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Planned to perfection
By Kathleen Ostrander

The DiCensos knew exactly what they wanted in their 3-year-old home on Dogwood Hills in Panther Creek.

"This is the fourth home we've built," explained Mike DiCenso. "We wanted a warm, open floor plan." His wife, Connie, added, "We wanted a floor plan conducive to entertaining, that had room for the children and visitors and had two home offices."

Their spacious and inviting home has all those things - and more.

"If you figure out what the decorating style is - let us know," Connie DiCenso said with a laugh. The home has influences from Spain, Mexico, some European styling, modern and French Provencial.

It has antiques and collectibles, some really nice whimsical touches, and the DiCensos can remember their trips and excursions by the items they brought back.

The earth tones in the home's decor are accented with crisp white, red and blue.

The soaring front entranceway is welcoming and elegant. The warm, honey-colored walls are accented with white woodwork and set off with African tigerwood floors. In the living room is a fireplace with a sweeping piece of stenciled artwork that carries a visitor's eye to the ceiling and a set of windows above a three-season room: That wall features a fresco painting of a European castle.

Off to the right of the front entrance is the formal dining room. The elegant table and chairs are a perfect complement to the floor. A decorative ceiling that includes crown molding helps contain the room and gives guests the idea that they are cherished diners. The dining room flows into a butler's pantry with a wet sink. The wood in the cabinets as well as the warm, tiled backsplash match the decor in the kitchen.

Connie DiCenso said guests see the kitchen as small, while she sees it as intimate. Since she is a baker by trade - she owns CoCo Pies - people expect her to have a large, lavish kitchen.

"This kitchen has everything I want. I want to be able to come in and have everything right at hand, and this kitchen is perfect," she said.

It has gleaming, stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops. The cabinet hardware matches the stainless steel, and the pattern in the decorative corbels is consistent with the pattern in the fretwork on the decorative metal baker's rack.

The scrollwork pattern is repeated in artful touches throughout the main level, and that ties the decor together.

Straight through the living room out a set of French doors is a three-season room that leads to the patio and bocce ball court.

"I love this room," said Mike DiCenso. "If you can't find me anywhere else in the house, here is where I spend my time."

He picked distressed construction brick, Spanish terra cotta tile and 200-year-old barn wood to increase the relaxation factor of the room.

"We leave the doors open for three seasons of the year," said Mike DiCenso. "It's great for entertaining, and we love the open feel."

Off of the three-season room and the kitchen is a family dining area.

The master bedroom suite is on the main floor. The gigantic four-poster bed, with ornate carved posts, is a work of art.

The master bath is done in warm browns and the patterns on the tile decorate the room, which is accented by rich, red towels as well as a topiary or two.

The upstairs is accessed by a series of stairs and landings. Through a set of French doors, that match the wood and white balusters and handrails of the staircases is Mike DiCenso's home office, which has a stunning decorated ceiling. His wife's home office is on a landing leading to the lower level.

Upstairs, there is a guest-room suite as well as a second set of bedrooms whose occupants share a roomy bath.

Although the couple entertains on the main level and in the kitchen, the lower level is also made for entertaining. There, Mike DiCenso had a stainless steel bar with a concrete top put in. The bar area is tiled and the walls are painted a butterscotch, which holds the light. Guest tables, a comfortable seating area and a slate pool table make the area perfect for gatherings.


Story published Friday, May 1, 2009 ( Volume 4, Number 3 )

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