Photographed by Alan Gilbert
The owners of this condominium in the Village of Cross Keys had one request of interior designer Richard Taylor: that this home would have the same casual, beachy feel as their Jupiter, Fla., getaway.
For Taylor, this meant white would be the primary color. In order to keep the home unique and interesting even within the constraints of a single-hued palette, he concentrated on finding exotic accent pieces and fixtures with various— and sometimes unorthodox— textures. “It’s all the textures, a lot of varying, natural textures, that give the house life,” he says.
The foyer epitomizes the home’s “lively but sophisticated” feel, as a Thai puppet encased in glass dances next to a simple vase holding chutes of green bamboo atop a rectangular table with a honed slate top and stripe detail along its perimeter. The table’s base, made of iron and black bamboo, sits atop a white, ceramic tiled floor, the same flooring that covers the entire home.
Off the foyer is the study, for which Taylor designed a wall-length bookshelf made of ash wood that houses a personal computer and television amidst a vast collection of books. The walls are covered in wallpaper that features a subtle, off-white basket-weave pattern. A similar pattern made of woven hemp covers the walls of the study’s powder room. The rope-like material provides a color contrast to the white floors as well as a textural contrast to the cracked glass countertop.
The master bedroom is the epitome of oceanfront opulence, boasting the luxury of a private suite in a 5-star hotel, with his-and-hers bedside tables, walk-in closets and master bath vanities. A Kress woven rattan sleigh bed is the centerpiece of the room, its plush, white linens accompanied by an abundance of white pillows. A neatly framed print provides a small kaleidoscope of color and hangs above the bed, across from which stands another built-in designed by Taylor that doubles as shelving and an entertainment center. A banana leaf plant grows from a round basket, centered in front of three floor-to-ceiling windows that allow natural light to flood the room.
On the wall leading from the master bedroom to the living area hangs Helen Frankenthaler’s striking abstract piece, “West Wind.” The work adds a bolt of color to the room, and its curvilinear lines allow it to be a focal point without overtaking the serene quality of the space. “We wanted something a little more contemporary looking [in this room],” says Taylor. The matching Beverly chairs and couch are upholstered in different fabrics: the chairs in a puckered plissé, the couch in a nubby fabric resembling that of a bouclé knit sweater.
At the center of the room is a Thai sewing table used as a coffee table. “A lot of different wood surfaces keep things interesting,” says Taylor. With its teak frame and bamboo center, the table provides an Asian-influenced axis from which the rest of the furniture in the room— the Chinese chest, in particular— is based.
On the opposite side of the room is a wet bar framed by a wall-mounted 7-foot glass tank that is home to anemones and various tropical fish. Taylor was inspired to install a fish tank in the space after learning that the homeowner was an avid scuba diver. “I told him ‘I promise you, it won’t look like a Chinese restaurant,’” Taylor says of the tank, custom built and maintained by John Sharkey. “It replicated the reefs that I’ve been privileged to see [while diving],” says the homeowner.
The McGuire barstools feature off-white leather cushions with taupe leather woven backs. Two more barstools sit at the butcher block island in the kitchen, where a round table with ash wood top and black bamboo base, also from McGuire, offers informal dining space.
A fiddle-leaf fig arches beyond the table. Native to tropical habitats in Africa, the plant’s large leaves create a summery atmosphere, as well as a transitional element from the kitchen to the sitting room at the rear of the home. There, a cotton-chenille couch, along with two chairs and a cocktail table made of woven hyacinth, frames a flat-screened television above a gas fireplace. Another ash wood built-in shelf graces the left wall, adorned by Thai, Mexican and Japanese sculptures from the homeowners’ private collection.
The owners value the home’s convenient location to both the suburbs and downtown. While the bustle of Baltimore may surround it, the interior is characterized by a serenity matched only by the Gulf Coast retreat that inspired its design.
Interior design Richard Taylor Inc., 410-727-3333
Custom fish tank John Sharkey, J&M Appliance repair, Catonsville, 410-788-2102