21 Blythewood Road, Roland Park.

Hot House: The House that Sports Built – Howard Head’s house on Blythewood Road. 5 beds/7 baths. 9,047 square feet. Asking price: $3,880,000.

What: In the olden days, tennis racquets and skis were both made out of wood. Then aircraft engineer, Howard Head, came along and changed these sports as we knew them. He re-designed skis and the over-sized Prince tennis racquet and made them out of laminated woods and metals.  

The Head’s house on Blythewood Road looks contemporary, but the property was purchased in 1925, and the house was built and occupied by February of 1926. There is no architect of record, but knowing them as I do, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a Palmer & Lamdin design.

The house is deceptively small from the road, but expands to more than 9,000 square feet. While some of the traditional details remain, the Heads updated, modernized and expanded this house which you enter the house through a walled courtyard and then into a traditional wainscoted hallway.

The house opens up to window-walled rooms with a view over the back gardens, pool and the Stony Run woods beyond. The living room features a large traditional fireplace, paneled rooms, and the window wall. The huge modern kitchen, designed by Trish Houck, has a large island, a large seating area, and built-in cabinet to display your china collections. The traditional dining room, with its marble fireplace surround, classic mill-work and trim, parquet floors, and window wall, is adjacent to the kitchen. A wood-paneled study, beautiful powder room and family room complete the first floor.

The large hall on the second floor is centered around a seating area which overlooks the main staircase and the entry hall. The main bedroom suite contains a large window wall with a balcony which overlooks the koi pond below. Also in the main suite are a large walk-in closet, a heated floor and a double, cantilevered vanity. There are additional en-suite bedrooms, one of which has a fireplace.

The two-acre property features a swimming pool, a hot tub, a built in teak bar, a two-tier, 11,000-gallon koi pond, and of course, a tennis court. The plantings on the grounds are considerate of both the parkland surrounding the property and are lit to enhance the landscaping. Additionally, there are stone walls, a man-made stream and waterfall and woodland gardens.

Where: This house is on Blythewood Road, which winds from Charles Street around to Wyndhurst Avenue. It backs up to Stony Run Park, with its trails and wildlife, which is prefect for long walks. It’s close to all of the amenities on Roland Avenue, including restaurants, schools, and the library.

Final Appraisal: Blythewood is one of the most beautiful streets in Baltimore, with a range of house styles, and gorgeous old landscaping. This house would suit an active family who love swimming and tennis. It’s a traditional house which has been tastefully and thoughtfully modernized while keeping some of its classical elements. The listing for the house is here.

All photographs from the listing.

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.