A coffin in the living room. Mirrors and black Gothic crosses surrounding the bed. A backyard bar with real cemetery gates and headstones — complete with a TV inside the back end of a hearse.
The one-bedroom, one-bathroom house on Townsend Avenue in Brooklyn Park, listed online for $225,000, barely resembles the “gingerbread” one Billy Nicholson’s mother left him in 2014.
“It’s basically my twisted imagination coming to life,” the 54-year-old basement waterproofer said in a phone interview Monday.
It all started, Nicholson said, with the backyard bar.
He knew he wanted a theme but hadn’t settled on what. Then something caught his eye.
“I was working in Virginia one day, and I seen the cemetery gates leaning up against the barn of an old mom-and-pop shop,” he said. “And that’s more or less what gave me the idea. Let’s do cemetery gates.”
He bought the headstones from a cemetery. He hired a mason to install the 14-foot stone wet bar with granite pillars and 6-foot fire pit. He commissioned a Brian Propst, a Glen Burnie artist, to paint a cemetery mural on the side of the detached, 12-by-37-foot garage. A shed is labeled “CRYPT.”
“Whoever walks around the backyard, when they see the garage, they’re going to be blown away,” Nicholson said.
Inside it: A 1972 hearse, what else?
“That may be up for sale as well, if someone who wants the house wants the hearse,” Nicholson said.
Back to the house itself. The gray formstone and black roof and accents only hint at the horror-themed, 1,540-square-foot interior.
Nicholson, a big Las Vegas (formerly Oakland) Raiders fan who typically travels to one game a year, has framed jerseys of quarterback Ken “Snake” Stabler, safety Jack Tatum, receiver Tim Brown and center Jim Otto arranged in the shape of a cross on the kitchen wall near a display containing eight signed Raiders helmets.
The living room, like most of the house, has black carpeting and mostly black furniture. Alongside the coffin by the stairs, the room is accentuated with pictures of a guillotine, an old hearse and a scene from “The Ring,” and a three-dimensional fixture of a ghost reaching out from a wall.
Coffin-shaped fixtures, and a coffin-shaped clock, flank a large, flat-screen TV.
Upstairs is a single bedroom, with a black church pew, black carpeting, a black chandelier and black spider-web railings. The mirror-surrounded bed is also black, as is the bedding.
The listing calls the black-walled basement “a recreation room open for your imagination.”
The big-screen TV and black leather recliners used to be joined by 20 or so life-sized figures from horror movies, including “The Exorcist,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th,” which Nicholson said he bought from The Scary Closet, an online store that sells horror props.
“The real estate agent thought it would be best to remove all that,” he said. “They’re actually in my fiancée’s garage.”
Nicholson said his house is on the market because he’s moving into her home in Frederick, which has more space. She loves the decor of his Anne Arundel house, he said.
He thinks his mom would have, too, since she was the one who took him to see horror movies when he was a child. When he was designing the bar, he searched the internet for inspiration and found only one bar like it, in New Orleans — and that one only had a single hearse.
“Everything was off the top of my head,” he said. “You’re not going to find any place like it.”