As a veteran interior designer working out of a home office, Wendy Appleby knows people have high expectations when entering her Columbia residence of 27 years.
But she shrugs it off. “My home has a certain style that wouldn’t be for everyone,” says the proprietor of Your Home by Wendy. “When I do a house for someone, I do it to their style, not mine.”
With her adult children living in other cities, Appleby, 61, a grandmother of one, says friends frequently ask when she and her husband, Michael, a retired Secret Service agent, are going to downsize. But moving out of their 3,100-square-foot, five-bedroom and 3 1/2-bathroom abode is out of the question at this time, she says.
“We use every square inch of this house,” says Appleby, a native of Manhasset Hills, N.Y. “My husband even built a bar in the basement. Why would we go?”
Appleby characterizes the style of her neo-colonial, built in 1992, as “transitional. My house is not really traditional or contemporary. It’s right in the middle, and very eclectic.”
Appleby’s favorite room is her first-floor library, featuring an antique tall chest from China with double doors and hand-painted scenes. She inherited the chest from her grandmother, as was an antique dental chair in the room once owned by her grandfather and father, both dentists.
“You fill your house up with the history of you,” says Appleby, pointing out a vintage Baldwin Acrosonic piano that belonged to her mother.
Giving the library a warm, airy feeling are a pair of well-lit windows offering spectacular views of surrounding trees, as well as cushioned window seats and built-in shelves brimming with books, family photos and assorted tchotchkes. Also creating a relaxed ambience is a long Norwegian-made leather chair with an ottoman that accommodates Michael Appleby’s rather lanky frame, as well as a four-quartered painting of a clock face commissioned by Wendy Appleby and created by Catonsville decorative artist Deanne Lenehan.
“It’s a pretty, cozy room, one of my refuges,” says Wendy Appleby. “I love it.”
Another refuge is the family room, which has a fireplace, TV, chunky shelves with pristine sculptures and a 12-foot-long couch. “It’s so big that Michael and I sometimes text each other while sitting on it,” Appleby says with a laugh. “Just to be funny — ‘How’re you doing over there?’”
Another special component of the Applebys’ residence is its backyard, featuring a kitchen deck, patio, outdoor kitchen and fire pit. “It’s great. We host the temple choir’s party every summer,” says Appleby, who belongs to Temple Isaiah in Fulton. “They say Jews don’t drink? Not true!”
Appleby says she loves loving in Columbia because “it’s very convenient and clean and safe. I feel very settled here, and I like being part of the temple and community. My office is here in the house, and we entertain a lot. It’s just a fun, happy house, very welcoming and warm, not sterile at all. It feels like a hug.
“This is my castle and I really enjoy it.”