All in family the
100th birthday bash served as motivation for room-by-room updating
What began with Marie Halka’s desire last spring for a different color on one wall turned into updating the family room and more, all in time for a 100th birthday party over the summer for the older man of the house: her father.
“It started with changing the accent wall color in the family room,” Marie Halka recalled. “Then I realized the [dining room] draperies would have to go.” And so on.
The main floor of the two-story Annapolis home features a light-filled, pulledtogether look without a major overhaul. The family room is comfortable for Jeff and Marie Halka and her father, Louis Vacca; other updates blend in.
The flow among the rooms of the home they share was perfect for Vacca’s birthday bash in June.
“A friend did magic tricks for kids in the living room. The bar was set up in the sunroom,” Marie Halka said. Food was served in several places. About 50 guests roamed between the home’s main floor and backyard, where a tent stood.
In 2010, the Halkas faced a quandary familiar to baby boomers — how to help aging parents who can’t live alone and must rely on their middle-aged children nearby. The couple imagined a home where Marie’s parents could live comfortably — with them.
“We sold both the houses [her parents’ and theirs] to buy this house, something to accommodate all of us,” Marie said. It was just about move-in-ready.
The four-bedroom, 4½-bathroom house features a mostly open first-floor layout, big windows and soaring ceilings.
“We describe it as a skyhouse because of the windows,” Marie said.
Life under one roof has meant balancing privacy (a den in the finished basement offers a little distance) and togetherness (the family room is a natural hub).
It also meant mixing furnishings from two houses in Severna Park so the older couple would have familiar items in the new, unfamiliar setting. The main-level master bedroom suite was a must for one-floor living for the older couple (Marie Halka’s mother has since died); the Vaccas relocated their bedroom furnishings there to create a retreat in coastal blues in the suite, which has a sunny sitting room.
Initially, a decorator helped combine the furniture. For example, the living room features the Halkas’ furniture, reupholstered in subtle gold, greens and ivory, as well as her parents’ antiqued dining room buffet and Asian-style artwork that was a gift decades ago from the older couple to the younger.