Hot House: 105 St. Johns Road, Baltimore, MD 21210
Colonial Revival style with Arts and Crafts detailing, circa 1906. Frame construction with cedar shingles, back deck, and recent roof. Seven bedrooms, four full, two half baths, over 7,216 sq. ft. Original architectural features, extensive and fine wood trim, moldings, columns. Large rooms, high ceilings, skylight, five fireplaces. Updated kitchen opens to an eat-in family room with deck overlooking trees. Butler’s pantry, formal living and dining rooms. Central air.Double hillside lot on cul-de-sac, 1.2 acres with mature trees: $1,295,000
What: Coolest house ever for the right buyer. From its majestic siting at the top of a hill to the airy, high-ceilinged rooms that seem to unfold endlessly, this house has a grandeur and fairy tale quality that you don’t immediately appreciate in a drive-by. It’s an unassuming mansion — the very opposite of the kind of houses profiled in McMansion Hell, Peabody Conservatory grad student Kate Wagner’s hugely popular blog.
Current owners are only the second owners of the house. Built in 1906 by William Gustav Rasch, a Baltimore window blind manufacturer, it was one of the first houses in this part of Roland Park. Mrs. Rasch lived here until her death in 1985 at the age of 104. The Rasch’s most likely customized a design chosen from a book of house plans offered by the Roland Park Company — a classic but informal shingle-style colonial. They splurged on the inside, in the generous scale of the rooms, windows, french doors, and the beautiful woodwork of the main floor. Chestnut and fruitwood paneling and trim, handcrafted and beautifully maintained, reflect the simple but aesthetically rich Arts and Crafts movement whose influence was peaking around this time. It’s a little old-fashioned, and it wants a buyer for whom that’s all right.
Where: At the quiet end of bucolic St. John’s Road, which runs west off of Roland Avenue, just south of the library. On a recent Sunday afternoon, it resembled a sun-dappled country lane. The big back yard extends over to one of the walking paths of Roland Park and runs downhill to Beechdale Road. The downhill side has wisely been left to meadow, and it has an ethereal quality, like an Andrew Wyeth landscape (see photo below). Peaceful as it is here, it is just a five-minute walk to Eddie’s Market if you don’t stop to talk to neighbors. Private and public schools are just a few blocks further. Nine minutes to Penn Station is possible from here, via I-83, and 15 minutes to downtown.
Would Suit: Buyers who will love the craftsmanship and authenticity of this century-old home, make some updates, and leave its dignity intact.
Why: Location. Integrity of the house has not been messed with.
Why Not: No driveway, no garage, don’t like wood.
NB: Mrs. Rasch was a noted daffodil fancier, and the meadow is planted with hundreds upon hundreds of daffodils that bloom for many weeks in early spring.