All in fam­ily the

100th birth­day bash served as mo­ti­va­tion for room-by-room up­dat­ing

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - REAL ESTATE - By An­drea Siegel

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.

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