Hot House: 831 S. Milton Street, Baltimore, MD 21224
Brick townhouse, circa 1900, former pool hall and gym. Two bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2,240 sq. ft. over two stories, no basement, new rubber roof.
Recent industrial-style renovation, with glass brick window, 14′ ceilings. Open plan main floor with living, dining areas, laundry and storage area. Raised gourmet kitchen with professional appliances and 22′ granite island. Two master bedroom suites, Roman style shower/bath with Italian mosaic tile. Central a/c. Street parking: $499,900
What: A fairly standard Canton row house that has some unique selling features — a sunken Roman bath, a raised kitchen and a former life. For more than 50 years, this was Joe Poodles Pool Hall and Boxing Gym, a popular South Baltimore hangout run by local character Joe Poodles (née Podles). Joe Poodles was the fifth son of 14 in a Polish immigrant family. He became a middleweight boxer (50% K.O. ratio), but after he married in the 1920’s he opened a grocery store in Canton. The grocery store moved to 831 S. Milton Street and became a pool hall with a boxing gym upstairs, where Joe trained future fighters, including Sugar Ray Leonard. Later, Poodles turned it into a Boxing Museum, now defunct. In 1979, the Maryland Gazette published a fascinating interview with Mr. Poodles, who died in 1982. It’s worth reading for its colorful account of life in Baltimore at the early part of last century, and a copy of the article conveys with the house.
Now, back to the sexy renovation: From the vintage Playboy magazines and girly art to the telescope in the bedroom, the current owners of this house are making the most of someone’s stylish overhaul. The kitchen, with its massive granite island, sits two steps up from the living level. Polished wood floors and high-intensity lighting give it the look of the Kitchen Stadium in Iron Chef America. Scrambling an egg here would be beyond gratifying. Ditto for taking a shower in the master bedroom’s mosaic-tiled bathing arena. A deep (like 3′) rectangular tub drops down from the main floor. You could fit 15 people in a pinch. The possibilities are endless.
Where: This house is a great Canton location — just a block from the water and close enough to walk to Harbor East (about a mile). Better yet, you could ride your bike. This part of town is flat as a pancake, with not a lot of fast-moving traffic. For groceries, there is the nearby Safeway and a Harris Teeter a little further out. Walk or run the promenade around the Inner Harbor. Lots of fun drinking and dining around here — this house is the perfect place to come home to after a night out.
Why: Dancing on granite island until 4 a.m.; being fed grapes while carousing in Roman bath.
Why Not: Not much storage.
Would Suit: Buyer who entertains — in kitchen and bath.
NB: The television is in an odd location above the laundry room.