Hot House: 921 Bellemore Road, Poplar Hill, Baltimore 21210
Classic cedar-shingled, slate-roofed, 1920s home with family room addition. 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 4,040 sq. ft, with crown moldings, built-in book cases, oversized fireplaces, eat-in kitchen, multiple porches, stone garage, unfinished basement, central a/c. Private, 1.75 acre landscaped lot: $1,295,000
What: The home of Fred and Jonna Lazarus, one of Baltimore’s most beloved couples. After 35 years as President of Maryland Institute College of Art, Lazarus and his wife, an award-winning landscape designer, are moving “not too far away” to Roland Park (his May 2014 retirement was announced last April). Their rambling, picturesque, Nantucket-style house sits high above Bellemore Road. Originally built as a summer house, 921 Bellemore has high ceilings, wide hallways and a pleasantly relaxed feel for such a substantial house. It’s been brought gently and sensitively into the 21st century – well maintained and eminently livable. Architecturally a center hall Colonial, it’s less symmetrical than it looks. Living room on the left, dining room on the right, kitchen with Sub-Zero and Wolf range at the back, as expected. But there’s a surprise — past the dining room where there was once a second side porch, the house opens up into a sunroom (with original brick porch floors) and a modern family room with high, vaulted ceilings, skylights and fireplace. A striking spiral staircase – another unexpected touch – rises to a loft-style office on the second floor overlooking the family room. The master bedroom is large, with en suite bathroom and French doors leading to a private porch. Bathrooms and further bedrooms are up-to-date and unobjectionable – most memorable is the cool third floor office. Back downstairs, off the back of house, accessible from the sunroom and the kitchen, is a big deck, looking across to the mown hills and old trees of the 13 acre Jesuit property. At once dignified and welcoming, this is an easy house to love.
Where: Bellemore Road in Poplar Hill (north Roland Park) winds slowly over hill and dale, connecting Roland Avenue to Falls Road, just south of Lake Avenue. Some of the neighborhoods’ grandest (and priciest) homes are tucked away here, where wide, quiet streets make for great walking. It’s bucolic as all get out, yet still within a mile of Eddie’s, numerous schools, and I-83. With luck, you can be downtown in 15 minutes. On the left as you drive west from Roland Avenue, the back of the house faces Bellemore, although this it not immediately noticeable. A driveway at the corner of Bellemore and Winding Way takes you up and around to the front of the house, circles a giant cedar tree, and showcases the beauty of the landscape — as well as the sturdy integrity of the house itself. It’s also probably the way to go with an armful of groceries.
Would Suit: Easy-going but stylish family.
Why: Elegant and informal. An unusual and delightful setting.
Why Not: Driveway is steepish. You’d think twice on an icy morning.
NB: A quarter acre of the 1¾ acre property is on a separate lot, a few steps across from the main house. It’s wooded, and currently sports a little tree house, painted to match it’s parent.
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