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. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

On the Market: 4202 Greenway

Stunning all brick Edward L. Palmer design Georgian home, just steps from the splendid Sherwood Gardens! The beautiful bones of this Guilford gem have been seamlessly updated and expanded over time, including new HVAC, slate and copper roofs, plumbing and electrical systems.

Walk through the gracious foyer and admire the hardwood flooring with inlaid mahogany borders, double pocket doors and coved crown molding.

The formal living room and dining room, both with fireplaces, share these features.

An enclosed sunroom and pergola off the living room provide wonderful flow for entertainment, as well as relaxation.

A gourmet kitchen addition (2019) with large sun-drenched breakfast area showcases exposed brick, hardwood flooring, soapstone counters, custom cabinetry, a farmhouse sink and upscale stainless-steel appliances, with a welcoming adjoining covered porch.

The second and third floors boast seven bedrooms with gorgeous heart pine flooring, ample closet space and exquisite moldings.

Two bedrooms have been converted to an in-home office and a glorious walk-in closet. The three full baths have been entirely renovated.

Outdoor spaces, including brick patios and cook center, are designed to invite both intimate and large gatherings to enjoy the exquisite green-spaces, which include more formal gardens inside the brick walls and an inviting large private park-like yard beyond, something unexpected in the middle of the city.

This is a home built for families and comfortable living. The listing is here.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Update on Ken Oak Road

Sometimes, I get comments on posts that have been published ages ago, and they are frequently from someone who had lived, or lives in the house. It's always fun to get a first-hand perspective on living in a P&L house. 

Last week, I received a comment from someone who had lived in the house I wrote about on Ken Oak Road in Mt. Washington. The commenter said that he'd lived in the house from 1976 to 1990. 

He said his room was the one above the garage, formerly the maid's rooms. From the little piece of the plan he sent along, it looks like it was a little suite with an attached bath. 
Here's what else he had to say when I asked him how he'd found the P&L website: 

Reminiscing with my mom and doing a Google search on the architects. I was born in 1969 and we moved into Ken Oak February of 1976. It was off seeing the true front of the house on Cross Country Boulevard, yet have the Ken Oak Road address. The back yard used to be a flat area with a small sloping hill down to the sidewalk and bus stop. My parents added a pool and the fence summer of 1976. The shrubs offer a natural boundary by the bus stop and sidewalk. The fence was closer to the pool and pushed back to present day in 1982. 

The garage. I realize some people have a door with six or eight glass panels to let light in. My parents were fine with it staying solid wood. We found out in 1986 that every upstairs floor was hardwood covered with carpet. I had mine pulled up to enjoy that flooring the last few years. The front foyer bathroom also had a large wrap around mirror, so on the side panels you could see multiple reflections. 

My commenter was also kind enough the send me a 1980's photo of the kitchen. 

Sadly, it is in black and white, because the 1970's technicolor wallpaper must have been something!

Thanks so much to my commenter. Your comment and email were much appreciated!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

On the Market: 215 Goodale Road

I love reading real estate listings because they can be so fanciful. Take this one for 215 Goodale Road:

Designed and built in 1929 and believed to be the only "Cotswold" design by Palmer & Lamdin in Baltimore, this magnificent tribute to the Fine Arts is a showcase of architectural features and bygone craftsmanship.

Resembling a cottage in Gloucestershire, it was constructed for T. Russell Hicks by his family firm, Thomas Hicks & Sons, Inc. who was one of the foremost builders of Palmer & Lamdin homes in the area. For him, this home was to both illustrate and promote his comprehensive knowledge of his trade and his personal tastes as executed by his talented tradesmen.

I think it's pretty funny that they're claiming that this is the "only" Cotswold design by P&L, since that's pretty much their signature style. Having spent considerable time in the Cotswolds, I don't think this is typical of the style of houses there. I mean, where is the thatch???

It looks like the house might have it's original specs manual, because some of the information she has is super detailed. I emailed the agent, so we'll see if she answers... I'd love to get a copy of the specs. Here is some of what's in the description: 

Exterior features of the "Cotswold" include a barrel ceiling and rubbed green and purple slate floor in the central entrance hall, beaded casement windows glazed in first quality Baltimore "AA" double thick cylinder glass, hardwood floors of tongue and groove Clear Ritter Appalachian Highland Oak, white Italian marble flooring in the Powder Room, 6" baseboards made of No. 1 Yellow Poplar, built-in bookcases,

paneled jambs and soffits, fluted trims and crown moulding, plaster walls furred with 1" thick cork for insulation, two wood burning fireplaces, the main stairway with treads and risers made of clear heart white oak with poplar skirting and a black walnut handrail,
outside doors and window frames constructed of No. 1 Gulf Cypress with heart Georgia pine sub-sills and 1 1/4" thick black slate sills, gables filled with casements and chimneys standing in silhouette and even the original "push bell " annunciator in the kitchen!

The January 1931 write-up of the house was a little more restrained, describing is as a simpler farm-like house of England or France.

And here is another image from the 1931 Roland Park Gardens, Homes & People. 
It is interesting that the original elevations were included with the real estate listing. 

It's a nice house and it looks like all of the former owners have taken care to leave many of the original details, including the little nook in the living room, which is so charming. 
However, I will need someone to explain this to me.
Kind of defeats the purpose of having a garage, doesn't it?

The listing is here

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Renovations at St. Paul Court

I drive by St. Paul Court almost every day on my way to work, after picking up my daily bagel. In recent weeks, I have noticed that there is some work going on at the building. Scaffolding has gone up and dumpsters are on the street. 

When I went to pick up lunch the other day, I was able to snap a picture.

It looks like the building is being re-stuccoed. Workmen have taped off the windows and are chipping off the old (and probably original) stucco. They are re-applying the stucco and re-painting it. I am hoping they leave the original details alone. I guess after nearly 100 years, that it was time for a facelift.  

I drove by recently, and they've done a lot more work. It looks like they are keeping the details. 
The building will look great when they are finished! Stay tuned!

Monday, November 16, 2020

4604 Kerneway (Updated)

Update: The house settled earlier this week and was purchased for $455k, which was $125k above the asking price. Hopefully, the new owners will respect the architecture of the house. 

This house at 4604 Kerneway was on the market for about a week, with more than 15 showings scheduled each day, a massively successful open house on Saturday, and then offers for the house due on Sunday evening! 

I'd like to think that the reason for this was that it was an unusual Palmer & Lamdin house, but in all actuality, it was the price: $325,000. That is a seriously low price for houses in this area, at this time of low interest rates, but the house needs a lot of work. The same owners have occupied it for more than 30 years, and it showed! 

Regardless of all of that, this house is really unusual, but wonderful.

To begin, the sort of U-shaped house looks like it's maybe one-and-a-half stories. The top of the front door reaches nearly to the roofline. 

What's hard to see in this image is that there are windows at ground level, partly obscured by the plantings. You enter the house into a hallway, and immediately to the right, behind a wall, is the staircase. Down about six steps and to the right and left, are the living room and the dining room, which leads back to a kitchen wing and then a small bedroom and bath. 

When you enter the living and dining rooms, there are windows at the front of the house with radiators beneath them. What you don't really realize from the interior is that the sill of the window is aligned with the ground, and the radiator is below grade. 

Since the property slopes towards the back, the rest of the house is at ground level. 

Luckily, the original plans came with the house, so we could look at them and see what Palmer & Lamdin intended. Sadly, they were in poor shape, and although there was a set of velums, there wasn't a place to unroll them that would allow clear photographs.

The living room had a beautiful fireplace at one end, which was a half of an octagon. As mentioned the front windows were sash style, and the rear windows were French doors, leading to a garden. 

The dining room is across the marble-floored hall from the living room, and it also has a fireplace. The original etched glass sconces are still in place, just one of the myriad details in this house.

Off of the dining room, there is a small room down a few steps and with a low-hanging light in the middle. Initially, I thought it was a billiards room, but then upon re-thinking it, it might be a card room. 

There is a great old pantry across from the kitchen and I sincerely hope that no-one rips it out. 

It has tons of space for china and linens and a great old porcelain sink with more shelves above it. Honestly, you could keep everything in the room, but just refresh it. Just beyond the kitchen, which needs to be redone, there is a small bed/bath suite. I am guessing this was originally for a cook. 

As you head upstairs, either through the back stairs or the main stairs in the front of the house, you come to a small overlook. 

And looking in the other direction, down the hallway to several bedrooms and ending at what looks like another servant's room. 
The main bedroom, with an en suite bathroom filled with original or early plumbing, has the same semi-octagonal end. It also features French doors in either side of the room. 
So, what looks like it might be the main floor with the big windows, from the outside, it's actually the floor with the bedrooms.

As I mentioned, the house is filled with details, including jib doors which hide closets, leaded glass with stars, interesting carvings, 

loads and loads of arched doors and windows (someone said too many!),

and the seriously beautiful front door. 
Almost all of the doors were about 1.5" to 2" thick! Really incredible. 

It is so lucky that the original blueprints are available and it was a lot of fun going over them with a friend. 

I still don't know the final offer amount for the house, but I will update this post once I learn. The house needs a lot of work, and it will be a treasure once it's finished.