Hot House

Eight Acres and a Story in the Greenspring Valley

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HOT HOUSE: 1718 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21093

Sprawling 1900 colonial with a strange past, on eight acres in the Greenspring Valley. Recent site of the Mensana Pain Clinic, it has seven fireplaces, six bedrooms, fourteen bathrooms: $1,400,000 (minimum bid)

What: Built in 1900 by Edward Burke, an original member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, this house was once a high-end man cave. Animal heads on the wall, zebra skins on the floor, dark beams, big fireplaces — and commanding views over the valley. A hundred years later, it was operating as a low-end man cave, owned and run by Dr. Nelson Hendler as the Mensana Pain Clinic.  Here, Dr. Hendler — a nationally renowned, Hopkins trained psychiatrist — was alleged to have sexually abused at least six of his female patients, in addition to trading drugs for sex, handing out painkillers without a prescription, keeping unlicensed guns on the premises and failing to keep his office clean and sanitary (really). His medical license was revoked, and he narrowly avoided jail time. (See The Baltimore Sun and WBALTV stories for the amazing details.) Interestingly, Dr. Hendler then started a website, selling pain diagnoses to plaintiffs lawyers…Knowing the back story, the house has an undeniably creepy feeling. Dead trees in the front meadow probably don’t help. All the rooms are on a grand scale and full of interesting touches – but the house is dark and the furniture looks like it’s waiting for ghostly patients to sit down. The kitchen is like the Titanic. Realistically, it needs at least a million dollars worth of work.  Still, it’s coming up for auction in a few weeks, date not yet announced, and for a certain buyer, looking for a real estate  adventure, this might be just (you guessed it) what the doctor ordered…Call Woodward’s Auction House in Hampden (410) 662-1875 to check the auction date. 

Where: Driving west out Greenspring Valley Road from Greenspring Station, number 1718  is  about 100 yards past Stevenson University,  across the road, on the right.  Sign on the driveway reads 1716. The driveway forks, and the house to the left  is 1718. It’s a very good location, less than two miles from 83, the beltway, Tark’s Grille….

Why:  Because you believe in second chances, even for houses.  Because the outcast persona of this house strikes a chord in you. Or, just because $2.5 million all-in (best guess) doesn’t strike you as that much for eight acres and a house with a great story in the fabled Greenspring Valley.

Would Suit: Jack Torrance in The Shining

NB: Basement is beyond scary, but the roof doesn’t leak and the heat works.  

 

 

Cottage-Cum-Castle With Curb Appeal

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HOT HOUSE: 4405 Greenway, Baltimore 21218

English manor-style house in Guilford,  built in 1913, with landscaped gardens,  courtyard entrance, carriage house with turret room and oval pool.

Seven bedrooms, six and a half baths, half acre or so: $1,125,000 

What:  Lots of curb appeal. From the steeply pitched slate roof, to the tall chimney, gleaming windows and the beautiful stone, this house is a romantic Cotswold cottage-cum-castle. It’s hard to know where to begin. There are interesting sightlines and intriguing rooms throughout the house, all cleverly and thoughtfully designed. An amazed broker states the obvious, “in Scarsdale, this house would be five times the price.” A flagstone circular drive, and iron-gated courtyard at the entrance lead to a separate stone carriage house (garage). Up a spiral staircase in the carriage house is a chauffeur’s apartment/teenager’s dream set-up — one big bedroom with a rough kitchen, bathroom, closet.  Nothing fancy, but your 17-year-old self will smile at the possibilities, and it looks like a lucky kid has been living the life up here.  Inside the main house are rooms, mostly big, some small, with elegant carved moldings, deep baseboards, fireplaces, Georgia pine floors, nice details and windows overlooking the tile patio and formal sunken gardens at the back of the house. The kitchen is unusual – in decoration and in layout. A large L shape, with the first part of the L containing the main sink and appliances as well as a narrow breakfast bar, and the second part of the L accessible through a swinging door into a huge long butler’s pantry with kitchen table. Might be something that just takes getting used to.  Bright red, whimsical wallpaper leads up the stairs to the second and third floors. At the first landing is a lovely arch, with French doors overlooking the garden and letting in the light. The bedrooms upstairs are large and comfortable, many have their own bathrooms. Master bedroom has a large windowed study with fireplace, as well as a dressing room and full bath. Most of the bathrooms need updating (to convert to showers instead of claw-foot tubs), although many have beautiful marble walls and fixtures. There’s a large cedar closet and storage room on the third floor, also a maid’s quarters.  Basement is not finished but, more important, is newly waterproofed. Central air. The gardens are magnificent, formal sunken beds, with a true domed gazebo, a rose allee and the oval swimming pool off to the side.             

Where: On its website, Guilford refers to itself as “the premier neighborhood in Baltimore.” It is certainly the home of some of Baltimore’s finest mansions, with the lovely Sherwood Gardens at its center, and a distinctly more formal feeling than neighboring Roland Park and Homeland. Greenway is the longest and prettiest street in Guilford, and 4405 is close to St. Paul’s Street, a short walk from the gardens. Guilford is a great neighborhood for walking and jogging, very close to Johns Hopkins Homewood campus and Charles Village. 

Why:   It’s a beautiful home — large, impressive and well built — in a grand style. Living here says, “I’ve made it.”

Would Suit: C.E.O, C.F.O, C.O.O, M.D.  V.P.s will have to sit tight and wait. 

NB:  Can’t quite see how that kitchen would work…

Sweet Cottage for Simple Living

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HOT HOUSE: 601 Walker Avenue, Towson 21212 

Storybook farmhouse  in Lake Walker neighborhood, built in 1891.  Two stories, four bedrooms, one and a half baths on a half acre of landscaped grounds: $250,000 

What:  Ever wish that life could be simpler?  This picturesque 1891 farmhouse cottage and its tiny Lake Walker community are like a trip back in time — and not just because the owners, Robert and Joan Browne, have lived here for over 50 years.  Mr. Browne is a long-time Baltimore artist, and his wife is his favorite model. Together they have filled the house with art and left it much as it was at the turn of the century. Enter through a side gate, onto a small porch and into the entrance hall. Narrow stairs climb to the second floor, and a pretty living and dining room feature long windows that look out to the garden. Across the hall is a wonderful den with fireplace, and bay window overlooking the side garden. Brick herringbone paths wind from here out to the detached shed and artists studio. The kitchen, at the back of the house, is surprisingly spacious, with brick linoleum floor and wooden cabinets, all circa 1970. Just off the kitchen is the half bath, small and dark, in desperate need of a re-do. The basement is a true, unfinished cellar, with an entrance to the back garden. There are hardwood floors throughout, and lots of quirky built-ins and craftsman touches. The bedrooms and one full bath (no master suite here) are all upstairs: short on closets but long on windows and charm. An attic, accessed through pull-down stairs, was once a fifth (servants?) bedroom.  No central air conditioning, but new roof. And a separately deeded parcel of land, included with the property and located  in Baltimore county, which seems to explain the Stoneleigh school district.  A very unique and wonderful property.

Where: Lake Walker is just north of Northern Parkway and east of York Road, right at the city/county line.  It was built at the turn of the century on what remained of the ‘Drumquastle’ estate — a parcel of several hundred acres given to William Govan in 1775 by the sixth Lord Calvert and named after his father’s estate in Scotland. Follow Gittings Avenue east, across York Road, and you’re in Lake Walker — a few streets of cottages and bungalows, well kept and quiet, where, according to Mrs. Browne, “everyone looks out for each other, and there are lots of children.”  From here you can walk to Belvedere Square as well as the multitude of shops on York Road like Panera, Party City, Wells Liquor — the world is your oyster.  The highly-regarded Stoneleigh Elementary is your local public school. 

Why: Unimaginably sweet. Like living in a fairy tale, or your dream grandmother’s house in the woods.  Narrow little stairs, a funny sleeping porch upstairs, the den (with fireplace)  overlooking the garden (with artist studio). Convenient location.  Lots of potential.  And you gotta love the price.

Would Suit: Edward Scissorhands, Tasha Tudor, Pam and Jim from The Office.  

NB: It does need quite a bit of work. Depending on your personality and budget, you could live in the house and slowly bring in into the modern era, or do the major work before you move in. Bathrooms, kitchen, cellar and attic are ripe for renovation.

Splendor in the Woods

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One Acre and a Barn, on Brightside

HOT HOUSE: 7340 Brightside Road, Woodbrook 21212 

Contemporary converted barn, circa 1898, with beamed ceilings and open floor plan on 1.2 acres . Four bedrooms, two full and two half baths on two stories: $1,175,000

What: Once an old wooden barn that was part of a larger estate, now a light filled, open-plan home that fits snugly into its gently sloping lot, just steps from Lake Roland.  Completely renovated six years ago, the house has been thoughtfully and historically restored — keeping the integrity of the design, but adding stylish features like wide plank, old growth timber flooring, a new cook’s kitchen with stone and bamboo countertops, wood burning pizza oven, and a large screened porch overlooking the woods. A distinctive arched entry foyer leads directly to the large family room, where wide sliding doors along the wooded back of the house set a casual tone. The doors open onto a stone patio, with good entertaining potential, overlooking the woods. There are nice old wooden beams, as well as fireplaces, in the living room, family room and the roomy eat-in kitchen.  Upstairs, the four bedrooms offer sunny, treetop views of Lake Roland. The windows are double-paned, there is central air and electric heat. As a bonus, there is a neat old “bank barn” next to the house, a former stable (and chicken coop!)built into the bank of the hillside. It has the original doors and new French drains to keep it dry. It would make a wonderful guest house or studio.  

Where: Brightside is one of the most desirable streets in Woodbrook (adjacent to Ruxton but not quite Ruxton), a private, rural-ish road with lovely homes just a minute or two from the Baltimore City line. Heading north from the city on Charles Street, take a left at the light onto Bellona Avenue. Brightside is on your left, about a half mile down Bellona, and 7340 is at the end of the street, just before the lake. 

Why: Clean lines, unpretentious design, feeling of open space, nice details, that bank barn, and access to the wooded trails and shoreline of Lake Roland.  

Would Suit: Family (or not) who appreciate the woodsy property and the old/new aspect of the house.  

NB:  Although the trail-walking is great, “destination walking” is not really possible from here. No sidewalks, plus cars speed along Bellona in a rush to Graul’s. 

An Irish Fisherman’s Cottage in the other Baltimore

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An Irish Fisherman’s Cottage  – In Baltimore

HOT HOUSE:  Cove Hill, Baltimore, Co. Cork, Ireland

Small, 150 year old stone cottage overlooking the harbor in the town of Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland. Two bedrooms, one bath — walk to village: E185,000 ($260, 000) 

What:   A restored, period fisherman’s cottage with stunning views of Baltimore Harbor and Mt. Gabriel.  The house is “well kept up, tight-as-a drum and comfortable” -–  easy to maintain and use as a summer holiday home. It has been recently restored and extended, has two decent-sized bedrooms, a large dining room (18’x12’), and a living room with fireplace. Kitchen is small — not fancy, but well-appointed.  A pretty stone paved terrace faces west, to take full advantage of beautiful sunsets over the harbor. Town is about a five minute walk.   

Where: Baltimore is a picturesque sailing and fishing village on the western coastline of county Cork, one of the most appealing (and sunniest) corners of Ireland, noted for its excellent sailing waters and interesting past. The original Lord Baltimore took his name from here, for reasons that are lost to history. In 1631, the infamous “Sack of Baltimore” saw much of the population carried off by pirates, never to be seen again. The lighthouse at Mizen Head, a deserted village just up the rocky coast, is nicknamed Teardrop Point because it was the last glimpse of home for millions of Irish fleeing the famine, sailing for America. You get the idea…  

The house at Cove Hill is a short walk to the center of Baltimore, where good restaurants and bars, a local ferry stop and a well-known sailing school with classes for adults and kids keep things bustling, especially in the summer.     

Why:  No shopping malls. It’s unspoiled. It’s beautiful.  It’s something completely different. And it’s affordable. People are friendly, pubs are great, fishing is superb. There’s a world-class restaurant open three months a year on a tiny island accessible only by boat. Best of all, you’ll still be in Baltimore!

Would Suit: Hardy, seafaring folk. Active vacationers with a sense of adventure and some Irish ancestry. People who can take a long summer break — teachers, authors, telecommuters.   

NB:  While the drive is breathtaking and the airport is charming, it is, in fairness, a good one and a half hour drive from the Cork airport to Cove Hill.  And no direct flights leave for Cork from the U.S. You’ll have to fly to London or Dublin first. 

Rambling Roland Park Beauty

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HOT HOUSE: 204 Ridgewood Road, Baltimore 21210

A uniquely designed shingle-style mansion in Roland Park, built in 1900.  Over five thousand square ft. house on a one acre lot, with eight bedrooms, five baths, six working fireplaces and porches with views: $1,195,000

 

What: Holy gables, batman! A prime example of this great American architecture style. What’s special, besides the wide, domed gable in the front, is the amount of natural light that floods the interior from large, well-placed windows on the south-facing rear of the house. Porches wrap the house and overlook landscaped gardens, sloping lawn and trees. Enter the grand foyer, where sunshine from a huge, leaded glass window at the top of the double-wide stairs pours down to illuminate the ground floor. Sightlines are nicely designed, there are views of porches and sky from nearly every room. Large dining room to the right of the entrance hall, with the gourmet kitchen behind — it’s distinctive turquoise cabinetry might not be your first choice, but it works. Left side of the entrance has the living room, opening to a family room behind. All these rooms are big, (like 20’x15)’ so you may need to up the furniture budget.

Upstairs, many bedrooms, brochure says five, you could call it eight. The master bedroom has walk-in closets and en-suite bathroom, all on the old-fashioned side.  Bathrooms could use some updating too, showers are small. On the upside, there are several very functional claw-footed bathtubs.  The third floor has a wonderful artists studio, with windows on three sides, a few other bedrooms and a fantastic long narrow, light-filled room lined with built-in cabinets and drawers, like a butler’s pantry. There are also several enclosed porches with leaded glass windows. Hardwood floors throughout, unfinished basement, four-zoned radiator heating and a/c.

Where: Ridgewood Road leads off of Roland Avenue heading south, turn right just a few feet before Cold Spring Lane. Many of Roland Park’s prettiest houses are here, and there are sidewalks wide enough for dogs and strollers, making the ten minute stroll to Petit Louis or Eddie’s a pleasure. Literally two minutes to 83, via Cold Spring Lane, so a 10-minute drive to downtown Baltimore.  

Why:  The third floor artist studio, the porches, the back yard, the wide and generous spaces, the wonderful windows.

Would Suit: Executive family new to Baltimore, can’t believe what $1.2 million gets you here.  Landed Baltimore family, ready to ditch the starter home, not ready for the Valley.  Architecture buffs.

Why not: You can hear, but not see, Cold Spring Lane behind the wooded backyard. 

Downsizing with Elegance

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HOT HOUSE: 230 Stony Run Lane #3F Baltimore, MD 21210

Large, airy condo in the grand old Gardens of Guilford apartments near Johns Hopkins University.  Two bedroom, two bath, 1,510 sq. ft. home with stunning roof terrace: $299,000

What: A rare find. A large, well-maintained apartment in one of the most desirable buildings in north Baltimore. The Gardens of Guilford were built in 1924, a good year,  as America was riding a pre-Depression high and construction budgets were lavish. Its distinctive Mediterranean style–rounded roof tiles, thick walls, big windows, stucco exterior–whispers “old money.” Through attractive gardens and up two flights of stairs, #3F opens into an apartment that’s full of light and charm. A large, sunny living room to the left of the foyer has a wall of windows and French doors that open onto the roof terrace–easily the crown jewel of the building. Beautifully designed, generous in size and luxurious in planting, the terrace could comfortably accommodate a dinner party of six to eight, cocktails for twenty. A trickle of water runs musically into a small fountain. Dappled shade from tall trees creates a real feeling of oasis in the city. It’s hard to leave the terrace to go inside, but once there the apartment is a delight. The living room has a cozy fireplace and built-in bookcases. Walk through the open dining room into a nicely modernized kitchen, both with good-sized windows. Two hallways lead off the main area, one leads to the smaller of the bedrooms  (13×13’) and a new bathroom with glassed in-shower. The second hallway leads to a very big (13×19’) second bedroom, currently a chic office, with an expanse of windows running along one wall. Another wall has built-in cabinets with square doors, running floor to ceiling and providing a wealth of storage. There’s a good-sized closet here as well, and a second bathroom is out in the corridor.  Apartment has forced air heat and central air too, for days when even these amazing windows aren’t enough.  

Where: Tucked in between St. Paul Street and University Parkway, in the beautiful, quiet neighborhood of Tuscany-Canterbury. A very short walk to Johns Hopkins University, Charles Village and Baltimore Museum of Art. To get there, take 39th Street off of St. Paul Street or University Parkway to Stony Run Lane. Stay straight at the stop sign to Gardens of Guilford. Entrance is on the right at top of circle labeled 3.

Apartment is on the third floor to the right.  

Why: The roof terrace alone would do it, but this place checks a lot of boxes. Secluded yet convenient. Stylish yet dignified. Safe, secure and very walkable. 

Would Suit: Bronte Mitchell, the environmentalist who hooks up with Gerard Depardieu in Green Card, the ‘80’s romantic comedy.  If you haven’t seen it lately, then think Hopkins professor. Also, downsizers and/or travelers–it’s an ideal turn-the-key-and-go type building. 

Why Not: Watering the roof garden might become a chore… 

Cozy (Green) Treehouses Overlook Clipper Mill

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HOT HOUSE: 3415 Woodberry Avenue, Baltimore, 21211

Overlooking Clipper Mill and Woodberry, a contemporary style, new-built, green design, three story house in a small development with access to the Woodberry swimming pool: $529,000.

What: An interesting idea. Streuver Brothers started this group of 38 houses, then BB&T bank bought and finished them. Now they’re on the market as “contemporary park homes with wooded views and the latest in sustainable design options.” All true. Built to very high LEED silver environmental standards, they are currently the greenest houses in the mid-Atlantic. The houses are free-standing, although the lots are very small, and somehow they feel like town homes. High on an outcropping above the Clipper Mill village, they do offer a rare chance to own a contemporary home in an ancient and fascinating corner of the city. Inside, you walk up the stairs to an airy open plan living room with 10’ ceilings.  Expansive glass windows have views of trees and the old industrial buildings of Clipper Mill.  Outside is a nice deck. A dining area, and a sleek galley kitchen are on the main floor too, the kitchen with Bosch stainless steel appliances, granite counters and hardwood floors.  Upstairs are three bedrooms and three and a half baths. Downstairs is a large family room, with natural light and another deck. Nothing amazing, except the views, but all very nice. Central air, gas fireplace, one car garage. Realtor says that only eight units are left.  Hmmmm…maybe.
 
Where:  Off the beaten track. Take Union Avenue down the hill from Falls Road, and back up to cross over the Light Rail tracks. Stay straight as it narrows and becomes Clipper Park Road. You’ll pass Woodberry Kitchen on your right. Hang a sharp left just past the Stable onto Woodberry Avenue and up a steep-ish hill.  From here, you can walk to the Light Rail (just 15 minutes to downtown), Woodberry Kitchen and the Jones Falls hiking/biking trail. Good access to I-83, too.  

Why: It’s something different and kind of cool. Snug in your nest, up in the trees, behind walls of glass, with a nice combination of industrial and rural views, you can feel happily superior to your suburban friends, living in so not-green brick boxes. Plus, feeling like you’re supporting the arts community, somehow, just by living here … Plus, chance to be a barfly at Woodberry Kitchen, lounge lizard at the fabulous pool.

Would suit: divorcees, hipsters with a trust-fund, artists–at-heart, environmentally-conscious retirees.

Why Not: Although striking, their modern styling is not that great looking, except at night.  Getting down the hill in snow or ice could be a problem. 

Called to Service? Georgetown Stunner Sets the Tone

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HOT HOUSE: 3053 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

In Georgetown, an 1875 Victorian house in a national landmark district, with nine bedrooms, elevator, private garden and 40 foot lap pool: $9,800,000

What: You’ve been given the nod. All that tedious fund-raising has paid off, and now the party/think-tank/consultancy needs you in Washington, D.C., close-at-hand and able to host high-level parties and stuff to impress the foot soldiers, benefactors and celebrity donors. You’re a big personality. A suite at the Watergate won’t do…

This is the place for you: A glamorous dowager empress of a house, standing tall and stately at the corner of 31st and P Street, on Georgetown’s coveted east side.  A jewel in the crown of Georgetown houses, it’s a traditional Victorian mostly, but with a copper Mansard roof that gives it a European aura. French doors in the family room open onto a large terrace overlooking the private garden, adding to the continental charm. Ceilings on the main floor are 13 feet high. The two large drawing rooms are each 28 feet long — you could have cocktails for several hundred people here, without ever feeling crowded. At the same time, the wood paneled library and dining room are perfect for intimate gatherings of like-minded politicos–restrained, yet powerful. The house was once a set for the 1984 film St. Elmo’s Fire and the former owner is the Gatsbyesque Dr. William Haseltine, founder of Human Genome Sciences and seven (!) other successful biotechs. He’s also a philanthropist, a Washington personality and bon vivant. Anyway, from the wine cave to the two bedroom servant’s apartment, this is a house for life-lived-large. Private off-street parking for five to six cars will help. There is a large gym, a spacious master suite with two baths, (seven full and four half-baths in all) as well as the basics of gourmet kitchen (not all that big, but who’s cooking?) hardwood floors throughout, central air, fireplaces.   

Where: 31st and P is on Georgetown’s east side –an easy walk to the Georgetown campus and Dumbarton Oaks.  Nice jogging in Rock Creek Park and the banks of the Potomac. Embassies, shops and restaurants of Georgetown, all right there.

Why: Because your country needs you.

Would suit: Wealthy patron of the arts, intellectual gone over to the business side, business side gone over to government. Michael Bloomberg.

Why Not: No metro in Georgetown (still!), so you’ll have to take a limo over to the White House. Also, with the lap pool, the lot’s too small (.22 acres) for a swing set.

P.S.: Buy it furnished — it’s worth a try.  

Modern Architectural Beauty in a Country Setting

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HOT HOUSE: 10801 Longacre Lane, Stevenson, 21153

An architectural classic, mid-century modern, eight bedroom house. 9,189 square feet on 8.7 acres, with pool and tennis court in Stevenson: $2,950,000

What: A long, sleek, white house in poured concrete, built in 1967, and renovated in 2007. It’s a striking example of the ‘international style’, an early form of modernism pioneered in the 1930’s by designers like Robert Nutria, Philip Johnson and Marcel Breuer–think “The Fountainhead.”  It’s a design sensibility that sets it well apart from its more traditional neighbors in the Greenspring Valley, but that said, it fits perfectly into its setting, and there’s not a neighbor in sight to detract from the view. A two-story, floor-to-ceiling glass wall at the front of the house overlooks a turquoise pool, heated, with diving board (hooray! a rare treat) and terraces. Skylights on the top floor flood the house with light, which pours through the center atrium, glancing off the marble floors and into the humongous (35’x26’) gourmet kitchen.  With fireplace, marble floors and counters, and high-end appliances, this really is the total A.D. dream kitchen. Also on the main floor are a cozy (hey, it’s all relative) family room with fireplace and wet bar, rec room, library and dining room, both with garden terraces. Tons of bedrooms upstairs, the master bedroom is especially big and stylish, with lots of glass, a luxurious bathroom, walk-in closets/dressing room. The house has six full and three half-baths, four wood-burning fireplaces, and at least one gas fireplace. The garage is attached and heated, the pool house and tennis/games court are ready to go.         

Where: Longacre Road is off of Stevenson Road, off of Greenspring Valley Road, not far from Park Heights Avenue.  The closest shopping is the tiny Stevenson Village but basically, it’s the Reisterstown Road corridor (Trader Joes!). McDonough, Garrison Forest, Krieger Schechter and St. Tim’s are the closest private schools.

Why: The aesthetics, for one.  Houses in this style, of this caliber, are hard to come by around here. And if clean, strong, architectural lines, white walls and light filled rooms are what you love, then it’s a very compelling space. Secondly, the aesthetics. It’s the perfect house for an art collection. The Damian Hirst will look spectacular over the atrium. Then again, almost anything would.  

NB:  Kitchen might be a little intimidating unless you’re a darn good cook.

Also, the usual difficulty with modern houses: avoiding clutter. Where to put all your loved ones’ junk?

Would suit: Major art collector, Howard Roark…

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