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 Plus a PS)

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. 

P.S. I recently heard that the house was sold to a man who bought it for his daughter who is attending Loyola College around the corner. This is in violation of the neighborhood covenants, which prohibit college students living in the neighborhood. When we drove by it the other week, it didn't look like any work had been done, and the shutters were still hanging off. This is a complete travesty, as you KNOW these college kids will not take care of the house.  

Friday, November 6, 2020

On the Market: 4401 Greenway

This wonderful Palmer & Lamdin has been on and off the market for the past 18 months or so, and it was sold late last year. It's on the market again, being flipped after a thorough renovation, which, thankfully, left many of the original interior details. 

The house was built in 1913 for Mr. & Mrs. Rowland Clapp, Esq. and the architect was Edward L. Palmer, as noted in an October 1913 squib in the Baltimore Sun. The house is in the brick colonial style. 

From the realtor's website:

Pinnacle of elegance supremely located in Guilford. Spectacular brand new renovation of this six bedroom, five full and one half bath magnificent brick colonial home with two car garage perfectly sited on a private corner lot on prestigious Greenway, close to Sherwood Gardens. 

The exceptional kitchen features exposed brick walls, a massive quartz waterfall island with breakfast bar, Matte black & copper smart appliances, a six burner gas stove, double ovens, and is open to the dining area as well as a sleek butlers' pantry with wet bar, beverage fridge and separate ice maker. The seamless renovation of the main level also includes a new mudroom, powder room and stylish second staircase. 

Graceful living spaces in the living room with a fireplace and adjacent family room with custom built- ins. The spectacular list of upgrades extend to the upper levels that feature a master suite with a truly decadent master bath , spacious his and her walk in closets, as well as additional en suite bedrooms with balcony access.

The breathtaking exterior is a retreat unto itself with a beautiful in-ground pool, patio, professionally landscaped and lighted grounds, and a two car detached garage with pull down studio/storage area. Ample storage in the lower level, two new zoned AC units, nest thermostats.

For information on this house, click here 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

5502 N. Charles Street: A Disaster in Real Time

My friend, the brilliant artist and architect, Jerome Gray, has a series of sketches he calls "dead building walking." And that's exactly what this formerly charming, Moderne house is currently experiencing.

This house is located on the corner of Charles Street and Northern Parkway. It's been on and off the market for ages. It seems to have recently been sold and there's some unfortunate work going on with the house. 

The listing says that the house was built in 1947, which would make it very late on the Palmer and Lamdin timeline. But there were enough elements in the house to make it an elegant little place. 

Let's start at the front. There was an elegant copper canopy over the front door.

Very graceful. Fits beautifully with the style of the house, doesn't it?

Recently, we noticed that there was some activity going on with the house. 

It was looking ominous. Sadly, this house sits just outside two neighborhoods with fairly strict covenants, so there are no design standards which are imposed on home owners.

As I was driving by the other day, I could see that more work had been done, but at the risk of crashing, I couldn't see what. Then a friend posted this:

As a reminder, we're in Maryland, not on the ranges of Montana. This is so inappropriate to the house. What was someone thinking??? What next, a split-rail fence?

Here's the other crime. Originally, there were steel corner windows which fit with the Moderne theme of the house. 

At some point, seemingly around 2015, they were changed to vinyl sash windows. Borderline criminal.

There are still ghosts of the original interior, including the staircase and arched doorways. 

But honestly, we're waiting with great trepidation as to what comes next. Transformation into a log cabin?