Extraordinary Guilford Homes: April 28th On The Maryland Home And Garden Pilgrimage


tour poster

Voyeurs and connoisseurs alike will be happy to know that this year’s annual Maryland Home and Garden Pilgrimage will feature some of Guilford’s most important homes and buildings. 2013 is the centennial year of the Guilford community, and many of its beautiful and fascinating homes will be open in honor of the anniversary. Among them, the home of Ogden Nash, Baltimore’s celebrated poet lyricist (1902-1971), and noted artist Grace Hill Turnbull (1880-1976).

The tour will take place rain or shine on April 28, from 10a.m. till 5p.m., and will begin at house number one, 3701 St. Paul Street. Buy tickets online (they are going fast)  at , or send a check — $30 per person and $15 for the (optional) box lunch– made payable to Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage. Checks should be sent to The Guilford Association, 4200 St. Paul Street, Suite 100, Baltimore, MD. 21218. On the day of the tour, tickets will be $35 each.  Proceeds for the event will benefit Historic Sherwood Gardens, where the tulips will be in full bloom (God willing) on April 28.

There are several notable houses this year. The cottage of Dr. Anne Barone, whose garden won first prize in the 2012 Baltimore Sun garden contest, takes charming exception to the idea that Guilford houses are all grand mansions. Ogden Nash (“Isabel met an enormous bear, Isabel, Isabel didn’t care…” ) lived for many years in a Tudor Revival on Rugby Road which is also on the tour. And house number one, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Judson Flanagan, is a Palmer-Lamdin designed house, one of two matched “Gateway to Guilford” houses built in the 1930s with beautiful rose gardens and many unique architectural features.  (Its match, 3700 Greenway, is not on the tour, but it was for sale last month and was featured in the Baltimore Fishbowl. It sold in three days.)

Pigtown Design: Baltimore Bits and Pieces


Scattered around some of Baltimore’s older neighborhoods, there are about 200 houses designed by the architectural firm, Palmer & Lamdin. These houses are noticeable for their wonderful and sometimes quirky details. They’re loosely based on English cottages, or what everyone’s ideal of an English cottage is. When you see new faux English homes, this is what they’re trying to be.

These Palmer-Lamdin houses don’t come on the market very often – the people who live in them, love them, and never want to leave.

Several people arrived at the brokers open (two days ago) with contracts in hand!

A Rare House, Rarely Available: French Cottage Charm in Guilford

Originally published March 11, 2013
Broker’s Open This Wednesday 3/13 12-3pm
(click for video tour)
3700-Greenway-300x225Any Baltimorean who appreciates fine homes has driven through Guilford and “oohed and ahhed” over the grand houses, many with lovely details and old world charm


But there is one set of houses that stand out from the rest: the twin carriage houses known as “The Gateway to Guilford.”  The similar (but not identical!) brick houses are distinctive because they look like they could be in the European countryside. One of the two houses has just come on the market after being owned by one family for over 20 years and, I assure you, the window of opportunity to buy this house will slam shut soon!

A Grand but Welcoming Georgian on St. Paul Street


HOT HOUSE: 4100 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, 21218

st. paul:front

american land titleBrick Georgian, slate roof, circa 1925, in perfect condition, on .32 acres.  Six bedrooms, three and a half baths, 5,224 square feet, with large entrance hall, gourmet kitchen, granite counters, large master suite. Original moldings, built-ins, woodwork. Brick terrace and bluestone patio: $1,049,000

Baltimore’s Income-Inequality as Seen from Space!


A couple weeks ago, blogger Tim De Chant posted an article pointing out the correlation between amount of tree cover in urban neighborhoods and income. It may seem like a no-brainer that wealthier neighborhoods boast larger trees and more overall, but it’s a tighter correlation than you may think. De Chant referenced a study that “found that for every 1 percent increase in per capita income, demand for forest cover increased by 1.76 percent. But when income dropped by the same amount, demand decreased by 1.26 percent.”

Apart from neighborhoods that are being blitzed with gentrification, tree cover ought to reveal a neighborhood’s per capita income  with a fair amount of precision, given the right algorithm. (Don’t look at me; I’m not figuring it out.)

Anyway, De Chant reasoned that income inequality might be seen “from space.” He grabbed screenshots from Google Earth to compare tree cover in different neighborhoods within a city. The pictures are pretty interesting. He didn’t include Baltimore, so I went and grabbed a couple of my own images. I found the most stunning difference between planned neighborhood Guilford and nearby Waverly in North Baltimore.

Through the “Garden Gate” in Guilford, Homeland and Roland Park


On a cold, rainy Monday in April Jim Childs and Jack Coyier  flew in from Iowa where they work for Garden Gate magazine. They came to Baltimore to photograph gardens. Monday afternoon we toured Roland Park,  Guilford  and Homeland.  I introduced them to a handful of the areas’ finest private gardens, as well as to Sherwood Gardens.

Recreational Residential Real Estalking


Are you in market for a new home? Are you thinking of selling your house and need some price comparisons? Are you a house obsessed lookey-loo? Well, grab a Starbucks and power up the GPS. We have your Sunday afternoon covered with our picks of the best open houses this week.


3415 Woodberry Avenue, Baltimore MD 21211


3br/3.5 ba

Hip builder’s model contemporary at “Clipper Mill.” Look past the uninspired decor to see its industrial chic potential. Surroundings include fab community pool, artists’ studios and Woodberry Kitchen. Visualize walking to lively Saturday brunches with yoga toned artsy friends.


911 South Decker Avenue

$ 249,000

2 br/1.5 ba

Everything about this Canton townhouse says “OMG! it’s sooo cute.”  Therefore, if you are a twenty-something single girl who can swing the mortgage, this one might be for you. Alternatively, if you’re looking for an investment property to rent out, this one is guaranteed to attract plenty of twenty-something single girls. Visualize: Walking home form the St. Patrick’s day festivities in Canton without fear of a DUI or depositing a rent check.


12 Saint Martins Road


4br/2.5 ba

This Guilford home strikes an undeniably pretty curb-side view. Sure, the interior decor is wacky but that is exactly why it is worth a visit, to see how much work is needed to get down to the original bones. The good news is that it all looks to be scrupulously maintained so the home’s systems are bound to be in good shape. Visualize: pruning roses in that fairytale-like walled garden in the back.

Sleek Apartment In Mid-Century Masterpiece


HOT HOUSE: Apt. #503, Highfield House, 4000 North Charles Street, Baltimore 21218

Streamlined one bedroom apartment in an iconic Mid-Century Modern building. 869 square feet, with 24-hour service, underground garage with valet parking, swimming pool: $125,000

What: Your life, only more like “Mad Men.” Built in 1964, Highfield House is one of two Mies Van der Rohe buildings in Baltimore.  In its day it was a major architectural statement. And if you  stand back and look, the strong, clean, “less is more” aesthetic, and Mies’ sure, restrained hand come shining through in the design of Highfield House today. The lobby is fabulously chic, with its black leather Barcelona chairs and glass floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s one of those places, like the Apple Store, where everyone becomes more interesting just by being there. The building is well-maintained and well-served, and they’ve done their best to keep it up to date while preserving its architectural integrity. Number 503, like all the apartments in Highfield House, has a wall of windows stretching along the back, maximizing the light and vistas. There are angled walls, which keep it from feeling boxy, hardwood floors and a sweeping sense of space for a relatively small area. Galley kitchen and bathroom are fine as is, but with some work, could be really great. This elegant and contemporary setting cries out for spare, modern decorating. If you can, leave grandma’s stuff behind. On the other hand, a cocktail shaker would look right at home.

Where: In the Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood, about a half-mile north of Johns Hopkins University. Safe and walkable.    

Would suit: Don Draper, obviously. Emma Peel.   

Why: It’s the ultimate showcase for your Mid-Century furniture. And, it’s a very cool building, quite different from the other apartments along the Charles Street corridor, and with more luxury amenities than most. Residents are an interesting, artistic bunch.  

NB: 503 is not, by a long stretch, the best apartment in the Highfield House. The really spectacular ones are the high floor, corner three-bedrooms, and those where two apartments have been combined. In these, the feeling of light and space are awe inspiring – exactly the way the architect intended. None are for sale right now, but the right agent can get you on a waiting list. 

Cottage-Cum-Castle With Curb Appeal


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…

Downsizing with Elegance


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…