Monday, October 9, 2023

On the Market (Again): 214 Longwood Road

This house was on the market several years ago, and now it's on the market again.

It is one of several that Palmer designed, including one for himself, along Longwood Road in Roland Park. They are chalet-style houses, set into a steep hillside, with the roof-line along the street level. 

Here's what the real estate ad has to say:

Tucked away close to a cul-de-sac's end, this Adirondack chalet type cottage, designed by noted architect Edward Palmer, invites you to experience the best of both worlds – a retreat in the trees and the convenience of being just a short stroll from Roland Park's shops and amenities.

The entry level has a large living room with wood-burning fireplace along with two spacious rooms equally well suited as bedrooms or offices/dens and connected by a full bath. The true highlight of this level is the large screened porch with hardwood floors - just imagine listening to birds in the mornings and owls in the eve! 

Down a flight of craftsman style stairs, you'll discover a large dining room and kitchen along with a powder room, butler's panty and family room. The top floor boasts a large primary bedroom, an additional bedroom and full hall bath.

An important feature of the property is undoubtedly the stone staircase that leads from the street to the front entrance, adding character and a touch of adventure to this delightful abode! Priced to allow for improvements, don't miss the chance to make this charming house your new home.

The house needs some work, which accounts for the reasonable price.

And hopefully, who-ever the buyer is will have the sense to keep the original cabinets in the kitchen and pantry. 

The full listing is here

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

On the Market: Hathaway House

Hot House: Elegant French-Style Home with Extensive Gardens, First Time on the Market, EVER! 7 Bedrooms/6 Bathrooms. 6,578 Square Feet. 9.5 acres. 11008 Baronet Road, Owings Mills. $1,990,000

This Palmer & Lamdin house was designed by architect, Charles Nes in 1953 for a family with several children. It, along with several of his mid-century modern designs, won several architectural awards. While those other buildings have long fallen to the wrecking ball, this Grande Dame of a house is still standing, looking as elegant as ever, just like the woman who owned it since the day it was built. Now, for the first time ever, Hathaway House has come onto the market.

As you drive in from Baronet Road, you enter through a driveway with mature trees and gardens, to arrive at a circular driveway with a beautiful view of this special house. It’s backed by two enormous trees and exudes a welcoming air. As you enter through a set of double doors, you’ll find a classic black and white marble floor and a gracious staircase sweeping up to the second floor.

Entering the spacious living room, you get your first glimpse of the extensive and stunning gardens, which were featured in Smithsonian Magazine. Both the living and dining rooms have antique marble fireplaces, and built in cabinets and display cases. A cozy library features another fireplace, walls of bookcases and a set of French doors leading to the gardens.

One of the spectacular aspects of Hathaway House is the huge sunroom with floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding doors which lead to a bluestone terrace, and best of all, a wet bar! It’s a perfect place to sit and chat with friends on a beautiful summer day!

The kitchen and butler’s pantry are adjacent to a breakfast room which looks over the beautiful cutting garden, which keeps the house filled with flowers for months at a time. Off of the kitchen is an additional staircase which leads to a private suite with a bedroom and bath.

When you ascend the lovely staircase to the second floor, you will find four bedrooms, including the owners’ suite, and four bathrooms.

The house, sited at the top of a small hill, overlooks extensive lawns and cultivated gardens, numerous mature and specimen trees, a beautiful swimming pool and a serene pond.

Where: Hathaway House is on Baronet Road, just off of Caves Road in Owings Mills. It’s not visible from the road, and offers copious privacy for the new owners. It’s close to all of the shopping available on Reisterstown Road, and to the numerous private schools in the area.

Final Appraisal: The grounds have been cultivated since the owners built the house 70 years ago, and have had decades to mature into a showplace. The new owner should understand that they will be the stewards of the gardens for future generations.

There are four additional acres, adjacent to the property, which are available in a separate sale. The house goes on the market on September 27. The listing for the house is here.

Full disclosure: I knew the late owner of this house and attended parties and other events here.

All photographs from the listing. Reprinted from Baltimore Fishbowl.

Friday, August 11, 2023

A P&L House Updated

As I was conducting my occasional Google search for P&L, I came across an architect's update of a Palmer & Lamdin house in Homeland. I have a suspicion that I know which house it is, but I am not going to divulge the address.

Here's what the architect had to say:

This 10,000 square foot stately home sits in the elegant neighborhood of Homeland in Baltimore, Maryland. Originally constructed in the 1920’s by influential architects, Palmer-Lamdin. WGA recreated the interior to compliment the sophisticated context of the home as well as to facilitate the social and entertaining requirements of the client.

Please click here to see the rest of the interior images of this house. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

"Hilton" A P&L Renovation Project

I was looking through some old documents, and came across something that mentioned that Edward Palmer had renovated a house called "Hilton" which is now located on the campus of the Community College of Baltimore County, in Catonsville. 

I knew a little bit about Hilton because it was originally owned by Dr. Lennox Birckhead, a physician during the War of 1812, and an early member of MedChi, where I work. He lived there from 1828-1835. I wrote a little about him here.

In 1917, George W. Knapp purchased the house and the surrounding 250 acres for about $25,000. The house was significantly enlarged by Edward Palmer. A two-story servants wing and a kitchen and porch were added. Additionally, two gardeners' cottages were remodeled. 

In 1962, the property was sold to what was then the Catonsville Community College and was used for classrooms, and then administrative offices. 

After a "modern" 1970s renovation, the house was updated again in 2018 by Lewis Contractors. Their work included preservation of the historic crown moldings and baseboards, restoration of the windows, restoration of the mahogany paneling, installation of a new elevator, ADA compliance work and restoration of the quarry tile and historic marble checkerboard flooring.

The exterior was painted a warm cream, with white detailing.

This work and the new energy efficient HVAC systems, new electrical service and fixtures, restoration of the home’s exterior and installation of the new brick paver entryway have restored the home to its position as the crown jewel of the college campus.

I would have loved to do my signature snooping style of peeking into windows, but I was being followed around by a campus cop, so thought it might not be the smartest thing to do. 

To read the Medusa file on this house, please click here

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

On the Market: 120 Churchwardens Road

It seems that 120 Churchwarden's Road is on the market... again.

It sold in 2019 for $1.285 million, and was listed in May of 2023 for $1.75 million. It recently sold for $1.546 million. It doesn't look like much changed in the house over the last few years. Here's the current listing

Here are a few more photos from the last time it was on the market. 

Palmer's own home was at the very end of Churchwarden's Road.

Monday, June 12, 2023

A Talk on Homeland

Over the weekend, I was asked to give a talk at the Homeland Community Foundation's Annual Garden Party about Palmer & Lamdin and particularly the house at 100 Upnor Road. I was joined by Guy Williams, a DC-based landscape architect who is working on restoring the gardens. Thanks to J. Everett Schramm who invited me and some of whose photos I am using here.

Palmer & Lamdin in Homeland

As you may know, Homeland was the third of the Roland Park Company’s projects after Roland Park and Guilford and was originally the country estate of the Perine family. While the majority of the firm’s work was in the Baltimore area, they also designed houses in York, PA, on Gibson Island and in North Carolina.

Homeland’s planning began in 1925 and it was laid out by the Olmsted Brothers firm, which took advantage of the topography of the former estate. The curved streets, man-made lakes and “back-turning” courts, like Middleton and Paddington, were typical of the early twentieth century “garden city” movement that originated in England. Garden cities attempted to capture the primary benefits of both the countryside and the city, while avoiding their disadvantages.

Both Edward Palmer and William Lamdin spent time in England and France learning about the garden cities movement and the architecture of both areas. This is reflected in the homes they designed which often have certain tell-tale signature characteristics:

1. P&L used mixed materials with alacrity. We can see that here in the combination of brick- and stone-work. There is a lot of texture in their work including patterns within the brickwork.

2. P&L’s façades advance and recede. If you think of a standard colonial house, it has a flat façade, while a Palmer & Lamdin house has projecting sections or a set-back entrance. Entrances with standing-seam copper roofs are tucked into corners.

3. Roofs on Palmer & Lamdin’s houses vary with a number of rooflines which work in harmony, sometimes with a flare at the edge, adding a note of elegance, sometimes the unusual jerkin-head roof, and sometimes with steeply pitched roofs that nearly meet the ground.

4. It’s the small touches that Palmer & Lamdin added to their houses that made an aesthetic difference. Dovecotes, turrets, double-height windows, bulls eye windows, eyebrow dormers, and more help define a P&L house.

5. Casement windows were another signature of P&L houses, with many of the original metal windows still in place, some as dormers and sometimes in pairs.

6. Distinctive chimneys are also a hallmark of P&L houses. You will see them in Jacobean- or diamond stack-style. If you’re undecided about whether it’s P&L, check the chimney!

7. Elegant details elevate Palmer & Landin’s designs. Whether it’s a graceful door surround, the layout of the rain gutters, or an unusual mail slot, the charming details help catch your eye and make their houses distinctive.

Palmer and Lamdin’s designs are often characterized as looking like they came out of a fairy-tale. While the houses are not small, their designs convey a coziness, a welcoming appearance, and an elegant warmth.

This house has an interesting history. It is first mentioned in 1931, in Roland Park Homes, Gardens & People magazine. The original owners were probably Mr. & Mrs. J. Murdoch Dennis. In 1916, he purchased a lot in Guilford but said he wasn't going to build right away and was deciding on an architect. In 1917, they are living at 1226 St. Paul Street. But in 1919 the couple seems to have rented a house at 4102 Greenway for a "period of years."

In 1920, they'd purchased property on "Charles Street Extended aka Charles Street Avenue" and were living there into 1923. By 1924, he'd purchased a house at 13 (or 17 depending on the publication) E. Eagar Street. In 1926, he buys a house at University Parkway and 39th Street, only to sell it a year or so later. 

By June of 1929, they have acquired a lot at the corner of Upnor and Charles Street and the house at 100 Upnor Road was built. It was first mentioned and published in 1931. By 1936, they’d leased the house and took an apartment at 100 W. University Parkway. Oddly, the couple who rented the house moved from their apartment at 100 West.

The house doesn’t come back on the market until 1948 (it may still have been owned by Murdock Dennis). There’s no more mention of the house until 1977 when a significant estate sale is held there, featuring loads of silver, antique English furniture, oriental rugs and much, much more! The house was sold in 1978 and again in 1984. Obviously, it has sold since 1984, but there are no transfers recorded in the newspapers.

We can see many P&L signatures here in the courtyard. The front entrance features a mix of stone and decorative brick, with a Juliet balcony. The courtyard is loaded with details including a possible entrance to the garage, which echoes the main entrance.

Above the fountain niche is another Juliet balcony and above that, one of the signature dovecotes. On the patio, there are niches on either side of the arched and shuttered French doors.

Again, you can see some of the decorative brickwork and above the niches, another pair of bulls-eye window. All of these elements together give the house a sense of great sophistication and elegance, but also of warmth and welcoming.
Meg Fairfax Fielding and Guy Williams, Landscape Architect

I’ve put together a list of Palmer and Lamdin houses in Homeland and there are copies available for a neighborhood hunt. If you’d like more information on Palmer & Lamdin, as well as their catalogue raisonné, please visit


Meg Fairfax Fielding
June 10, 2023


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

On the Market: 7 Stratford Road

In off moments, mostly during boring Zoom calls, I've been re-working the catalogue raisonné of Palmer & Lamdin's works. As I do more research, I am finding more information. One issue that I am having is that a lot of their early work in Guilford is assigned a lot number and then a block number, and I am trying to break the code. It involves a lot of cross-referencing, tracking the name of the original owner and then checking early city directories for a home address.

However, we're talking about 7 Stratford Road, so let's get a move on it!

From the listing:

Welcome to 7 Stratford Road, a meticulously restored gem that showcases timeless elegance and modern luxury. Painstakingly rehabbed from top to bottom, this expansive residence spans over 5600 square feet with 6 bedrooms, 4 full bathrooms, and 1 half bath, offering a truly remarkable living experience giving ample room for family and guests.

Upon pulling up to the property you'll immediately notice the beautiful Palmer & Lamdin architecture, featuring a stunning quarry stone facade that sets the tone for the exquisite craftsmanship found throughout. Entering, you'll be captivated by the endless original character that seamlessly blends with upgrades you'll notice right away in the custom paintwork in the foyer and throughout the home. Prepare to be impressed by the Trish Houck designed kitchen, boasting exquisite custom inset cabinetry, top-of-the-line Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, and custom granite countertops and marble backsplash that will be sure to impress. Whether you're a culinary enthusiast or simply enjoy hosting gatherings, this kitchen is a dream come true.

The home also features two living spaces on the main floor, both complete with beautiful fireplaces, custom millwork and French doors leading out to the patio, perfect for cozy evenings and creating a warm ambiance.

The primary bedroom is a sanctuary, complete with a fully updated bathroom complete with custom vanity and walk in shower with a custom marble shower. There's also a separate dedicated office space and a spacious walk-in closet. Continuing on the second floor you'll find another 2 fully updated bathrooms, 3 more bedrooms, and a third-floor bedroom complete with a full laundry room.

The fully waterproofed and usable basement is a versatile space that offers endless possibilities with a fun living space/rec room, a full bathroom, gym area, and a custom sauna that presents the perfect opportunity for relaxation and wellness. In the utility room you'll also find that the home has been outfitted with a top-of-the-line dual zoned central air system. Outside, the property features expansive mature landscape and hardscape with a sunken stone patio, a full outdoor irrigation system, ensuring a lush and vibrant landscape, and an updated driveway leading to the two-car garage and electric charging station. 

 All images are from the listing.

Friday, May 26, 2023

3803 St. Paul Street: The Interior

The delightful and charming new owner of 3803 St. Paul Street very kindly invited me to see the interior of the house before she moved in. And I was delighted to accept her invitation!

Even better, the original plans and elevations have stayed with the house for nearly 100 years. You can see that the house was built for C.W. Snyder who was a local developer in the area, and hired P&L to design no fewer than five properties in Guilford, Homeland and Garrison. Now the trick is finding which houses were eventually built, aside from this one!

When I see these, I realize that the owners of the houses understand that they are not only the owners of the houses, but also the caretakers and stewards of a very special and unique place. 

As I mentioned in the original post, the house was been described as either Charleston- or New Orleans-style. Most interesting to me is that the original ironwork specified in the plans is still intact! This makes sense when you think of New Orleans and its myriad iron balconies!

In the drawing above, you can also see the curved half wall. 
Additionally, on the original blueprints, the entry hallway shows a terrazzo floor with a number of "compass roses" embedded with the colors separated by brass. Sadly, the floor has suffered some damage and will need to be replaced. 
Here are some of the other details that I loved:

One of the many fireplaces, this in the main bedroom.
This ceiling has a very Norman influence to it, which makes sense, as the architect was Lamdin, who had spent WWI in France. There are roses, thistles and daffodils around the perimeter, indicitive of England, Scotland and Wales. 
Beautiful sconces with mercury glass fittings.
Unbelievably gorgeous hand-painted silk wallpaper and fabulous silk curtains.
Detail from a library, including door surround with a shelf and roped trim.
Again, all of my thanks to the new homeowner for taking time and showing me around the house!