be a large closet door in the upstairs open hallway, Dava Snider has created a reading room for her son and daughter, 7-year-old Gavin and 5-year-old Peyton. Looking much like a classroom nook, there are framed children's pictures on the walls and a bookcase filled with children's books with a globe on top.

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