Tour -- 1st Floor


Meet Thorbjörn

This cute little guy is named Thorbjörn (in English, "Thunder Bear"); he's the mascot for Björnslottet and your tour guide. (Look closely and you'll find him in most of the photographs). He was given to us by our Swedish friends Matts and Anders, who helped us name the house. We created this tour sometime near Christmas 1997, only a few months after we'd moved in. There have been a number of changes in the interior--more decorating, more furniture, more messy--but it's still the same house.



After several years of searching for a suitable place where they might establish their primary residence, in mid-1996 Isaac and Jeff selected their current property in Bowie, Maryland. With ground-breaking on 12 October of that year, contruction by Maryland Home Development, Mr. Jos. Hunt, Jr., President, actually began in November and continued throughout the winter and spring, reaching substantial completion in May 1997. Possession of the current building took place on the Feast of St. Austin of Canterbury, 27 May 1997. Since that time, the residents of Björnslottet have endeavored to create an inviting ambience to welcome their friends.

The Exterior

The facade is a traditional American Colonial design, consonant with other nearby homes. Due to the topography of the hillside where it and its neighboring homes are built, Björnslottet is situated on a terrace and embraced by a retaining wall, thus providing shelter from the buffets of wind and rain and securing for the rear of the house a spectacular amount of privacy uncommon on most similar dwellings of this area. While horticulutural design has not yet been finalized, a yellow garden is being established on the west side of the main entrance, featuring the lovely butter-yellow English Rose "Graham Thomas".

entry with huntboard

The Tour

Upon entering the house, one finds oneself in The Foyer, featuring a huntboard made by Thos. Seeley of West Virginia, a large multimedia "Annunciation" by Hank Lifson of Iowa, a small easel with an icon, a brass crucifix of Russian design, commemorative medallions and the all-important Guest Book. It is the heart-felt desire of the inmate/proprietors that you make your mark in this book for the pleasure of said owners and for the edification of posterity. Also displayed here is one of the numerous bears (lower right) which adorn the home and lend their name to the house.

entering library

Turning to the right, one enters The Library, also known as The Oak Room. Displayed above the roll-top desk is one of the larger oil paintings by Renzo Pin, of Rome (see below). Many of the volumes of the Björnslottet book collection are located here. The collection, displayed throughout the house, comprises works on almost every aspect of human existence, from history and biography to science and philosophy, including a large number of science fiction titles, murder mysteries and trashy novels.

exiting library

Proceeding directly ahead, we pass through the hallway with The First Floor Bath on the right and enter ...

studio with windows

...The Studio. This L-shaped space will see the creation of many masterpieces in the years to come, as Isaac and Jeff indulge themselves in painting and pot-throwing. We also have a stunning view of The Retaining Wall in the back of the house. We next move to the left and enter...

front of long room

... The Long Room, in this view seen from the rear of the house looking towards the front. Barely visible in this view are: wood carvings by Tom Williams of British Columbia, gifts from the Very Rev. William Morrison, Canon of Victoria, B.C.; a copy of the crucifix from the pastoral staff of Pope Paul VI, purchased in Luxembourg; two monoprints by Anna Meyer-Zachurski, a Washington-based artist; two terra cotta pieces by D. Brudy of Arizona; and ...

nicholas' madonna

...a hand-painted icon of the Virgin by the Right Reverend Archimandrite Nicholas Hughes of Ohio (used for our housewarming & blessing in September 1997).

rear of long room

Viewing The Long Room from the front towards the rear of the house, of particular interest are the following: the natural maple flooring, the array of windows surrounding the fireplace, the overhanging loft on the upper level of the interior, and the large expanse of the room itself, covering the entire depth of the house.


Many of the paintings in the Long Room, such as these above The Fireplace, are from the hand of Renzo Pin, a dear friend of many years who lives in Rome; Björnslottet is the repository of the largest collection of Pin works in the western hemisphere of which only a small selection are currently displayed. Other pieces in the room include a landscape by Paula Egolf of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

kitchen from long room

Turning from this point to face leftward one views The Kitchen with its abundance of cookbooks and natural maple cabinets.


Turning to the right we find the stairs which lead to the second floor of the house.