HOT HOUSE: 1739 Circle Road, Ruxton, MD. 21204

1898 cedar shingled, slate roofed Victorian “cottage” on 1.2 wooded acres in Ruxton. Six bedrooms, five baths, 7,000 square feet. House is currently divided into four apartments and needs extensive work: $599,000

What:  Ugly fire escape ladders climb up the exterior walls. Cheaply ‘enclosed’ porches are sagging off the sides. Rotting gutters are clearly visible.  But look past all that. The price is right and the bones are there. If you have vision, time and cash, this will be a real gem.  The house sits in a sunny clearing, and backs on a steep pine forest, so great feng shui, for starters. There is room and sun for a medium-sized garden, but otherwise this is a very low-maintenance lot, not much lawn, mostly woods. From Circle Road, you enter through stone gates. A barn-inspired garage, which may have been an open carport, currently hides the pretty front door. Inside, the octagonal entrance hall has a wood-burning fireplace and leaded glass windows. Stairs lead up to the second floor. Most of the period details are intact – wood paneling, fireplaces, trim, etc.  A nice second-story porch, original to the house, although covered now by fiberglass storm windows, overlooks the woods, as does a wooden deck for entertaining. Inside, it’s chopped up, due to the rental units, and not really worth a full description. But if you are at all interested in a fixer-upper, this is one to see. Best guess is $300K worth of work.   

Where: Bellona to Ruxton Road. Over the bridge, pass L’Hirondelle  Club, left on Circle Road. Number 1739 is towards the end of the road, as it winds around to the right. House is .5 miles from Graul’s Market. Many consider Ruxton to be an ideal location: Baltimore County taxes, Baltimore County schools, ten minutes to downtown, ten minutes to Hunt Valley.

Why: Six years at Riderwood Elementary (your top-notch local public school) instead of a private school could save you $120,000 per kid –  a lot of new bathrooms…

Why Not: Marriage is not currently strong enough to withstand months of soul destroying renovation, bickering over money and kitchen appliances. Also…not enough grass to justify a ride-on mower.

Who: The kind of family who will let kids play in the woods.

NB: What are those four cement man-hole covers on the lower lawn?