108 St. John’s Road, Roland Park, Baltimore

Hot House:  Classic Roland Park shingle house on extra-large lot. Six beds/four baths. Gorgeous details, garage and private driveway, summerhouse. Asking price: $984,900

What: In full disclosure, this is the house next door to the house where I grew up, and I spent many happy times there through my first few decades. I can attest that it’s a great house for many reasons. This block of St. John’s Road, on the west side of Roland Avenue, is a quiet cul de sac with beautiful old trees, and several of Roland Park’s famous walking paths.

This house is a stellar example of the earliest houses in Roland Park: shingle cottage style with several porches, a large flat yard, a summerhouse and loads of details. The original shingle has been painted white, giving this house a crisp feel. As you enter the house, there are beautiful oak beams, balustrades, built-in bookcases and shoulder-high wainscotting. The wainscotting, which is painted a crisp white now, continues into the living and dining rooms. Off of the living room, the once-open porch has been converted into a sunroom/office.

The bright updated kitchen features a Viking range and a built-in Welsh dresser for all of your china and glassware. It can also be used as a bar, with its small sink. A small original pantry is adjacent to the kitchen. Also off the kitchen is a study/family room with a terra cotta tile floor and fireplace. This room is surrounded by windows and has more of the beautiful oak beams seen in the front hallway. The windows all have built-in, old-fashioned screens.

A small elevator has been added for access to the second floor, where you’ll find the main bedroom, with a working fireplace and en-suite bathroom which has its original sink and bathtub. There are several other beds and baths on this level, including one with access to the sleeping porch, an essential in the days before central air conditioning. You can see the original cedar shake shingle in this room, which is now used for exercise equipment. The third floor has additional bedrooms, including one with both large and small demi-lune windows.

The yard for this house is one of its greatest assets. There are three houses on five lots, so this house has an extra-wide and flat side yard, which is surrounded by 100+-year-old trees, huge azaleas, rhododendrons, boxwood, and more. A brick patio is the perfect place for a late-afternoon cocktail. A beautiful pergola with old wisteria leads to a small summerhouse, writer’s retreat, or garden shed with lots of windows and its own fireplace. In addition to a garage, this house has a driveway, accessed from the back lane, which goes directly to the house.

Where: This block of St. John’s Road, on the west side of Roland Avenue, is quiet with beautiful old trees. It’s walking distance to the two Roland Avenue shopping centers, public and private schools, the Roland Park branch of the Pratt Library, and much more. It’s five minutes down the road to Cross Keys and all of the renewal that’s happening there, then the JFX and beyond.

Final Appraisal: This is the first time this house has been on the market for more than 40 years. Owners on this block tend to live there for decades, as our family did. This house, built in 1906, is everything that you’d want a Roland Park house to be – casually graceful, beautifully aged, slightly quirky and very understated. The listing for the house 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.

One reply on “Hot House: Understated, classic cottage first time on the market in 40 years”

  1. Great article Meg, I love this house too. I never knew that there were three houses on five lots ….

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