414 S. Dallas Street, Fell’s Point, Baltimore

Hot House: “The Palace on Dallas” home to legendary set decorator, Vincent Peranio and vintage clothing purveyor, Dolores Deluxe. Two bedrooms, two baths, well-established garden. Off-street parking. Asking price: $549,000

Hot House: If you’re a Baltimore movie and TV buff or if you’re a visionary, like Vincent and Dolores, “The Palace on Dallas” could be the perfect oasis in the city for you.

What: The Palace on Dallas, as this house is affectionately known, comprises four adjacent properties on Dallas Street, a small alley street between Little Italy, Harbor East and Fells Point. Ed Gunts wrote the fascinating history of The Palace in an article last week, but I will share my impressions of the house, which the couple has lived in for over four decades.

If you know alley houses, you know that they are not huge. So these four unassuming houses together make up one average-size house. But really, there are just two houses, because one was demolished years ago, and an on-site parking area was created, and the other is no longer connected to the two. Because there are a lot of rooms on different levels and on both sides of the house, it seems quite a bit larger than it is.

The house is quirky, with two bedrooms, two staircases and two bathrooms. There is an office, several sitting rooms, a dining room and a library. And there’s a lot of stuff, lots of memorabilia from Vince’s career in the entertainment industry and assorted collections from Dolores. The kitchen is small, one of the bathrooms is big and the garden is huge! It’s a house built for entertaining lots of friends.

Vince has enjoyed a 50-year career as a set decorator, and he’s definitely taken advantage of the tools of the trade. He has created columns out of cardboard tubes and lots marble-effect painting, added mirrors to enlarge the space, and installed caryatids to draw your eye the length of the room. He’s added doors used in the series, “The Wire,” botanical prints from the John Waters’ film, “Desperate Housewives” and a table from the pilot of the TV show “Oz.” Dolores has added her touches with vintage textiles, paintings, china and glassware throughout the house.

At this pandemic time, The Palace offers a plethora of outdoor socializing spaces. From a long loggia anchored by a huge fireplace, with arched columns and a long table, you could entertain friends while having a socially distant dinner. Cocktails could be served in another part of the garden, and an early morning breakfast would be perfect in a private nook, looking out to the greenery beyond. Statuary helps enliven the space, which includes two mature fig trees. Sadly, they weren’t quite ripe when I visited.

Where: The Palace on Dallas is located between Little Italy and Fell’s Point on a small alley street, which is gated at one end. Oddly, the other end is marked “Do Not Enter” but apparently, the neighbors posted that sign! The house is close to the new Whole Foods in Harbor East, as well as the restaurants, bars, and water views the area has to offer. Just a few blocks to the west is historic Little Italy, and all that it offers. It’s less than five minutes to the lower end of the JFX.

Final Appraisal: Honestly, this house is not for everyone, but The Palace on Dallas is for a special type of person, someone who does not want a house like everyone else, someone who has the same sort of vision that went into making The Palace on Dallas what it is and can imagine it for themselves.

Note: Because this is actually four properties, one of which is considered a vacant lot, be sure to check with your mortgage banker to see what any financing would entail. One house is not attached to the others, providing an opportunity to rent it as a separate residence or use it as an Airbnb. 

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.