Birth­day bash was mo­tive for up­dat­ing house

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - REAL ES­TATE -

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.

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