Friday, April 9, 2021

On the Market: 3700 Greenway

I have written about the Gateway Houses, the addresses of which are 3701 St. Paul Street and 3700 Greenway before, but now Greenway has gone on the market, so I am writing about it again.

This house was last on the market in 2013, and I wrote about it on my old blog, Pigtown*Design, here.

The same realtor is selling the house, and here's what he has to say about the house:

Situated at the entrance to Guilford, this stunning Palmer-Lamdin designed home makes quite the statement. Surrounded by 4 acres of park, it gives you the sense of being in a private estate, yet you are conveniently close to Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Campus, the BMA, Union Memorial hospital, the shops and restaurants of Charles Village, the Rotunda and so much more. A walled front garden greets you as you approach this classic Guilford home. Enter into the two-story foyer with curved staircase and then on to the generously proportioned living space with large living room, huge sunporch, elegant dining room and remodeled eat-in kitchen. The second floor offers you a generously sized main bedroom suite with walk-in closet and private full bath, plus there are an additional three bedrooms and another full and remodeled bathroom. The lower level has ample storage and space for a fifth bedroom. Plus a two-car attached garage! A rare gem!

I love this sweeping staircase, and the fanlight over the front door. This house has about a dozen sets of French doors, which are wonderful. (But if you want to be taken seriously as a reader, don't shelve your books by color.)
The two Gateway houses share a center parking area, each house with its own garage. So you better hope that you and your neighbor get along well. 

Do you like the house painted white, or in the original brick color?

The listing is here

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

No. 4 Millbrook Road

No. 4 Millbrook Road is probably one of Palmer & Lamdin's least interesting houses, as far as I can discern. It's basically a four-square Colonial design, with none of P&L's trademark details. It was built in 1926, the same time as they were building some of their spectacular houses including 231 Chancery Road, the Gateway Houses, and 3707 Greenway

I am wondering if the first floor windows were originally casement windows. And do you think that the sunporch on the left side of the house needs more windows?

There's a curious addition on the back of the house that I am still trying to understand. 

This might help a little. 

Anyway... not their best work. Here's the listing for the house from 2018. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Villa Pace

Villa Pace was the home of famed opera singer, Rosa Ponselle, who at one point, was married to the son of the Mayor of Baltimore City. Palmer & Lamdin designed the villa and the grounds to Miss Ponselle's specifications in 1940. 

Villa Pace is located on a 40-acre estate on the north side of the Green Spring Valley Road, just  north of Baltimore City. The house was designed in the style of an Italian villa, not Palmer & Lamdin's only house in this style. 

Miss Ponselle was a larger than life opera singer who traveled around the world singing in grand and great theatres. The HABS report says this: Villa Pace has been carefully constructed in the mold of an Italian Villa. Its cross-shape form and elaborate interior detailing are completely in keeping with the professional occupation of its owner, Rosa Ponselle, a world-renown opera star.

HABS continues: The seventeen-room house was built by Miss Ponselle and her former husband Carle A. Jackson in 1940. Designed by Palmer and Lambden,[sic] Baltimore architects, it carried a post-war price tag of $500,000. Villa Pace was named after an aria Miss Ponselle sang on the night of her debut with the famous Enrico Caruso at the Metropolitan Opera.

Later accounts of the house detail the fittings and furnishings, including centuries old tapestries and brocades; a life-size portrait of Miss Ponselle;

a red velvet couch and a turquoise leather sofa; a circular marble bathroom; all of the colors of the Madonna (blue, gold and white); and much, much more! Miss Ponselle seemed to be a diva in every sense of the word.

On Christmas Eve of 1979, much of the house was destroyed by fire and a long battle with the insurance companies ensued. While it only took eight months to for the original construction of Villa Pace, the renovations and restorations dragged on for several years. The piano alone cost more than $7,000 to restore. An article from 1982 details the restoration as the house was being prepared to be sold.

Miss Ponselle had thought the house would be preserved as a memorial to her musical career, but she didn't endow the project, so after several court battles, it all fell apart. 

The house has passed through several sets of private hands, and still sits high on a hill overlooking the Green Spring Valley. Sadly, the yew hedges along the road in front of the house have grown so high that you can no longer see Villa Pace from the road. You can find more information herehere and here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Fayetteville Stable

Last month, I wrote about a house in Fayetteville, NC. The new owners had kindly sent me pictures and blueprints of the house, which had been owned by his great-grandparents. 

A few days ago, he sent me a picture his aunt had found of the stables at the house, which has now been converted into a guest house. 

The guest house is absolutely charming, with the dovecote tower on the roof and the wonderful metal casement windows, both signatures of Palmer & Lamdin.

It's such fun to see original pictures of P&L's work! Thanks for sharing, DB!

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

2211 South Road, Baltimore

Occasionally, I just enter Palmer & Lamdin into the Google, just to see if anything new pops up. And lo and behold, today I found something new: 2211 South Road, in the Mt. Washington section of Baltimore. 

This house is a little later than most of theirs, having been built in 1938. It's three bedrooms and one full bath, plus a two car garage. Apparently, it listed and sold almost simultaneously in 2013. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Late, Lamented Homewood Garage

Those of use who have lived in Baltimore for ages, might remember the beautiful (!) Homewood Garage, which was located on St. Paul Street, just above 33rd Street. It was originally built for the residents of the nearby Cambridge Apartments. Because of where it was located, it needed to be somewhat elegant, and P&L were just the firm to accomplish that. 

In 1926, plans were submitted to the city for a garage to serve the Cambridge Apartments which were on 34th Street between St. Paul and Charles Streets. 

Construction started a few months later, which was mentioned in the Baltimore Sun. (If you look at the article above, you'll notice that Lamdin's name is mis-spelled as Lambdin.)

In September of 1930, the garage was featured in the Architectural Forum as part of an article about garages. 
The Homewood Garage also featured in a specialist publication called "The Modern Garage" which looks like it was published to promote the D'Humy Motoramp Garage system. The first image is from that publication.

Sadly, the handsome Homewood Garage was torn down in 2003 to build the bland and boring "Charles Village Project." The garage and another building were torn down, and then the lot sat empty for a number of years. Hopkins has a history of tearing down buildings and then leaving the property as a vacant lot for ages (see: seven houses at the Wyman Park Dell to be demolished).

If anyone has images of the late Homewood Garage, please send them to me at pigtowndesign at juno dot com.

Monday, January 4, 2021

In the Wild: Fayetteville, NC

I was completely surprised to get an email from someone telling me that they'd just purchased a Palmer & Lamdin house in Fayetteville, NC! When I went back and looked at the project list from P&L and the successor firms, this house was not listed. But once I saw it, and the owner (DB) shared the blueprints, I knew it was authentic.

(Please excuse the hideously over HDR'd photos from the real estate listing)

Interestingly, the house had originally been built for DB's maternal great-grandfather. He had heard that there was some connection between this house and Biltmore, but it wasn't until his brother found the original blueprints, and DB did a little research, that he understood the connection. 

The house was designed in the few years when the firm was Palmer, Willis & Lamdin were working together. The partnership did not last long, and there is scant information about J. Swing Willis. 

There are many of PW&L's trademark features in this house, including a turret, casement windows, a façade that both advances and recedes, a loggia with a peaked wooden ceiling and much more. 

DB told me that he's going to be painting and updating the house to make it more comfortable with the original style. Additionally, he's going to be returning some of the home's original furnishings to where they belong. 

DB also thinks that there might be more information about the house in some family files. I will look forward to seeing them, and sharing them with you.

Here are some additional photographs of the house. 

Thanks so much to DB for his generosity in sharing his house and adding to the Palmer & Lamdin catalogue raissonné.