|Walls full of steps and perches to delight any cat!|
The owner of Braveheart Romeo, a 20-year-old chestnut-hued warmblood gelding I pinned my heart to in 2004, sold him to me that year for $1.00, so eager was she to see that "Chubby" (my giant steed's "barn" name) went to someone who would care for him as deeply as she had. Jan Korotki even gifted me with a pail full of horse-grooming supplies to help get me started in the world of equine ownership.
But my friendship with Jan didn't end when ownership of Chubby passed from her to me all those years ago. Instead, our acquaintance blossomed over our mutual love of cats. Indeed, Jan's affection for those of the feline persuasion is so deep and abiding that she and her husband, Harry, have both figured prominently in management of the Baltimore Humane Society for many years now. I had been to their gracious home not far from mine in Baltimore County, and had witnessed firsthand the devotion the couple paid to their feline occupants.
Recently, the realization of an even greater dream came true for Jan and Harry Korotki: they built a new home, not far from the old one, specifically with their six cats in mind. Here, then, is a look at what utter and absolute feline adoration can produce.
|Jan re-purposed an old faux ficus as a|
backdrop to one of the cat-climbing
trees in Harry's TV room
Jan and Harry invited me this past Saturday to dine with them at their brand new, 4,700 square-foot home so I could see "the house their cats built" for myself. Indeed, the spacious abode, erected by custom home builder J. Paul Lichter last year, was all about their six beloved felines. No expense was spared when it came to ensuring a carefree and utterly interactive experience for the four-footed occupants of Jan and Harry's household. I was entranced.
I arrived, with my perpetual companion, Jesse Turner, in tow, promptly at 6:45 p.m. and was enthusiastically greeted at the front door by my hosts. Already in attendance was Jan's best friend, Cara Cohen, her husband, Jay, and their 16-year-old son Teddy. With freshly made cocktails in hand, Jan led me on a tour of the home they had only just moved into at the end of January.
|Harry utilizes this "cat room" as his personal TV viewing space. Surrounded|
by his feline friends every evening, Harry says there isn't a much better way
to spend one's leisure time at home than in the company of furry friends
First up, the "cat room", a custom space designed specifically for the comfort and pleasure of all six cats, located just off the living/family/great room. Designated as "Harry's TV room", the 20 by 15 foot space with 12-foot ceilings is filled with all manner of wall-mounted cat-climbing steps, perches, baskets, hammocks and assorted landings. Painted in shades of muted gray with paw-print graphics and other fun feline-oriented artwork on the walls, Jan utilized the talents of Maryland-based, 16-year-old Brandon Wilson of KittyKribs.com who, with his father, designed and built all the custom feline furniture in this room and throughout the home.
|Jan's closet is to die for|
And although I didn't get a photo of it, Harry's walk-in closet sported wallpaper on the ceiling featuring the iconic truckers' "mudflap girls" in gold foil, a custom touch Jan surprised her husband with when he came home from a business trip.
In the spacious great room, and elsewhere throughout the home, floor to ceiling windows and sliders are painted a deep charcoal hue, all the better to frame the gorgeous views of woodland forest buffer just across the back lawn behind their elevated deck. Throughout, objets d'art are illuminated by thoughtfully backlit display shelving.
|The formal dining room is exquisite|
Jan and Harry's dining room oozes easy elegance. A glass-topped table whose elaborate cutwork pedestal base is echoed in the metal filigree window decor seems a perfect foil for the minimalist mid-century chairs upholstered in gold velvet. Everywhere, Jan and her mother, Jane's, interior designer talents are evident: art glass sculptures in the great room, colorful wallpaper in the powder room, gold and gray furnishings with acrylic ghost chairs and tables each set off their surrounds in the best possible light.
An entire room (two, actually) is devoted to litter boxes. One such enclosure, located in the spacious basement next to a fully-equipped gym, boasts the prototype of an elevated litter box system the couple hopes to market to the public in the near future. Another litter box room, located on the main level next to the kitchen, sports cat-level entryways through the walls on two sides. No feline-dedicated detail was left unattended. Scratching posts adorn every living space. Discrete feeding stations, boasting fish-shaped ceramic bowls, could be found in toe-kick spaces in several rooms.
|After dinner, Harry broke out a pro-|
fessional looking poker set and
challenged us all to a friendly game
of cards as Cara Cohen looks on
After helping ourselves to pot stickers and Jay Cohen's scrumptious homemade hummus with crackers, we took our seats in the breakfast nook and dug into super fresh sushi and sashimi, steamed broccoli and unending rounds of sake and wine. Once our bellies were full, Harry brought out a professional-looking set of poker chips and invited us all to buy in for $10.00 a person to a friendly card game, at the conclusion of which the winner would take all. I folded early and was heartened to hear that Harry, the evening's big winner, would be donating all the proceeds of the day to the Baltimore Humane Society.
We finished our evening with Cara's chocolaty brownies and individual black rice puddings adorned with tiny purple flowers that were my contribution to the dinner's culinary offerings. What a fun way to spend a relaxing Saturday evening! Hats off to the cats whose deep affection for their humans (and vice versa) spurred the construction of such a beautiful and well cat-appointed home.