Mary­land cou­ple’s res­i­dence of­fers a home for flora and fauna as well

The Progress-Index - At Home - - News - BY SU­SAN REIMER

BALTIMORE — Leonard Sachs and Lainy Le­Bow-Sachs have turned their world out­side-in.

The ren­o­va­tions and ad­di­tions to the Baltimore power cou­ple’s Reis­ter­stown, Md., home make it ideal not only for en­ter­tain­ing large groups, but for en­ter­tain­ing birds, too.

Fond of plants and flow­er­ing shrubs as well, Leonard com­mis­sioned a so­lar­ium that de­fies Mid-At­lantic win­ters.

And the flag­stone that was once the ex­te­rior of the house is now part of the study and den and in­for­mal din­ing area, giv­ing the house a rus­tic, mas­cu­line qual­ity.

“It is the per­fect place to come home to,” said Lainy, who works as an ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent at the Kennedy Krieger In­sti­tute.

The cou­ple has been mar­ried for al­most half of the 47 years Leonard has lived here, and the house has gone through a num­ber of ma­jor ren­o­va­tions and ad­di­tions.

“The house has seen a lot of dif­fer­ent lives,” said Jay Jenk­ins, the in­te­rior de­signer for three of the most im­por­tant rooms in the house for the cou­ple: the kitchen, the so­lar­ium and the first-floor master bed­room.

“It is a la­bor of love for them. A lot of very tal­ented peo­ple have brought their best ef­forts, and ev­ery job has been very com­ple­men­tary.”

The first-floor bed­room is sur­rounded on two sides by large win­dows that look out on a clus­ter of bird­houses and bird feed­ers and bird­baths. The cou­ple can lie in bed in the light-filled room and, if they are very still, they can watch a va­ri­ety of birds ar­rive, eat, bathe and de­part.

“We fill the feed­ers ev­ery Mon­day,” Lainy said. “And in the morn­ing, we lay in bed and

watch the birds.”

“You have to be very still,” said Leonard. “They no­tice any move­ment in the house.” Net­ting sur­rounds the bird sanc­tu­ary to keep out cats and other preda­tors. And it is planted with an abun­dance of flow­er­ing shrubs and wis­te­ria to at­tract the birds.

“We worked to make it a com­fort­able, cleaner place,” said Jenk­ins. “In­ter­act­ing with the out­doors is very im­por­tant to both of them.”

Doors on ei­ther side of the bed in this bright room lead to long, nar­row, his-and-hers bath­rooms, very mod­ern, prac­ti­cal and lux­u­ri­ous. “We can meet in the mid­dle,” Lainy said, laugh­ing.

The sec­ond floor, where all the orig­i­nal bed­rooms are lo­cated, now serves as the pied-aterre for the cou­ple’s blended fam­ily: five chil­dren and nine grand­chil­dren.

And the kitchen, with fam­ily pic­tures ev­ery­where, is more than up to the task of feed­ing the crew — or 200 guests at a fundraiser.

The Sach­ses are prom­i­nent pa­trons of the arts in Baltimore as well as civic causes. Leonard Sachs chaired the restora­tion of Penn Sta­tion and com­mis­sioned the sig­na­ture “Man/ Woman” sculp­ture out front.

Also de­signed by Jenk­ins and part­ner Alexan­der Baer, the kitchen has gleam­ing Mex­i­can tile floors and coun­ters, part of an ex­pan­sion that cre­ated a cozy den at one end and a huge farm-style din­ing area at the other end, both next to the cook­ing area.

“I used to do a lot more cook­ing. I even made my own bread” said Lainy, the long­time aide to the late Gov. Wil­liam Don­ald Schaefer. “When I stop work­ing, I will go back to cook­ing.”

“The den is a lit­tle fall and win­ter place to go,” said Jenk­ins. “The scale is more in­ti­mate, the col­ors deeper and darker, and a fire­place.”

The cou­ple used to do a great deal of trav­el­ing, too, and me­men­tos abound. Lainy has a col­lec­tion of tiny Li­mo­ges boxes, of whim­si­cal teaket­tles, of pa­per­weights and of ele­phants.

The art on dis­play also re­flects the cou­ple’s trav­els and is a dy­namic mix of bold col­ors and geo­met­ric de­signs.

“I buy what I ap­pre­ci­ate,” said Leonard, when asked about his in­ter­ests in art. “I like color, shapes. I like the free-ness of the col­ors. The pieces just suited us.”

He and Lainy have sa­faried in Africa and biked in Switzer­land, France and Hol­land. They have hiked in Alaska and the Cana­dian Rock­ies and vis­ited China, Rus­sia and Nor­way, and gone white-water raft­ing in Yel­low­stone. They will be mar­ried 20 years this May.

Life has slowed for both, and now their fa­vorite des­ti­na­tion is the so­lar­ium Leonard adores. It ex­tends from what used to be the front of the house down to­ward the pool. Glass-en­closed and with an ir­ri­ga­tion/sprin­kler sys­tem, the in-ground garden is planted with or­chids and a va­ri­ety of green and flow­er­ing plants and is gen­tly lit from the rafters above at night to mag­i­cal ef­fect.

“If some­one sends me a plant, we find a place for it,” said Leonard, who has also taken up paint­ing. “Even in win­ter, I am sur­rounded by flow­ers and plants.”

“Leonard wanted to make it a place that was more ap­pro­pri­ate for Lainy to be with him,” Jenk­ins said of the space. There are a desk, a com­puter work sta­tion, a tele­vi­sion and a beau­ti­fully ren­dered model of the Pride of Baltimore, on which he had the priv­i­lege of sail­ing.

On dis­play in the so­lar­ium is the flag that draped Schaefer’s cof­fin, pre­sented to Lainy af­ter the ser­vices, which she co­or­di­nated. But it was clearly Leonard’s space be­fore the changes.

“She wanted to be there with him,” said Jenk­ins. “Our job was to make the room a more spe­cial place for the two of them to spend time to­gether.”

On the cof­fee ta­ble are heav­ily an­no­tated bird books, with col­ored strips mark­ing pages cov­er­ing birds they have seen out­side the win­dows of their home.

“So many dif­fer­ent kinds,” said Lainy. “Some­times we can’t find them in any of our books. But they are here for us.”


Above: Leonard Sachs and Lainy LeBow-Sachs live in Steven­son, Mary­land in a con­tem­po­rary stone, glass and wood home that brings na­ture in­doors and art out­side. Here, Leonard Sachs, re­tired busi­ness­man works at his home of­fice in sun­room, Fe­bru­ary 12....


Leonard Sachs and Lainy LeBow-Sachs live in Steven­son, Mary­land in a con­tem­po­rary stone, glass and wood home that brings na­ture in­doors and art out­side. Here, a sculp­ture is fea­tured, Fe­bru­ary 12..

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