Monday, November 18, 2019

On the Market: 225 Wendover Road

When I was putting together the catalogue raisonn√© for Palmer & Lamdin, I was surprised at how many houses they designed on Wendover Road. There are at least ten for which I have documentation. It looks like No. 225 has just gone on the market. 
One of the most charming things about this house is the gorgeous and typically Palmeresque front entrance. 
Unlike a lot of houses in Guilford, this one isn't overwhelmingly huge! It's four bedrooms and is filled with lots of light. There are two, possibly three sunrooms (I WISH they would add floor plans of houses!).
When you look at the aerial view, there are sunrooms on both sides of the house and possibly another on the back of the house.
The whole house has been recently revitalized and renovated and there are a lot of new light fixtures, etc. 
It looks like there's a sun room off the back of the house on the second floor, but again, hard to tell from the pictures. 
Even though parking isn't an issue here, there's a stand-alone garage, which is great. 
It also looks like there is a patio on the rear of the house. That fountain reminds me of another P&L house I wrote about... can't remember which one though!
The house is four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, and is on the market for $749,000. The listing information is here.

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Northway Apartments: A Long Saga with an Unhappy Ending

Since the early 1930's, the Northway Apartment, has stood on North Charles Street and Bishops Road. It's set back from a small park, with beautiful classical designs and stepped back sections. Urns adorn the corners to give it an air of elegance. The ground floor is lit by beautiful double-height Palladian windows. The lobby was filled with elaborate mill- and plaster-work. It was an address to be coveted, and many families from Guilford and Roland Park moved there when they downsized, and families from the counties used it as their pied √† terre.
My sources tell me that this was once a place of grace and charm, with huge apartments, designed to look like Guilford homes. They had front and rear entrances, copious details including cedar closets, french doors, and residents who lived the life of elegance and faded grandeur. The lobby boasted Art Deco details, and plaster motifs including seahorses and flying geese.
Right from its start, there were problems with this building. Actually, even before it was built, the neighbors objected strenuously to it being built, because it was so out of scale for the area. But after going to the Supreme Court, the building was allowed to go forward.
In the early years, the newspapers were filled with stories of socialites who were entertaining in their Northway apartments, or traveling from or returning to the Northway. There was even a very salacious story about a young woman who had just finished a conversation from the "house phone booth" with the man whom she'd sued for alienation of affections, when she collapsed from being poisoned. 
As the Northway approached its middle age, it was bought and sold several times, once twice within one summer. The Knott family purchased it to help diversify their portfolio, and then a string of LLC's and absentee landlords bought it. 

In the 1970's, the Sunpapers are filled with back and forth court cases between the tenants and the owners. No heat or hot water? Then no rent is paid. Citations from the City's housing department are numerous, but neither addressed nor paid. At one point, when once again, the heat and hot water were off, it took the city four days to work through all of the paper trails to find the owners and get them to fix the problems.
After a proposal to turn the Northway into "upscale" senior living residences, it was sold for "luxury student living." Sadly, the Northway has now been hacked to pieces, all of the graceful design elements have been torn out, and worst of all, the beautiful windows, including huge Palladian ones, have been replaced by tacky white vinyl ones, with snap in dividers. Sickening.
The building originally had 94 apartments, but now the new owners, "The Academy on Charles" list it as having 328 "beds," the apartments having been sub-divided into "suites" with numerous students living there. (Not sure how many options there are... 3,214?)
They have basically taken a two bedroom apartment and subdivided it into four bedrooms. And each bedroom rents for $1500+ a month!
But it's upscale! Chic hardwood-style floors! Luxurious! Klassy! World-Class Features... except for the ones they tore out. However, I am not seeing any sign of a "gourmet" kitchen!
There was an incident where members of the JHU lacrosse team went on a rampage in the lobby and caused more than $10,000 worth of damage, and stories of huge parties being held on the terraces, much to the annoyance of the residents of the neighboring St. James Apartments. There was also a sexual assault in one of the elevators. So I guess they're not really all that klassy.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Norwood Road & Court: A Hidden Gem

Tucked away on the north side of Guilford is the tiny Norwood Court, as well as Norwood Road which leads to it. As with some of the other roads in Guilford, you really have to hunt to find it. The Court is not even marked, and if you didn't know better, you'd think it was a driveway. 

Palmer designed two of the houses on Norwood Road, as well as all of the houses on Norwood Court. This is 4406 and
this is 4410.
The houses on the Court are all of a similar style to bring cohesion to this very small area. Their entrances are on the side, leaving the front as massed windows that make a sunporch. 
One of the issues with Norwood is that it backs directly onto Cold Spring Lane, and as with other projects, Palmer wanted to create a border delineating the edge of the neighborhood. 
The Court loops away from Cold Spring, so the backs are to that busy street, and there is no access from there. Of course, there was just Cold Spring Lane in 1914 when these houses were built, not Old Cold Spring, which was replaced, in sections, by now-Cold Spring Lane. 
I would have driven down little Norwood Court,
but I was being looked at rather suspiciously by a woman of similar age as I, and driving the exact same car! If you know me, you know she was correct in her assumption that I was up to no good!