Harford Magazine - Page 29 - Becoming The Grey Lady (2)

Harford Magazine
- Page 29
Becoming The Grey Lady (2)
Karen and Ed Garono have seen a lot of houses. The couple work in real estate, and they often renovate homes on the side. But they had never taken on a project quite like their current home — a century-old Edwardian on a corner lot with a view of the water in downtown Havre de Grace.

When the couple first encountered the house in 2015, it bore little resemblance to today’s Grey Lady — the name they gave it after yearlong renovations. The stately porch was hidden behind overgrown shrubbery, the yellow and green paint was peeling and the interior was weighed down by relics of the 1960s — heavy lace curtains, blue shag carpet and wood paneling.

“There was a house down the street that was turn-key that was on the market,” Karen Garono, 63, said. “But [Ed] kept driving around this house saying, ‘Someone needs to put the love back into it.’ Because it was grand at one time.”

Karen wasn’t so sure. The Harford County natives were renting a condo and had just moved out of a house they built themselves on a 200-acre farm in Darlington. They knew that renovating the 3,000-square-foot home with four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, three stories and a basement would involve constant decision-making.

“Driving around the outside, I was a little nervous,” said Karen. “But as soon as I walked in the door I felt like I could make this beautiful again.”

They soon learned that the home had long belonged to a prominent doctor, his wife and their six children, a family the Havre de Grace community loved.

“People we talked to that came here when they were little have fond memories of [them] and all the fun they had in the house,” Karen said.

After purchasing the property from the doctor’s estate, the Garonos went to work, keeping the house’s importance to the community at the forefront of the restoration. They hoped to update the functionality and style while preserving the historic charm.

Some repairs were hardly cosmetic: The