FROM THE GROUND UP
Baltimore magazine|May 2021
A new build gives a couple a house that finally feels like them.
CHRISTIANNA MCCAUSLAND

HOMEOWNERS LISA AND DAVID knew they were ready to leave behind the Owings Mills house where they raised their three children. While it held good memories, the couple was not sentimental about jettisoning its center-hall colonial style.

“We always thought we’d build someday, but, with three children in private school, we had other priorities,” Lisa says.

So, looking to downsize, the couple, who asked their last name be withheld, cast a wide search net.

“We looked at condos and rowhouses in the city, but nothing piqued our interest,” David says.

Plan B: They switched gears and decided to build from scratch, purchasing a private “flag lot”—real estate parlance for a parcel lying at the end of a long driveway—in Lutherville. The driveway is the metaphorical flagpole, while the shape of the lot is rectangular, like a flag.

They then enlisted the expertise of Peter Twohy of 2e Architects and interior designer Lela Knight to construct a new home that would be the complete opposite of their traditional former abode.

“When we first met with Peter, he gave us homework,” David says. “He gave us a questionnaire that got down to the minutiae of everything we did in the house, down to whether Lisa put on her makeup standing up or sitting down.”

After the exhaustive survey, meant to provide Twohy with clarity on their lifestyle and priorities, he asked that they look online and in magazines to find stylistic inspiration, which, for the couple, turned out to be a mid-century aesthetic. Lisa, whose father was a commercial architect, grew up in a home that had mid-century touches, while David discovered an interest in the designs of California-based builder Joseph Eichler and a passion for clerestory windows, a section of wall with windows above eye level. This was all good news to Twohy.

“The magic of this flag lot is it is significantly behind any neighbors and it’s a sloped lot, not good for a family with kids to set up a soccer goal, but perfect for an upside-down house with the main living at the entry-level and more bedrooms at ground level with an exit to a pool,” says Twohy.

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