107 St. Martin’s Road, Guilford, Baltimore
Hot House: A little bit of France nestled in the heart of Guilford. Five bedrooms/five baths. Massive library space. Beautiful gardens. Asking price: $835,000
Hot House: Are you a fan of the French countryside and all that it entails? This beautiful house, with 12 sets of French doors, is on the market for the first time in decades. Its lush, walled gardens, bookcases to hold thousands of volumes, stunning double-height double staircase, and corner lot, all combine to make this your own little corner of France, without leaving the States (not that you can, anyway!).
What: I have to confess that I have loved this house for years. It was home to the legendary Hopkins professor, Dr. Richard Macksey, who died last year. It was also home to his personal library, with volumes numbering in the six figures. In fact, he had so many books, that the floors of the library had to be reinforced due to the weight of the collection. Each room in the house has numerous built-in bookshelves, all the better to house your books, or china, or whatever it is that you collect and want to display. Dr. Macksey lived in the house for 57 years, from 1962 to 2019.
Pull up to the house and park in the semi-circular driveway and enter through the dual front doors. You come into a stunning double-height 30-foot center hallway with an incredible curved double staircase leading to the second floor. The living room, dining room, and library all feature fireplaces, as well as beautiful wood crown molding and trim. The ground floor rooms have arched French doors and Palladian windows, leading to the lush walled gardens. The main rooms are all a good size, with the living room coming in at 36 feet and the library at 26 feet with 14-foot ceilings. Both the living room and dining room lead to the terraces.
Walk down the wide bluestone steps to the pea-gravel paths that wind through the space. Beautiful mature hydrangeas, myriad hostas, magnolias, dogwoods, and other flowering shrubs and ornamental plants line the walkways and create a beautiful oasis. A stucco wall with a decorative iron gate indicates that the space has been thoughtfully planned and allowed to grow and settle into maturity.
As I mentioned, Prof. Macksey was known for his enormous collection of books, which he started at age five. He had a space created for them, where he could visit with his students and spend time perusing book auctions and catalogs from across the world. He converted the original garage into a library and connected it to the house by a long gracious hallway. You can read more about Prof. Macksey here.
Where: St. Martin’s Road is one of the most beautiful streets in Guilford with a wide range of classical architectural styles, including this house, which is, according to the Guilford Association, either Italian or French Renaissance (it’s French). It is on the corner of St. Martin’s and Greenway, just a block away from the famed Sherwood Gardens. It’s close to the stores and restaurants in Charles Village, as well as the Saturday Waverly Market.
Final Appraisal: If you want to live in France, but are tied to Baltimore, this is a great solution. Even better if you are an inveterate collector of books or anything else that you need room to display. Best yet, you want an established garden with a lot of privacy but the convenience of being close to the action. This house is a blank canvas for you.
The listing is here.
Not only Dick Macksey’s house but Dick himself was wonderful. And that legendary library is magnificent. He used to throw great parties. Fascinating man. The world is poorer without him.
(But Sherwood Gardens is more than a block away. More like five or six blocks.)
I never met Richard Macksey, but I had a huge crush on his son Alan back in the 80s! The house seems very reasonably-priced.
I photographed Profesor Macksey in his library for a publication many years ago. What a fascinating person and what an incredible library.
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