Hot House:  701 W. Lake Avenue, Baltimore, 21210


Colonial-style house in cedar shake with slate roof, circa 1928, recently renovated. Four bedroom, 3.5 baths over 2,446 square feet and three stories. Original architectural features including historic staircase, multiple fireplaces, French doors, crown molding, built-in bookcases and butler’s pantry. Gourmet kitchen, central a/c, heated self-cleaning swimming pool with mineral jets and stone surround, fenced back yard, two-car detached garage on .5 landscaped acres: $715,000


What: An interesting house with a private backyard, a nice heated pool and some historic associations. Rumor is that the gracefully curved staircase here was removed from the Mt. Vernon house where Betsy Bonaparte (nee Patterson) lived, during her high-profile but ill-fated marriage to Jerome Bonaparte, brother of French Emperor Napolean I.( There is a great exhibit on the life and times of Betsy Bonaparte at the Maryland Historical Society now through June, 2014.) The Bonapartes’ 18th century staircase fits beautifully here, and together with ten foot ceilings, wide French doors with fanlights and wide moldings, makes for a lovely entrance hall. It’s elegant and simple, more modern than Victorian. In more recent times, the son of Baltimore’s favorite bandleader Zim Zemeral, lived here for many years. Jon Zemeral and his wife did much of the renovation, which takes the house to a higher level of luxury than you might get from its modest street presence. A big glassed-in side porch overlooks the pool and has wide shutters, a brick tile floor and a gas fireplace. There’s also a screened porch on the other end of the house, off the kitchen. The kitchen is not huge, but it is eat-in, with a granite topped table and nice appliances. Upstairs, the bathrooms are big and modern and there is a room with fine mahogany built-ins, which could be either bedroom or library. A little work on the master suite and this is a dream house.


Where: 701 Lake Avenue sits back, almost hidden by tall pines, near the corner of Roland Avenue, across from the Elkridge Club golf course. The house next door is the historic Homeland Station House for the old Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad. Both houses are in the North Roland Park Association, which, according to a knowledgeable source, has “nothing to do with the condos at Roland Park North, or the Orchards, or even Poplar Hill – and unlike all of them, has no covenants and no HOA fees.” The backyard, with pool, gets the afternoon sun, and is doubly private, because of a large, open field behind it, owned by a Roland Avenue neighbor and currently home to a small chicken coop. From here, children could walk easily to Bryn Mawr or Boys Latin schools, and a bit further to others, public and private. The Robert E. Lee Park too, is nearby, with Lake Roland and its popular Paw Point Dog Park. Eddie’s, the Roland Park Library and the shops at Roland Avenue are a mile away.


Would Suit: Family with (swimming) children.

Why: Imagining Betsy Bonaparte descending your front stairs…Sunning yourself on the stone walls, poolside.

 Why Not: Master bedroom is small and the situation needs reconfiguring, maybe take out a wall?

NB: Lake Avenue is busy at rush hours, pulling out into traffic could be tricky. But  driveway’s plenty big enough to turn around in, so at least you’ll be facing forward.