A Modernist House In The Woods: Authentic ‘Deck House’ In Towson

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Hot House: 1104 High Country Road, Towson, MD 21286

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Late Modernist “Deck House,” circa 1971, with cedar siding and shingle roof, 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths over two levels and 3,318 sq. ft. Post-and-beam construction with mahogany beams and vaulted cedar ceilings. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, walls of windows, hardwood floors on main floor. Open-plan living and dining room with raised hearth fireplace, burled wood built-in cabinets, cathedral ceiling and wooded views. Kitchen has Quebec cherry cabinets, granite counters and island, Sub-Zero fridge. Main floor master suite with walk-in closet and jetted tub overlooking woods. Large lower-level family room with gas fireplace, built-in book cases bedroom, storage room w/ cedar closet, bathroom with steam shower and separate office. Numerous decks, bluestone patio, gardens on 1.04 acres: $595,000

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What: A ‘Deck House’ is a pre-fabricated Mid-Century house developed in 1959 by two architects who studied under Walter Gropius (founder of the Bauhaus) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. They formed the Deck House Company in Acton, Massachusetts, where it still operates, now called the Acorn Deck House Company. Available in many styles and custom options, Deck Houses were widely popular, and more than 20,000 Deck Houses have been built worldwide. The architectural basis for a Deck House is post and beam construction, which uses large and solid timbers to hold up the roof. Their stability eliminates the need for supporting walls and allows for an almost unlimited amount of glass. For this reason a Deck House is almost always used in a natural setting where its building blocks of wood, stone and glass “accentuate the relationship between the structure and the site,” in a Gropius-like manner. This house is a good example of the genre. Built and owned by a former art teacher and her husband, it has a strong artisanal quality, with fine materials used in a simple yet complex construction that appeals to many people — including several looking at the house last weekend. The bathrooms are a bit dated, but a tub overlooking a private wood might help make up for that.

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Where: High Country Road is off Roxleigh Road which is off Providence Road. As Providence Road heads away from Towson, through the Cromwell Valley and toward the Loch Raven Reservoir, it becomes more rural in feeling. The houses are small ranchers mostly, on large lots. This house is nestled with a tiny group of attractive homes at the end of High Country Road, overlooking a wooded ravine that drops down into the park, trails and streams of the Loch Raven Reservoir. It is private and feels secluded, but a short walk takes you back into a peaceful neighborhood that seems to have lots of kids. Just minutes to the center of Towson. Good access, but no noise, from the Baltimore Beltway and 83. Highly ranked public schools — Hampton Elementary, Ridgely Middle and Loch Raven High (best in Baltimore County) — are nearby.

Why: Cool house, surrounded by nature, with access to Loch Raven Reservoir.

Why Not:  Not crazy about nature.

Would Suit: Artisanal types, bird watchers, Mid-Centuryists

NB: Neighbor’s deck with hot tub can be glimpsed through the trees.deck-houseview



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