Hot Houses: 2636 and 2640 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, 21218
Two late Victorian townhouses, brick with wood trim, circa 1900, renovated in different styles. Both are 2,500 sq. ft. over three stories, with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, unfinished basements. Both have front porches, decks, hardwood floors, 9’ ceilings, architectural details, stained glass, fireplaces, central air, off street parking. Price: $399,900 (The Tart) and $369,900 (Plain Jane)
What: A tale of two Baltimore gals. They’ve been around awhile. One’s recently tarted herself up, so she costs more. Her sister’s plainer, but cheaper. They live in a great neighborhood. This block of N. Calvert, between 26th Street and 27th, is one of the best in Charles Village: well kept, with lots of personality and a young professional vibe. The two houses are much the same — smallish living rooms in front, with stained glass and nice period detailing. You walk through a central entrance hall and a dining room to the kitchen at the rear of the house. Where the houses differ is in the renovation.
Number 2636 is the Tart. She’s got a new full-on paint job in purple and yellow, fun and eye-catching from the street. Inside too, the owners went further and risked more in the way of cosmetic intervention. They took out the wood trimmed parlor nook to make the living room bigger. Big loss in charm, with not much more useable space. One major upgrade is the kitchen, where owners invested wisely and well in a mahogany stained cabinetry, exposed brick and cool flooring. They even enclosed the small back deck, making a sort of indoor/outdoor room. The second big plus is the new master bath – a huge glass shower with window — possibly not totally kosher for the architectural purist. Finally, they added a large and lovely roof deck, accessible from the third floor office, with nice city views (points off for vinyl railings). Plain Jane, two doors up at 2640, has good bones and she’s in good shape. The kitchen renovation is totally satisfactory, if not inspired. The bow window in the master bedroom has charming window seats, which the Tart lacks. Her bathrooms are okay too, with original clawfooted tubs, retrofitted with shower heads. So, you choose. At last check, one person already has – the Tart’s just gone under contract (figures).
Where: 2600 block of Calvert Street in Charles Village. Houses are both mid-block on the west side of the street. From here, you can walk to the Waverly Farmer’s Market, the big Barnes and Noble bookstore, Carma’s Café, Eddie’s of Charles Village, Safeway, Johns Hopkins University, and if you’re up for a walk, downtown to Station North. On the downside, no great public schools nearby, and no real green space either — Wyman Park a 10 minute walk. It’s urban here, but definately relaxed.
Why: One for the money, two for the show.
Why Not: For the same money, there’s a half-acre colonial in Timonium.
Would Suit: Hopkins faculty, young p’s, who embrace the aesthetic. “A little old fashioned but that’s all right.’
Hot House is sponsored by Cindy Conklin and Bob Merbler at Prudential Homesale YWGC Realty
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