March-April 2016 | WELCOME HOME




Memo and Veronique Diriker essentially lived in just three rooms of their dated Salisbury Colonial for 18 years. When the stove finally died, they decided to embrace the opportunity to truly love where they live

Written By: Jonathan Westman | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

For as traveled and accomplished as Memo and Veronique Diriker are, their dark and dated Salisbury home of 18 years hardly reflected their personalities and tastes. Hailing from Istanbul, Memo holds a Doctorate in Business Administration and is the director of the Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University. The Parisienne Veronique holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and is the director of development at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, in addition to being an accomplished artist. Yet, the couple essentially lived in just three rooms of their 3,000 sq. ft. home due to its compartmentalized nature: their bedroom, the kitchen and the dining area, which featured its piece de resistance — a sweeping panoramic view of Schumaker Pond.

Sure, they’d talked about updating the 35-year-old Colonial, but the timing was never ideal with their busy schedules, so the topic was always tabled. That changed the moment their stove died. “The refrigerator was on the way out, too, and new appliances were not going to be a part of this old-looking home,” Veronique recalled. “It was finally time to make this house our home.”

Memo and Veronique had been making mental design notes and wish lists for nearly two decades. They enlisted the services of Becker Morgan Group senior associate Christopher L. Pattey, Assoc. AIA, to bring them to life.

“This was a typical Colonial house that needed to enter 2016, especially with the incredible view right out back,” Pattey said. “The primary objectives were to improve the flow and function of the space and to provide Memo and Veronique with the modern elements they’ve always wanted.”

To accomplish these tasks, Pattey created a floor plan that maximized the structure’s footprint but didn’t actually change the square footage of the home. By removing walls and reassigning rooms, he was able to provide the Dirikers with open and naturally welcoming spaces that invite the homeowners and their guests on a seamless and scenic tour of the main level.

Construction of the project was professionally managed and conducted by the father-son team of Dean and Jamie Gladden of Gladden Construction. The seven-month undertaking required that Memo and Veronique move out during this time, but the creativity of Pattey’s design and its flawless execution by the Gladdens made any inconveniences seem minor in the end.

The Diriker home now features many bright and airy highlights — including their spacious open kitchen, which features quartz countertops, a grand island and a large picture window that unifies two existing windows (formerly occupying two different rooms), creating an expansive and unobstructed view of the pond. To expand this area, the laundry room, which originally faced the pond, was moved toward the front of the home and enlarged, offering direct garage access for the first time. Beautiful pocket doors, enhanced with frosted glass, conceal this space from the kitchen and add to its modern feel.

The sunroom, formerly the dining area, is now an intimate gathering place enjoyed during morning coffee and after the workday, with the serenity of the pond and its habituating wildlife teaming to soothe on command.

“This is a gem of a location, with a remarkable view that now exclusively focuses on the beauty and location of their site,” Pattey observed.

The dining room was reassigned to the front of the home — and it truly delights in its new state. Here, a handsome fireplace, painted in bold red and black, anchors the room as Veronique’s captivating artwork provides added interest throughout. Another focal point of the room is its grand dining table. The Dirikers are stewards of history, and this table dates back generations. Its past and purposes are diverse. Originally, it served as a worktable at Season’s Best Clothing factory in Salisbury, and upon closer inspection, one can see the holes used to anchor the company’s sewing machines. The table’s next owner was Donny Williams, who conducted the first-ever board meeting for his company, Alarm Guard, around it. A note still affixed to the underside details the date, those in attendance and the name of a pre-paper-trained puppy that made a mess on the floor beneath it before it was completed. When the company closed its doors, the table was consigned to Holly’s Antiques, from which the Dirikers purchased it in 2000.

The family room, opposite the sunroom, is highlighted by an impressive porcelain tile wall that encases a modern fireplace. Here, the couple enjoys TV shows, movies and cuddling with their black Labrador retriever, Seamus.

Other updates include a powder room (formerly a study), a master-suite closet expansion (Memo and Veronique now enjoy their own walk-in spaces) and a newly redesigned master bathroom, which features heated floors, a state-of-the-art Japanese-inspired toilet and a multi-jet shower that also offers a view of Schumaker Pond. Engineered hardwood flooring, imported from Guatemala, encompasses most of the space and serves as the first functionally aesthetic selection of the makeover. They also purchased new stainless-steel appliances to replace the dying dinosaur models that occupied space in the kitchen for decades.

The dominant color combination of red, black and white is bright, cheerful and edgy, according to Veronique, who said she and Memo really wanted to push the envelope and try something different.

“We love the colors,” she said. “They bring energy. Even though the colors are very bold, we feel at peace here. It’s our happy place. The ‘Wow!’ moment came for me with the kitchen backsplash. It set the tone for the entire color palette.”

“To me, the combination of black and red is cozy. It feels like home,” Memo added.

The final step in the process involved hanging Veronique’s artwork (an activity she relished) and scrupulously reintroducing in strategic locations special keepsakes and artifacts from their world travels. These treasures include an antique icebox, a Turkish copper pot, used to cook rice for an entire village during festive ceremonies, and the original telephone owned by Veronique’s parents in France.

“Because I am so far away from my family, my father knew that I would appreciate something that reminded me of my childhood, and I am so grateful he shared this with me,” Veronique said.

Today, Memo and Veronique frequently and proudly entertain family, friends and colleagues in their newly redesigned home.

“Sometimes, because of the world we live in, people look at a home as a financial vehicle rather than a place to live their lives,” Memo said. “We put a lot of value into the enjoyment level of this home. I believe more people should view their homes in this manner. What’s the point of amassing the financial side if you’re not going to enjoy it?”







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