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Renovations create a home that’s ideal for entertaining

Leonard Sachs and Lainy LeBow-Sachs have turned their world outside-in.

Renovations and additions to the Baltimore couple’s home make it ideal not only for entertaining large groups, but for entertaining birds, too.

Fond of plants and flowering shrubs as well, Sachs built a solarium that defies the seasons.

And the flagstone that was once the exterior of the house is now part of the study, den and informal dining area, giving the house a rustic quality.

“It is the perfect place to come home to,” said LeBow-Sachs, an executive vice president at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, which serves individuals with developmental disorders or injuries.

The couple has been married for almost half of the 47 years Sachs has lived here, and the house has gone through a number of major renovations and additions.

“The house has seen a lot of different lives,” said Jay Jenkins, interior designer for three rooms: the kitchen, the solarium and the first-floor master bedroom.

The bedroom is surrounded on two sides by large windows that look out on a cluster of birdhouses and bird feeders and birdbaths. The couple can see a variety of birds arrive, eat, bathe and depart.

“We fill the feeders every Monday,” LeBow-Sachs said. “And in the morning, we lay in bed and watch.”

“You have to be very still,” said Sachs. “They notice any movement in the house.”

Netting surrounds the bird sanctuary to keep out cats and other predators. The area is planted with flowering shrubs and wisteria to attract the birds.

“Interacting with the outdoors is very important to both of them,” said Jenkins.

The second floor, where all the original bedrooms are located, now serves as the pied-a-terre for the couple’s blended family: five children and nine grandchildren.

And the kitchen, with family pictures everywhere, is more than up to the task of feeding the crew – or 200 guests at a fundraiser.

“I used to do a lot more cooking – I even made my own bread,” said LeBow-Sachs, the longtime aide to the late Gov. William Donald Schaefer. “When I stop working, I will go back to cooking.”

The Sachses are patrons of the arts in Baltimore as well as civic causes. Leonard Sachs chaired the restoration of Penn Station and commissioned the signature “Man/Woman” sculpture out front.

The couple used to do a great deal of traveling, too, and mementos abound. LeBow-Sachs has a collection of tiny Limoges boxes, of whimsical teakettles, of paperweights and of elephants.

The art on display also reflects the couple’s travels and is a dynamic mix of bold colors and geometric designs.

They have safaried in Africa and biked in Switzerland, France and Holland. They have hiked in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies and visited China, Russia and Norway, and gone white-water rafting in Yellowstone.

Life has slowed for both, and now their favorite destination is the solarium. It extends from what used to be the front of the house down toward the pool.

Glass-enclosed and with an irrigation/sprinkler system, the in-ground garden is planted with orchids and a variety of green and flowering plants and is gently lit from the rafters above at night.

“Even in winter, I am surrounded by flowers and plants,” Sachs said.

On display in the solarium is the flag that draped Schaefer’s coffin, presented to LeBow-Sachs after the services, which she coordinated. But it was clearly Sachs’s space before the changes.

“She wanted to be there with him,” said Jenkins. “Our job was to make the room a more special place for the two of them to spend time together.”

On the coffee table are heavily annotated bird books, with colored strips marking pages covering birds they have seen outside the windows of their home.

“So many different kinds,” said LeBow-Sachs. “Sometimes we can’t find them in any of our books. But they are here for us.”

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