2527 Derbyshire Road (1996)


Built in 1920, this Dutch colonial revival house has a continuous dormer across the front, a style that became popular in the 1920s and 30s. Seventy-six years later, the present owners, who have lived there for only three years, have succeeded in retaining the charm of the original while upgrading and modernizing the interior to reflect the family's needs and interests. They have done almost all of the painting, wallpapering and carpentry themselves.


In the living room, airy lace curtains define the attractive bay window. Note the stone dog guarding the fireplace. The dining room walls are "rag-washed," painted with a rag, such as an old T-shirt, dipped in white paint over the taupe walls. The arts-and-crafts dining room table and chairs blend well with an antique panel of stained glass. The music room adds some spice and color to the living room. The deck and the addition off the dining room were added by a previous owner.


The kitchen has been completely redone. A soffit over the window has been removed to create a more open feeling and to let in more light. An unusual feature is the wooden ceiling; this extends into the back hallway and lavatory A highly practical feature in the kitchen is the position of the microwave, set into the wall so that only the front panel is visible; this frees up a substantial amount of counter space. The hand-painted wall tiles came from "a great art store in Little Italy."


On the second floor, a boy's bedroom contains a photographic portrayal of Jacobs Field, with green chalkboard representing the fence and also serving as a handy surface for creative efforts of the young occupant. In another youthful bedroom, the walls have been rag-washed in four layers: white, pink, green, and blue. Here, ballet is the principal motif, but a contrasting interest is revealed by the baseball caps on each corner of the four-poster bed. Across the hall from the children's rooms is a sitting room leading into the master bedroom; this is built out over the first floor family room addition.


The third floor starts with an attractive quiet reading space at the top of the stairs. The stairway has been sponge-painted, framed with a primary border for a bright and fun place for the children. This leads into a separate room, the "children's office," complete with a computer. Note the border paper here, a nice compromise that rather neatly represents the divergent interests of the two children.


In the basement, in addition to the usual laundry facilities, there is a huge playroom and an exercise room. In the backyard, the owners plan to remove most of the old shrubbery and leave a wider expanse of green.