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Annapolis Capital: Home of the Week -- Mariner Bay

August 29, 2009

It was Marie Hagen's son and daughter-in-law that brought her to Annapolis from just outside of Trenton, N.J. And that's okay with her, because family is everything to this very quintessential Italian mother.

"Family's first," declared Marie. "My husband always said that - family first, food on the table and pay the bills."

While Marie's husband and one of her sons have both passed, her family here is very much a driving force in her life, including her grandkids.

"They wanted me closer - they said that's where I belong, quote unquote," said Marie.

It was Marie's daughter-in-law who suggested she look at the Mariner Bay at Annapolis Towne Centre and in April, Marie became the very first resident of the brand new building and she couldn't be happier.

"I believe I was the first renter," she said. "April 1 - that's when I moved in here."

Entering the lobby of Mariner Bay, a few thoughts come to mind. First, this is a stunning lobby with a wall fountain on glass tile, marble flooring, and Venetian plaster in a beautiful bronze tone throughout. The result is a striking, yet subdued contemporary space.

Next, the scent hits - a fragrance so superb, which permeates the entire lobby.

"We have two signature scents that Bozzuto (management company for Mariner Bay) uses," said Royce Poe, concierge for the building, while holding up a reed diffuser.

Those would be Lavandou from Aveda and the no-longer-available Buttercream from Yankee Candle. The scent on the day of this visit was apparently an intruder in the signature lineup, albeit a great one.

The concierge desk is the second line of defense at Mariner Bay - the first is an electronic keypad used to gain entry at the door.

As for Royce, his job, as concierge implies, is to screen guests, make reservations, take care of dry cleaning arrangements, accept deliveries and handle whatever it is residents ask of him. On this particular day, it was also balloon man, putting balloons outside the front door to call attention to the luxury apartment building.

One more line of defense comes at the elevator, where unless you have your key fob, you're not going anywhere.

It's certainly secure.

Once inside the elevator, plaques containing today's weather let us know it's going to be a nice day in Annapolis, though somewhat warm - it's a nice touch.

"I moved here from New Jersey - I know this is more high-end from where I lived" began Marie. "I like nice taste, nice things - it's like a community here, like a family, the staff, even to the maintenance - any little problem, they're at your beckon call. I've met wonderful people here; they're very friendly."

Though retired now, Marie was the supervisor of the medical unit of the New Jersey's State Department of Transportation and attended St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in Trenton.

Inside Marie's apartment, the kitchen is just off the entry.

With recessed panel, cherry cabinetry and stainless steel pulls, stainless steel appliances, granite counters and counter-side seating, it's a perfect contemporary kitchen for Marie, who happens to favor contemporary design.

"What sold me on this apartment is the contemporary look - the modern look," said Marie.

But that wasn't all.

"Actually, I like the size and structure of the apartment - the high ceilings, the interior itself, the carpeting, tile floors, the granite, the kitchen itself - the beautiful cabinets - just everything about it," explained Marie.

The kitchen is open to the dining and living rooms, which in keeping with Marie's taste, both are styled with contemporary furnishings.

"Johnny Janosik's - I would recommend to anyone," said Marie, of the Delaware-based furniture retailer. "I have nothing but positive things to say about Johnny Janosik's."

A striking round dining table with upholstered and wood chairs couldn't be more perfect for the space.

"Martha," said Marie, referring of course to the Martha Stewart collection from the aforementioned retailer.

The abstract above the table, as well as the three-dimensional wall art in the kitchen, are two of Marie's favorite pieces in the apartment.

"I love that print and that crazy looking dish plaque on the wall," said Marie. "I like the plain look, too - simplicity is beauty to me."

A more traditionally styled living room creates a very comfortable space.

Upon the table are three candlesticks.

"These are a memento from my friends," said Marie. "I belonged to a card club in New Jersey - they wanted me to have something in my house to remind me of them."

The view from the living room provides a great spot to take in the action of Annapolis Towne Centre, as well as beyond.

On the left side of the apartment is the guest room with separate bathroom.

"I love the aquas and browns," said Marie.

On the opposite side of the apartment is Marie's master bedroom suite, done in a soft creme and olive.

She points to a wedding photo showing a beautiful bride in taffeta, seed pearl and Alencon lace inset.

"I paid $97 for my wedding gown," said Marie, with a laugh.

She then looks at the other party in the photo - her groom, Eugene, who she met in 1953, while he was assigned to McGuire Air Force Base.

"My husband, he was such a dream," said Marie.

Between the bedroom and bathroom is the laundry area.

"I have a huge, mega washer and dryer for apartment size," said Marie.

Before leaving we take a tour of the top floor of the building. As impressive as the lobby is, this is one stunning space that completely wows with architectural and design detail. With a multitude of seating, entertainment and business areas, there is space galore.

"I just love the appointments in here," said Marie and it was easy to see why.

Also here are an outdoor pool, fitness center with yoga room, business center with Apple computers at the ready, meeting spaces and a grand community room complete with a bar, atop which is a selection of coffees and teas, as well a pitcher of ice water with fresh lemons.

A beautifully landscaped terrace offers up sweeping views over all of Annapolis, including downtown, over to the Bay Bridge and beyond.

"I've met wonderful people here - they're very, very friendly," Marie said.

The community happy hours is just one of the perks Marie said she likes. The most recent, open to all residents and guests, was catered by neighboring P.F. Chang's.

As this writer was preparing to leave, Marie presented a plate of freshly made biscotti.

"I made this for you - biscotti," she said. "Its anise flavored; it's one of the best Italian desserts."

It definitely was that.

For as happy as Marie is in her new home, her new hometown and Mariner Bay are incredibly fortunate to have her.