Birthday bash was motive for updating house
Few changes were made on the home’s main floor after that. Until this spring.
Marie Halka asked Jean Phillips and Tatiana Beckham, partners in Flair Interior Design, of Annapolis, to help choose a color for the accent wall in the bright family room. That wall has windows above and on each side of the fireplace and television built-in.
It’s now a subdued gray-green, carried through from the adjacent dining room.
“It changed the demeanor of the room,” Marie Halka said. More changes ensued.
Ample seating now comes from two couches in a gray weave with ivory threads; the cushion testers, Jeff Halka and Marie’s father, chose firm cushions.
Asked about living in the house, Vacca, who spends much of his day in the family room, replied, “It’s good, it’s good.”
He spends the earlier part of his day reading in the sunlight on the smaller couch and the early evening watching television there, often with the Halkas.
The Halkas already had the glass-topped teak table with a convenient shelf below for books and the like.
A muted blue and gray upholstered round ottoman adds extra seating and color. On wheels, it’s easily rolled out of the way, but mostly is in front of the television, where it’s too low to block the screen.
Hues of blue and more light come from a ceramic lamp on the Vaccas’ drum end table. Blues show up again in decorative pillows on the couches that unify the colors in the room, down to the beige carpeting.
A few longtime features keep clutter at bay, Marie Halka said: There are cabinets below the television, a basket behind a couch hold magazines, and “odds and ends” hide in the drum table.
In the dining room, sheer drapes with a tone-on-tone white liner, filter light, as Marie Halka wanted. They hang from the edge of the crown molding to the floor. Kitchen updates were blended in. “I wanted to add the backsplash,” she said. Adding visual interest below and above classic wood cabinets are 1-inch mosaic tiles in beiges with hints of gray that don’t compete with the light granite counters.
In a nod to a current trend and desire for more light, three creamy glass pendant lights were installed over a breakfast bar that opens into the family room. They increase illumination in the kitchen, which is an interior room, and family room.
The breakfast bar keeps the cook involved in goings-on beyond the kitchen.
“It’s really easy to entertain in this house,” Marie Halka said.
Updating the breakfast room are a chandelier with a drum shade over the table — which once was the Vaccas’ dining room table — and sleek cornices in stripes of beiges, gray and ivory top the windows.
A new round rug in navy blue bordered in ivory gives the home’s entry an interesting and fresh look as soon as the front door is opened. Marie Halka said the space blends with the adjacent living room, where a new Oriental rug picks up the blue and living room’s colors, along with the neutrals in what she calls the “ancestry room.”
Besides her desk, that room holds family photos and mementos like a pocket watch that belonged to Marie Halka’s grandmother and a pipe owned by Jeff Halka’s grandfather. “We enjoy family history and dabbling in genealogy,” she said.
Brought from their former home, the Halkas’ wicker furniture with scarlet cushions fills a sunroom that opens to a composite deck and landscaped yard with a pool. Starting with the first year they were in the house and had a Christmas party for neighbors, the sunroom has been a place to entertain.
“Even though that room is not weatherized … one little space heater boosted the temperature in the room for 18 people,” Marie Halka said. In warm weather, the Halkas eat an early breakfast there under the breeze of the ceiling fan.
Upstairs are three bedrooms: the Halkas’ with a walk-in closet; their adult daughter’s bedroom — she’s a fashion designer in New York and the walls display her creations — and Jeff Halka’s office.
Getting occasional use is the finished basement, which includes a bedroom, exercise equipment and the den with a wet bar.
Vacca likes being outdoors in the summer, and in the living room in cooler months when the sun warms it, his daughter said.
The home’s bright setting gives Vacca comfortable one-floor living — he isn’t using the basement or pool, as he’s less active than he was seven years ago — and his birthday party had dozens of birthday party guests enjoying it too.
The sunroom in Jeff and Marie Halka’s Annapolis house. The Halkas sold their home and Marie’s parents’ home so they could have room to take care of their parents. Marie Halka’s mother has since died, but her father still lives with them.
When the color of one wall was changed, Marie Halka says, “I realized the [dining room] draperies would have to go.” Now sheer drapes with a tone-on-tone white liner filter light.