Home & Living

Take a Look Inside This 1920s Bungalow in Towson’s Idlewylde Neighborhood

Owner Vanessa Milio shows us around her warm, welcoming, and intentional home.

A Creative Evolution: I think my home, like most people’s homes, evolves with our family. Navigating life with a toddler is very different from life as an empty nester. Time, patience, and budget are drastically different at those times and that has probably been the biggest life lesson for me when it comes to creating a home—your house gets to reflect you and where you are in life, and that’s a good thing.

A Room With A View: Typically, my favorite room is whichever one I have just updated. The way the house is laid out, you can stand in the kitchen and see through to the dining room and living room, and I often smile when I get that long view because while the rooms serve different purposes, they all speak to each other.

The front room many would consider small, just 11-by-12 feet, and has been a preschooler’s playroom, a homework station, a spare bedroom, and now my home office. The windows fill the space with natural light and many of my plants thrive there. Someone asked if I had too many plants, and my answer was, “Define too many.” There are currently 53, including a Schlumbergera truncata that is almost 30 years old.

Merry-land: I am a Marylander through and through. Both of my parents were born here. When my brother and I were born, my parents wanted us to grow up more rurally, and we spent most of our childhood in Carroll County. I left for college and swore I would never come back. But I moved back in my late 20s and bought a house near Patterson Park through the Patterson Park Community Development Corp. After my son was born, we moved to Idlewylde and have lived here for almost 20 years.

The Art of Upcycling: In the front room of my house is a large brown leather couch. I knew it needed a bit more structure and wanted to find a way to add elements of an heirloom Hudson Bay blanket. The blanket was gifted to me by my Aunt Eleanor in the 1980s and I used it for years, taking it from college dorms to NYC apartments and my first home in Baltimore.

I noticed it was started to show its age and put it away “for safe keeping.” But beautiful family heirlooms don’t belong tucked away in a box in the closet. The dynamic team of upholsterers at Savoir Chair helped bring my idea to life and transformed my sketches into the perfect additions to the couch.

Travel Near and Far: We are a family that loves to travel, and our home is filled with nods to our adventures, from the collection of whimsical magnets to artwork to the bowl of small rocks we’ve picked up along the way.

I was raised to be curious, to ask questions, and to explore, and I was intentional about raising my son the same way. Our home is filled with things that enable curiosity while also being a comfortable hideaway, a place to rest when the world is too much.