A Closer Look at Collington Avenue

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Each time I start a project, I think to myself: how can I do something different? How can I create a space that’s unique from the last one I put together? Collington Avenue was a really fun project to work on. I got to try things I hadn’t before, and I learned a lot about my own design process throughout the duration of the project. Today, I’m gonna take a closer look at my project on 506 S Collington Avenue, and highlight some of my favorite features about how it all turned out!

About the Property

Originally, the property consisted of two addresses, 506 and 508 S Collington. At one point in time, it had been a neighborhood mechanic shop but had sat vacant for a while prior to our purchase. Brian partnered with a real estate investor to acquire the property and began working on it as a new build. The framing for the project went up. At one point, Brian dropped by the project to survey the progress. When he got up to the third floor, he had his breath taken away. Thanks to its central location, it offered a beautiful, sweeping view of the entire city. He decided then and there that it wouldn’t be an investment property, we’d make it our home.


So, we bought out our real estate partner and went back to the drawing board. We quickly had the realization that something we wanted to design for ourselves was gonna differ pretty drastically from what was being built as an investment property. So our first challenge reared its head: we had to change a significant portion of the framing to accommodate the layout we wanted. Having to rework a partially finished project was difficult to be certain, but it ended up being the right decision with how everything eventually came together. One thing I’ve learned in my time as a designer is to let the design dictate the shape of the space instead of vice versa. It’s a process of working backward, where you envision the perfect placement for each light fixture, piece of furniture, where the wall coverings and decorations will go, and build a space that can physically accommodate those choices just right. Another challenge we encountered was getting the right materials to where they needed to be. Because of the height of the property and the location of the rooms such as the kitchen, tons of items had to be craned up to the second and third floors. These included the 9ft quartzite island, kitchen appliances, custom master bathroom mirror, and some of the furniture. This definitely was a headache for everyone involved throughout the project but we managed to make do!

My Design Philosophy for Collington Ave

Before I got involved with this project, Brian worked with a fantastic architect, Valeria Design Studio. She created the modern facade of the home, and I was able to continue that modern design on the interior of the house. I wanted to really embrace that modern aesthetic and utilized a monotone color scheme accented here and there with huge bursts of color. A kind of look where you walk into a room and are able to feel how intentionally each aspect is laid out. There are modern details you just don’t find in many homes across Baltimore City, especially those that are mass-produced in subdivisions. For one, there was an oversized elevator. Each level has its own deck. There’s a 5-zone audio system. All of these touches were meant to change how living in space feels.

Speaking of space, I really wanted to emphasize open areas. In the kitchen, for instance, the quartzite island centers the room while allowing for easy traffic flow. Getting to shape the space so everyone has room to breathe was one of my favorite aspects of this project.

My Favorite Details

When I think back on this project, there’s always one design feature that sticks out to me that I absolutely adore. In my quest to provide an eye-catching color contrast, I decided on this gorgeous trim that really makes the dining room stand out as a centerpiece of the house.

I love when rooms have unique touches like this that give them a sense of character. Whenever I can provide a design aspect like this for space, I think it really helps bring the other elements together.

And of course, I’d be remiss not to mention the view. The reason we wanted to make S Collington Avenue our home in the first place.

So much of real estate is location, especially in the city where the exact neighborhood can make all the difference for your living experience. Collington was in the center of all the action, nearby to Patterson Park, Fells Point, and Canton. And for the rooftop deck, that prime location means sweeping views of the entire city. There is nothing quite like getting to go up to your roof and take in all of the beautiful details of the city you call home.

Why We Moved On

The truth is, we never really plan to move on to another project but at the same time, we always have our eye out for something special that could be our next home. Brian spent time in the military, and I think this gives him that urge to not stay in one place for too long. Either way, we both knew we wanted to take on a new project, to keep challenging ourselves, and we’ve let this desire for design and creation guide us to our next project, our Binney Street house (in progress).

Collington Avenue was a challenging project to work on, and it taught me so many lessons about the design process. I can’t wait to apply the things I’ve learned to Binney Street and share the final product with all of you.

In the meantime, check out more blogs to follow along with my latest projects!

Samantha Chance

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