Cynthia McIntyre

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The Luxury Downsize: Posh Devon Hill Condo, No Stairs, Just Sunsets

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Hot House: 15 Devon Hill Road, #C7, Baltimore County, MD 21210

 

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Two bedroom, two bath, 1,754 sq. ft. condo, circa 1983, in Devon Hill, with three exposures of light, west facing deck with views, hardwood floors, fireplace, formal dining room, den, no stairs: $425,000

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What: In some circles, everyone’s looking for the same thing – a luxury downsize. And when you’re leaving a $1 million + house, $425K doesn’t seem like so much right? Especially for that hard-to-find combination of space, light, quality, safety, low-maintenance, no stairs and location, location, location. This condo fits the bill entirely. The Devon Hill condos were developed in the 1980s by Martin and Tony Azola, on the grounds of the former Windy Hill estate, once owned by the Jenkins family. It’s a quality of construction rare in the world of newly built ‘custom’ homes, and the Azolas were known for their historical sensitivity as builders. Architectural details of the older building — wood paneling, moldings, trims — are incorporated into new elements of design. What makes Devon Hill especially unique is that it is surrounded on three sides by quiet rolling hills owned by the Josephite Brothers, who keep it well maintained and peaceful. There is an entrance hall, with formal dining room on the right and kitchen on the left. Kitchen is a comfortable size and has a large and well integrated panty for storage. The whole place is generously supplied with closets and there is good storage throughout. Master bedroom and second bedroom are large and airy. Kitchen and bathrooms are updated, if not modern. A second hallway takes you through to a big living room with wood burning fireplace, lots of sun, and french doors out to a semi-circular, west facing deck. Sitting out here on a warm afternoon or evening, watching the sun set over the hills is an attractive proposition. 

House Of The Day: Pretty Fells Point Townhouse: Renovated, Restored, With Master Suite

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$340,000
624 Wolfe Street, Fells Point
3 bedroom(s), 4 bathroom(s)
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
624 Wolfe Street
Restored home in Fells Point. Footsteps from everything. Charming 3br,2.5ba, mix of restored and renovated. Third story addition adds a full master suite. Kitchen has slate floor and granite counter. Rear courtyard and deck are ideal for entertaining. Currently tenant occupied. Call with prior days notice for a showing.
See This Property »

On The Market: Tyrconnell, Iconic Baltimore Estate With Magnificent Vistas and Formal Gardens

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Hot House: 120 Woodbrook Lane, Baltimore County, MD 21212

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Grand English-style Georgian country house, in stone with slate roof and copper trim. Original structure, 1826, rebuilt in 1924. Ten bedrooms, 9 full bathrooms, 11 fireplaces, with extraordinary millwork, 13’ ceilings, Lake Roland views, wine cellar, state-of-the art systems. Architect-designed formal gardens, manicured lawns, plantings, tenant house, barn, extensive bluestone hardscaping, emergency whole-house generator, sophisticated security systems, elevator, central air. 22.5 acre property, with private frontage on Lake Roland, stream, pond: $4,950,000

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What: Tyrconnell means Land of Connal, the last kingdom of Ireland, ruled for over a thousand years by the O’Donnell family, and now referred to as County Donegal. (Tyrconnell was also an Irish horse that won a famous race at 100-1 odds.) It is a once-in-a-lifetime house, an iconic East Coast estate property that ranks with great American houses from Newport to Palm Beach. Owned and loved by generations of Baltimore’s most prominent and civic minded families, the original Georgian stone house was built in 1826 by John O’Donnell, captain in the East India Company and Baltimore merchant, whose statue stands in Canton. That house was incorporated into the new house that Baltimore businessman John Sears Gibbs (Gibbs Canning Company) built in 1924 with Baltimore architect Walter White. The magnificent gardens, designed by noted landscape architect Arthur Folson Paul, were installed in the late 1920’s, inspired by the gardens at Villa d’Este on Lake Como. They have been beautifully maintained, and virtually every window in the house overlooks tall specimen trees, wide lawns,  stone walls and terraces with mature plantings. Ground floor rooms are largely designed for entertaining,  richly appointed with 13’ ceilings, moldings, carvings, parquet floors and crystal chandeliers. The kitchen has Sub-Zero fridge and Thermador ovens. A library and sitting room offer smaller, more intimate spaces on the ground floor. Upstairs, the master suite is as luxurious as expected – walk in closets, fireplace, dressing rooms, large bathrooms with separate shower and tub. There are several big sunny bedrooms on the second floor, all with views, and a laundry room with  fireplace.(!) A cozy sitting room offers a place to go and pat yourself on the back in private…

1900 Federal Hill Townhouse: Renovated, With Downstairs In-Law Suite and Roof Deck

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Hot House: 114 Warren Avenue, Federal Hill, Baltimore, 21230

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photos by Tyler Merbler

Three story, brick and stucco, Federal-style townhouse, circa 1900, completely renovated, 2013. 4 bedrooms, 4 full, 2 half baths, with gourmet kitchen, 2-level family room with gas fireplace, two master suites, downstairs apartment with separate entrance, roof deck. Hardwood floors throughout, high ceilings, crown molding, wainscoting. Partly finished basement. Zoned heat and central a/c, alarm system and intercom. Pre-wired for cable, Internet: $875,000*

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What: With 2,148 sq. feet of interior space, and a light well at its center, 114 Warren Avenue is among the bigger (and brighter) Federal Hill homes, and it’s at the higher end of the neighborhood price range. A well-thought-out renovation, with lots of luxury add-ons (Kitchen has granite counters, large island with breakfast bar, and pantry. Baths have separate showers and tubs, all new. Master bedroom has gas fireplace, walk-in custom closets.) From the marble-tiled entrance, there are views straight back to the two level wall of windows in family room, and out onto a brick patio. At the second floor landing is an enormous 20’x14’ space which is currently a billiard room but could easily be a cool office or media room. It has a balcony overlooking the family room downstairs and a wall of glass at the back. Master bedrooms and baths check all the boxes. Metal spiral stairs lead up to the large, enclosed roof deck with panoramic Baltimore views. The in-law suite downstairs, with separate entrance, is one good-sized room with kitchenette and a second laundry closet (there’s another on the third floor) with stacked washer/dryers. Natural light comes through high windows.

High End Farmhouse, Smashing Views, And 21 Private Acres On Garrison Forest Road

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535 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117

 535:rearStucco house with slate roof, copper gutters, circa 1951, extended and luxuriously renovated in 2001. 6,312 sq. ft. over four levels, with 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half baths, 5 fireplaces, 29′ gourmet kitchen and pantry, 34’ family room with chestnut floor and antique beams, master suite with double dressing room/closets, au pair suite, dual offices, library. Swimming pool, 90’ stone patio, screened porch, courtyard with five car garage, extensive deer fencing, 21 acres with stream, trails: $2,400,000

535:screenporch What:  Built in 1951 by Baltimore architect Charles Ness for the Baltimore banker and horse breeder Hugh O’Donovan, this house made its leap into the luxury home category in a no-expense-spared 2001 renovation. Current owners Maris and Bill Baker, with two boys and four dogs, bought it in 2006. “It was too good to pass up. A former owner had done everything, beautifully. Later on he told us he lost $700,000 on the sale, with what he put into it – which included 56 custom mahogany doors …”  The high-end detail is impressive in itself, but it’s the way it was incorporated into the original house that preserves the character and keeps the charm. At every turn there is a noteworthy detail. The roof slates are laid in a European-style graduated pattern, largest slates on the bottom because they get harder wear. The stone patio is sited to take advantage of not just the rear views of lawn and woods, but side views of the pool, to keep an eye on children. Closet doors are all louvered – for air flow. Repurposed chestnut floors and beams in family room are stunning. Most of the property is fenced, so children and dogs can roam safely. Kitchen has Viking range and hood, granite counters, Subzero fridges, plus cool specialized faucet for filling spaghetti pots. The deer fencing alone is worth its weight in gold. Woodland has been cleared of briars and poison ivy. Inside, the house feels informal, partly because there is no grand entrance hall and partly because it rambles a bit, as a farmhouse will.  Bedrooms upstairs, all with modern baths, big showers. Totally finished basement. Totally finished everything.

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3,000 Miles Off Course: Icelandic Pink Footed Geese On Falls Road. Looking For Ruxton?

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birders

The Pink Footed Goose lives and mates in Iceland and winters in northern Europe, so Baltimore bird watchers on Sunday were delighted and amazed to see two pink footed geese joining their Canadian cousins grazing in a field on the old Johnson estate on Falls Road. “An awesome regional rarity” said a post on Maryland and DC Birding.

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Spotted earlier at Quarry Lake, the pink footed geese were attracting a crowd of bird watchers Sunday afternoon on Falls Road, getting a first hand glimpse before the approaching snowstorm threatened to scare them off. One birder explained that their presence here is an example of “mirror migration,” in which the birds make a navigational mistake, heading the right number of miles — say 3,000 — in the wrong direction. Happens to the best of us.

House of the Day: 1875 Federal Hill Townhouse With Patio, Roof Deck

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$435,000
827 Light Street, Federal Hill
3 bedroom(s), 3 bathroom(s)
827 Light Street
827 Light Street
827 Light Street

Fells Point Townhouse, Once Belonged To William Donald Schaefer

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Hot House: 1703 Lancaster Street, Fells Point, Baltimore, 21231

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Federal style three story brick townhouse, circa 1845, renovated in 1990s. Two bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,185 sq. ft., with hardwood flooring (main floor), carpeting upstairs, unfinished basement, central a/c: $249,999

What:  Aside from its political provenance –William Donald Schaefer owned it, used it as his comptroller-campaign headquarters, and occasionally slept in it from 1996 to 2008 —  this house is a find, with a great location and a low price for perennially popular Fells Point. Pretty from the outside, the interior is clean, systems are new, but it could use some decorating. There’s a decent size front room with a window on the street. A staircase that’s wide enough (many Fells Point townhouses have such narrow stairs that moving is problematic), but could be better positioned.  Kitchen is functional but hardly worth describing. A tiny door in the kitchen leads to a private passage to the street — useful for storing bicycles. Upstairs, a good size bedroom and a bathroom.  Third floor, a small bedroom and a small extra room that could be a full bath. Then you could have a roomate or rent the top floor. Basement is good for storage, but too low to stand in upright. The house has potential to be a gem, depending on how much imagination and money you want to put into it. Sort of the Baltimore version of the Kennedy’s Georgetown townhouse…

Lake Avenue House With Heated Pool and Legendary Staircase, Next To Old Homeland Railroad Station

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Hot House:  701 W. Lake Avenue, Baltimore, 21210

 

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Colonial-style house in cedar shake with slate roof, circa 1928, recently renovated. Four bedroom, 3.5 baths over 2,446 square feet and three stories. Original architectural features including historic staircase, multiple fireplaces, French doors, crown molding, built-in bookcases and butler’s pantry. Gourmet kitchen, central a/c, heated self-cleaning swimming pool with mineral jets and stone surround, fenced back yard, two-car detached garage on .5 landscaped acres: $715,000

lake:stairsWhat: An interesting house with a private backyard, a nice heated pool and some historic associations. Rumor is that the gracefully curved staircase here was removed from the Mt. Vernon house where Betsy Bonaparte (nee Patterson) lived, during her high-profile but ill-fated marriage to Jerome Bonaparte, brother of French Emperor Napolean I.( There is a great exhibit on the life and times of Betsy Bonaparte at the Maryland Historical Society now through June, 2014.) The Bonapartes’ 18th century staircase fits beautifully here, and together with ten foot ceilings, wide French doors with fanlights and wide moldings, makes for a lovely entrance hall. It’s elegant and simple, more modern than Victorian. In more recent times, the son of Baltimore’s favorite bandleader Zim Zemeral, lived here for many years. Jon Zemeral and his wife did much of the renovation, which takes the house to a higher level of luxury than you might get from its modest street presence. A big glassed-in side porch overlooks the pool and has wide shutters, a brick tile floor and a gas fireplace. There’s also a screened porch on the other end of the house, off the kitchen. The kitchen is not huge, but it is eat-in, with a granite topped table and nice appliances. Upstairs, the bathrooms are big and modern and there is a room with fine mahogany built-ins, which could be either bedroom or library. A little work on the master suite and this is a dream house.

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Catholic Relief Services Director Talks About the Business of Charity

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carolyn woo

Recently named one of the “top 500 most important people on the planet” by Foreign Policy magazine, Carolyn Woo took the reins in 2012 as head of Catholic Relief Services, headquartered in Baltimore.  As the official Catholic international humanitarian aid organization, (Catholic Charities is domestic) Catholic Relief Services has over 5,000 employees in 91 countries serving more than 100 million people annually. Its mission  — based on need, without regard to race, nationality or religion — is to “promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies.” With annual revenues of $823 million, CRS is currently 39th on the Forbes list of the largest U.S. charities. Its offices, at 228 W. Lexington Street, are in what was once Stewart’s department store.

Dr. Woo came to CRS from the University of Notre Dame (not to be confused with Notre Dame of Maryland University on Charles Street) where she served for 12 years as the Dean of the Mendoza College of Business. While there, she brought the undergraduate business school up to its current number one ranking (Bloomberg Businessweek) while maintaining its Catholic mission. Her expertise in the areas of corporate strategy, entrepreneurship, and management bring a new, more financially-based perspective to the enormous and far-reaching charity.

Dr. Woo has an interesting personal story as well. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she attended a Catholic school run by the Maryknoll Sisters, American nuns who devoted their lives to overseas service.  Influenced by these women, she came to America against the wishes of her family, having raised on her own the money for one year of schooling. She attended Purdue University, where, after the first year, she won a scholarship for international students, and graduated with highest honors with an undergraduate degree in economics.  She stayed on at Purdue to earn a masters degree and a Ph.D., as well.

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