910 Calvert Street North, Mount Vernon
7 bedroom(s), 3 bathroom(s)
Hot House: 703 Abell Ridge Circle, Towson, MD 21204
Historic Beaux Arts mansion, formerly the Ridge School, in yellow brick with terra cotta trim and slate roof, circa 1892. Thirteen thousand square feet over three stories, with 6 bedrooms, 5 full and 3 half baths. Grand entrance hall, circular oak staircase, gourmet kitchen, media room, exercise room, luxe master suite. Original crown moldings, pocket doors and shutters, ten fireplaces, hardwood floors, partially finished basement, central a/c on 1.5 acres: $3,890,000
What: A $1 million renovation. Baltimore Sun founder Arunah Abell’s Beaux Arts “country” mansion is handsome and compellingly grandiose — and in 2002, developer Marc Munafo and his wife Victoria began an exceptionally well-done renovation of this architecturally significant Baltimore County home. Built in 1892, Abell himself was closely involved in its design, working almost daily with Baltimore architects Baldwin & Pennington to create a house known initially as Sherwood Park, and later, The Ridge. He had one summer there before his death in 1893. In 1955, the Abells donated the house to the county and it became the Ridge School for disabled children. Munafo, owner of CAM Construction, bought it for $2.2 million when the school relocated to Charles Street, and has lived here with his family since renovation was completed. It’s the only Beaux Arts house left in Baltimore County, although there are several of note in the city, and it’s full of period swags, balconies, carvings, mirrors and medallions.
Hot House: 5 Farview Road, Baltimore, 21212
Brick ranch-style house with siding, circa 1954. Four bedrooms, 4.5 baths over 3,544 sq. ft., with three fireplaces, hardwood floors, large screened-in porch, large master suite, open floor plan, finished basement, zoned heat, central a/c. One acre, private, landscaped lot with attached two car garage and back deck: $895,000
What: A ranch house — that late, great, all-American style that virtually defines the mid-century modern era. Appearing first in the 1930’s, by 1950 nine out of ten new houses built in America were ranch houses. It was a love affair that continued into the 1980’s, when changing fashions and higher incomes, as well as a glaring over-supply, relegated the ranch house to the dust bin of real estate fantasy. This one though, is a rancher that even a post-baby boomer could love, with high-end construction that makes up for its plain design, a bright, stair-less main floor, and a practical floor plan. Much of the house is oriented toward the back, with windows overlooking the pretty and private deck and yard. Living room has a wood-burning fireplace set into an exposed stone wall. Kitchen has been updated, although not, perhaps, totally state-of-the-art. Same with the bathrooms, although the master bath is very large and luxurious, as is the adjoining master bedroom with its views of the garden, a large fireplace and walk-in closet. The nicely finished lower level (and unfinished attic) gives you a lot of extra room. Time for a ranch-revival?
11032 Park Heights Avenue, Owings Mills
5 bedroom(s), 5 bathroom(s)
Hot House: ‘Oread’ – 1623 Glencoe Road, Sparks, MD 21152
Classic stucco manor house, circa 1904, well and substantially renovated. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths over 4 stories, with 8 fireplaces, dramatic staircase, 40×15’ gourmet kitchen, wine cellar, central A/C. Also, swimming pool, tennis court, 5-car detached garage, on private 19+ acres: $1,598,700
What: Estate once owned by Henry Perky, a late 19th century entrepreneur of the Gilded Age – railroad builder, lawyer, utopian educator and salesman extraordinaire – whose single great success was the invention of Shredded Wheat. Perky made and lost several fortunes over his lifetime, all the while suffering from severe diarrhea, which he treated with a diet of vegetables and boiled wheat. It was his distaste for the prescribed boiled wheat that led him to invent, with a friend, a machine that would make possible his “little whole wheat mattresses.” His plan was to sell the machine, not the cereal, but the cereal was an instant hit. Introduced in 1904, just before John Harvey Kellogg introduced his Corn Flakes — it was Henry Perky, rather than Kellogg, or Perky’s arch-rival C.W. Post, who would go down in legend as “the father of cookless breakfast food.”
His life makes a curious and fascinating study, and Baltimorean Jim Holecheck has written the full story in a book called A Success of Failures: The Life of Henry D. Perky. Perky moved to Sparks in 1904. He bought a great deal of land, including a dairy, the old Filston Farm, where he planned to found a vocational school called Oread (in Greek mythology, a nymph of woods and mountains), to implement his utopian ideals. But days before the school was to open, death intervened as he stepped into an ice cold bath after sipping a brandy, at noon on June 29, 1906. In his will, Perky left nothing to his only child, Scott Henry, not wishing him to become “a drunk and a tramp,” (as can happen). In fact, his estate was mired in debt, and the house and much of the land was sold. During World War II the house was used as a training facility for spies.
David Warnock, venture capitalist, foundation head, art collector, doesn’t want your money. He wants your mind.
There’s a new non-profit in town – one with an interesting mission. The Warnock Foundation wants to be a “platform for innovation,” sifting through the sands of social entrepreneurship for truly great ideas – large and small — that have potential to help the economically disadvantaged and move Baltimore forward.
“Our goal is to connect the people with influence and the people with ideas” says founder David Warnock. “We want to create an environment where entrepreneurism can thrive.”
Ok, sounds great, but how does it actually happen? Recently, the Warnock Foundation conducted a survey asking Baltimoreans what they love about the city, what their concerns are, and ideas for how to make it better. We recently spoke with David in his Inner Harbor offices at Camden Partners, a Baltimore-based private equity firm, to find out the results of the survey, how it impacts the mission of the Warnock Foundation, and how he thinks it can make a difference to Baltimore.
You grew up during difficult economic times in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and attended the University of Delaware and University of Wisconsin. You came to Baltimore in 1983 to work for T. Rowe Price. Soon after you took your first steps into community involvement. What was that experience like?
Through a group called Project Raise, which was sponsored by the Abell Foundation, I became a mentor to a young African-American boy named Winzell Hinton. He was 12 years old at the time, a great kid. We were close for several years, but eventually he drifted away, drawn into the drug culture of East Baltimore. One day when he was 15, I got a call from his mother saying Winzell was at the hospital — he’d been shot, and he had shot another boy. Eventually he was sentenced to a long prison term. I felt then, and still do sometimes, that I had let him down.
Did you stay in touch?
No, we lost touch completely. But 22 years later, he called me up out of the blue. He was out of prison, had a good job, and he simply called to thank me and say he’d never forgotten me. It’s something I will always remember, both seeing him lost to the streets and getting that call to hear I’d made some difference after all.
Hot House: 1838 Circle Road, Ruxton, MD 21204
Brick, two story house,with cedar shingle roof, circa 1939, in 18th century Virginia Tidewater style. 7,132 sq. ft., with five bedrooms, five full and three half baths with private au pair/in-law apartment. 34’ gourmet kitchen with large pantry and wet bar, second kitchen, family room, multiple fireplaces, master bedroom suite, lower level rec room, mud room, two bluestone patios, 3 car garage, circular drive, porch, professional landscaping. 1.5 acre property, partially fenced: $1,750,000
What: Way, way more than it seems. This is the home of Chris Lee and his wife Susan Ginkel. Lee is the founder and Managing Partner of Highstar Capital, a leader in infrastructure investments, and Chairman of Ports America, which owns and operates the Port of Baltimore. The house is deceptively modest from the outside, with a pretty setting, a prized location and lavish appointments behind its quiet red brick façade. From the entrance foyer, there is an easy flow through a formal living room with fireplace, formal dining room with French doors onto the patio, and into a huge but welcoming kitchen with family room behind. Hardwood floors and crown molding throughout. Kitchen has granite counters on island, commercial range and stainless KitchenAid appliances. Light pours in from more French doors off the back of the house. The pantry is a room in itself, as is the butler’s pantry, with glass front cabinets and wet bar, which has a hammered copper sink and a portal to the stone-floored study. Mud room off the kitchen leads to the garage and the nice apartment upstairs. All the bedrooms in the main house are upstairs – they’re good sized, and each has its’ own full bath. Magnificent master suite with separate whirlpool tub and glass shower, as well as balcony, fireplace, walk-in closet and dressing room. The huge finished rec room on the lower level has a nice gaming area. A luxurious and comfortable home. Property backs on 415 acre Robert E. Lee Park.
Where: Circle Road is among the most prestigious addresses in Ruxton, and 1838 is in an even-more-private enclave set back from the main road. Neighbors are close enough to be friendly, and far enough to stay that way. You are about a half-mile from Graul’s grocery store, Graul’s wine shop and the jewelbox shops at Ruxton Station. The L’Hirondelle Club pool and tennis courts are even closer. From here, it’s about 10 minutes to I-83, 20 minutes to downtown.
2 Acorn Hill Lane, Ruxton
2 bedroom(s), 3 bathroom(s)
2,365 square feet
836 Park Avenue, Mount Vernon
2 bedroom(s), 3 bathroom(s)
2,230 square feet
Hot House: 224 Tunbridge Road, Baltimore MD 21212
Stone cottage designed by Baltimore architects Palmer Lamdin, circa 1928, with new slate roof, circa 2011. 2,640 square feet, with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, wood-burning fireplaces. Two-story timber-beamed living room, hardwood floors, custom millwork, casement windows with original hardware. Landscaped grounds with extensive stonework: $579,000
What: A dream cottage. They rarely come more charming than this — except maybe in the Cotswalds, where you’d have constant rain. Current owner, a Hopkins professor, lived here for 45 years, and commissioned the late, great landscape designer Wolfgang Oehme to create the woodland garden that surrounds the house, with its beautiful stonework, plantings and basin fountain. After meandering up the stone path, and through the heavy, arched front door, the living room is a surprise. It’s large, and in the scale of the house, feels huge, with a 18’ beamed ceiling and a large fireplace. The rest of the house is upstairs from here. A step up to the dining room, and a few more to the kitchen. A short flight up to the master bedroom, with fireplace, master bath and walk- in closet. More bedrooms and a nice den on the second floor. Everything could use, but does not absolutely need, updating. The kitchen is quite small, but for one person or a couple, it would be perfect. It would be a shame to “blow out the kitchen” into the idyllic garden, as the architectural integrity of the cottage is a big part of its appeal. There is a small unfinished basement, and a breezy covered porch, as well as central air.