Harford Magazine - Page 32 - Becoming The Grey Lady (4)

Harford Magazine
- Page 32
Becoming The Grey Lady (4)
France and came with a chef who showed them how to use it.

The oven is not the only French touch. The house is filled with scripted patterns, Eiffel towers and wall art inspired by Karen’s travels to the country. Most of her decorations are consignment, she said, and she switches looks often, although some features are constant.

“I knew I wanted this black-and-white checkered floor. I love crystal. I love pearls. I wanted white cabinets. I wanted marble,” said Karen.

Luckily for her, the house came with several crystal lighting fixtures. She had them rewired and installed them in the dining room. She also added four crystal chandeliers in the kitchen to accompany the existing one in the dining room that dates at least to the 1930s.

In the upstairs bathroom, the Garonos created a vintage look with a 1930s-style arch over the tub. They replaced the aging tile floor with fresh tiles that wouldn’t usurp the antique feeling.

Restoring curb appeal was an equally delicate balance, but the overgrown bushes crowding the entrance were the first to go.

“I came home and the guys said to me, ‘Ms. Karen, when all that was taken down the whole house breathed,’ ” Karen said. “Some people told us they didn’t know the house was there — that’s how much stuff was growing in front of it.”

In a Havre de Grace bookstore, a shopkeeper showed Karen a book containing an early picture of her house. The Garonos used the picture to re-create the look of the original exterior.

Over the years, a turret on the front of the house had rotted away and been removed. So the Garonos rebuilt it, adding another French touch — a copperpainted ball on the top of the turret to mimic the original one on the upper roof. They also replaced all 21 columns on the porch. When the insurance company wouldn’t cover the house without railings on the porch, they switched companies.

“It’s a historic house, so we were trying to keep it that way. We were trying to preserve its authenticity,” Ed said.

Then, it was time for paint — a choice that