Climbing the Walls
Step into Larry and Warrenetta Baker’s home in the
Palisades neighborhood of Bethesda and the ;rst
large room to the right will not be ;lled with art or
a grand piano, as it was with the previous owners.
There is no dining room table or even a couch.
Instead, the room, with its 22-foot-tall vaulted
ceiling, has a climbing wall, regulation height (10-
foot) basketball hoop and a bare heart pine ;oor.
“We are not into fancy entertaining,” says
Warrenetta, a corporate tax attorney. “We wanted
the space to be fun. We set it up to be kid-friendly.”
The Bakers created the indoor ;tness area
in their contemporary home in 2011, when their
sons were young. Larry, a retired attorney, built the
climbing wall, using plywood panels with climbing
holds. The panels are secured to the studs but can
be rearranged into different con;gurations to adjust
the level of dif;culty. On snowy days when their
dead-end street was among the last to be plowed
and the kids were stuck inside, the climbing wall
was a big draw.
“Boy heaven,” Larry says, echoing the words his
parents used when referring to the house, which
also has a foosball table, pool table and pingpong
table on the main level.
Although their sons are now 19 and 23, the
climbing wall is still used. “My personal trainer
recommended some stretches for me to do on it,”
Originally, most walls in the house were beige.
When the Bakers installed the climbing wall and
basketball hoop, they chose colors with a playful
vibe. “It was a big open space with lots of angles
and freestanding walls,” says Debbie Wiener, owner
of Designing Solutions in Silver Spring, who helped
Warrenetta transform the space. “She wanted fun,
and I felt the colors ;t her personality.” They chose
Benjamin Moore’s Jalapeño Pepper green for the
climbing wall and Salsa Dancing red for the wall
behind the basketball hoop. n
Larry and Warrenetta Baker wanted
a large space in their home to be
fun and kid-friendly. Larry built the
climbing wall with plywood panels and