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What's Up Magazine

Masterpiece in Davidsonville

Mar 26, 2014 03:08PM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Lurdes Abruscato // Photography by Steve Buchanan

Color schemes, fabric choices, and building materials may come and go with passing seasons, but there’s one housing trend that’s here to stay: the emergence of the family-focused layout, with ample features targeting the varied needs of today’s households.

When Jackie and Johnny LoRe were in the planning stages of building a new home in Anne Arundel County, they knew they wanted some popular elements, from a large kitchen to a screened-in porch. But it’s the not-so-typical fun and family-friendly components—like a dance studio and an office/art room—that topped their wish lists and make this residence a million dollar masterpiece.

Before Breaking Ground

Set on having a residence in Davidsonville with “lots of space,” the family had searched sporadically before enlisting the help of a local realtor who, in turn, put them in touch with a Davidsonville builder specializing in design/build home construction. Thus began a nearly two-year process, including finding the right plot of land (a level enough parcel for the pool they intended to install); sifting through dozens of home plans and modifying a favorite to accommodate their needs; and undergoing the construction phase (a 10-month process). “The three parties spent a lot of time designing, looking at lots, and discussing changes to plans,” says the realtor.

The end result is a nearly 10,000-square-foot, brick-and-stone contemporary colonial on more than five acres of land. That there were no obstacles or delays during the home’s construction is impressive; that the three parties remain good friends today is even more so.

Defining Family-Functional Design

All along, the missive remained consistent: create a home committed to the entire family’s needs. Jackie and Johnny own their own first aid and safety supplies business, and Jackie recently opened a dance supply store in Crofton. Their daughters, Marina, 12, and Rhiana, 8, both dance competitively. So all needed a home base where they could equally work and play, relax and recharge. “We were trying to find these family-friendly things that work in a house,” Jackie says.

To that end, the home started with an open-concept floor plan, allowing for better traffic flow, easy entertaining, and nice sightlines to the outdoors. A large gourmet kitchen is, by far, the area the family uses the most, and the durable, quick-clean surfaces and flooring, soothing shades of tans and browns, and even a separate ice machine to avoid drink messes, were all chosen with the family in mind.

Indoor/outdoor spaces on the main level also were designed around family interactions, including an airy screened-in porch, replete with a fireplace, ceiling fan, and sturdy yet attractive finishes. The porch opens to a deck leading down to the pool, spa, and built-in grill, all family-favorite hangouts.

The couple chose to finish the basement during construction, knowing from past experience that their busy lifestyles might preclude them from taking on long-term projects later. There, a mirror-lined dance studio is perfect for the girls to practice, and displays their many trophies. “I wanted a room large enough for them to not make turns in the kitchen, even though they still turn in the kitchen,” says Jackie, laughing.

The basement also houses a granite and cherrywood kitchenette, family room area, and game room with a billards/ping pong table. A theater room was tailored to Johnny, with eight deluxe theater seats, including snack trays and lighted cup holders. It is where everyone congregates when company comes over.

On the top floor, each bedroom comes with an en suite bath, a definite plus for any family. The couple eschewed a sitting room in their master, knowing it would get little use, and chose instead to increase the size of a daughter’s bedroom. A dead space over the four-car garage was converted into an extra-long room serving dual purposes: “I wanted a place to accommodate our business, and also an art studio for my girls. They like to paint and glitter. And this way, the glitter stays in one place,” Jackie explains. Conveniently, while Jackie works in her office, she also can watch the girls do homework at the other end of the room.

Sensible Can Be Stylish

The prevailing myth is that once you start a family, you give up on chic décor. But the LoRe residence proves just because a home is geared toward family living, doesn’t mean it’s short on style. Most importantly, the house integrates sturdy and beautiful building materials, including custom cabinetry, stone masonry, millwork, and high-end finishes. The vanities, for example, were not pre-ordered; several ceilings are vaulted or cathedral for added depth; and the stairwells display curved details and elegant wrought-iron balusters. The builder worked with Johnny’s exacting standards, tweaking and re-building areas throughout construction to avoid last-minute issues. “Everything went really smoothly. I didn’t have a least-favorite part,” says the builder.

Their furnishings emphasize comfort and classic lines, with not a fussy fabric in sight. Though the home has the same number of rooms as their previous property, the sizes are significantly different, and they’re gradually building on pieces they already had to fill spaces. But plenty of wide-open spacing, whether it’s outside, around the pool, or indoors, will prevail in this family-friendly abode, especially for any turns along the way.