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?
Where: Woodbrook is just over the city line into Baltimore County, a neighborhood of old estates and attractive newer homes with roughly one-acre zoning. Farview is a quiet cul-de-sac on the left off of Charles Street, driving north past Woodbrook Lane. From here, you can walk to the Eddie’s grocery store and the Starbucks on Charles Street. You could also walk the half mile or so to Robert E. Lee Park from here, with the kids or Lassie. Rodgers Forge Elementary and Towson High School are your local public schools.
Why: Practical and unpretentious, but high quality.
Why Not: Grew up in a ranch house and swore ‘never again’.
Would Suit: Ranch hand.
NB: For design connoisseurs, this house has the potential to be much more of a mid-century modern ‘statement’ that it currently is. Dwell, Atomic Ranch, and Houzz.com have some great “ranch house transformation” stories if you are looking for inspiration.