Hot House: 3691 Sarahs Lane, Ellicott City

Historic Mount Ida in Ellicott City on 3+ acres, four bedrooms, two baths. Commercial or residential possibilities. Asking price: $1.25 million.

Hot House: Have you wanted to chuck the go-go lifestyle and remove yourself from the present day and to the early 19th century? Mount Ida could be the house for you. With high ceilings, large rooms, and huge windows to catch the breezes coming up from the river, this old house comes with updated amenities, including indoor plumbing, air conditioning, central heating, and parking aplenty.

What: Historic Mount Ida was built for William Ellicott, grandson of one of the city’s founding brothers, and was the last house built for a member of the Ellicott family. It was built between 1828 and 1836 in the neo-classical Greek Revival style, possibly designed by the eminent architect Robert Cary Long, Jr. Mount Ida is considered one of the most exemplary houses of the style in the country.

This elegant house, painted in “Maryland gold,” features a large center hall, running from front to back, as was typical of the period, allowing for maximum air circulation. The first floor contains a large double parlor/living room, with fireplaces and folding doors, and a large dining room, pantry and kitchen.

Sadly, some of the original features, like the central staircase and several mantels, were stolen while the house was empty in the 1960s awaiting demolition. Fortunately, they have been replaced by period-appropriate pieces. However, many of the original doors, the ceiling medallions, and plaster cornices survive.

The second floor contains four bedrooms, one at each corner, with bathrooms between two of them. There is also a porch on the front of the house, a 9×13 foot two-story addition, an attic, and a basement, formerly the kitchen.

More than three acres of land surround the house offering the new owner plenty of room to re-create the former boxwood gardens or perhaps install some vegetable and cutting gardens and fruit trees.

Where: Mount Ida is located just above (literally) historic Ellicott City’s Main Street, well out of the flood area. It is also located adjacent to the Howard County Court House and its parking lot. It is convenient to Routes 40 and 29, as well as I-70. There are commercial development possibilities available, including offices, and event space, or a bed-and-breakfast. However, it would make a spectacular historic home for a history-loving owner.

Final Appraisal: If you appreciate early 19th-century architecture and all that it entails, including high ceilings and gorgeous details, but want modern conveniences, this is the house for you. Structurally, it’s in great condition, and restoring Mount Ida to all of its glory would not be a huge burden.

The listing is here.

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Meg Fielding

Meg Fielding writes the local interior design and lifestyle blog Pigtown Design and is the past president of the Baltimore Architectural Foundation. She enjoys dual citizenship with the US and the UK.