Hot House: 2423 Pickwick Road, Dickeyville, Baltimore, 21207 


Stone warehouse, General Grant style, circa 1872, insulated, with recent roof, renovated for use as sculptor’s studio. 4,900 sq. ft over two levels. 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths in total, plus 3,000 sq. ft. open loft space with 30’ ceilings, skylights. Three living areas, including two rental units with basic kitchens, fireplaces, hardwood floors.  Industrial heating, no central a/c, detached 2 car garage, .31 acre lot. Property backs onto Gwynns Fall, with waterfall views: $915,000


What: A unique property. Originally a woolen warehouse, the building has been in the hands of artists since the early 1930s, when it was owned by noted Baltimore muralist R. McGill MacKall. The current owner of the house, Baltimore sculptor Barry Johnston, has lived and worked here for 26 years. He seems ambivalent about selling at all, but agent is confident that he will, in the end. While the building exterior is rugged and charming, nothing about it prepares you for the gigantic interior space, with light pouring through skylights in the roof. The interior photos here do not fully capture the effect, or the size. There is a cathedral-like quality to the room that invites reflection — if your work doesn’t look good here, it won’t look good anywhere. Entrance is directly into the studio, an industrial space with large pulleys and small cranes clearly designed for serious creative work. Halfway across the room, the floor drops off — down another ten feet. There is a removable handrail here, otherwise it would be truly dangerous. (As it is, maybe don’t bring the kids.) The building is warm and dry, and appears to be in good, if factory-like, condition. The artist’s living space is roomy and could be made very sleek, if you decide to go that way. Rental units could supplement income, if commissions start to decline. It has no central air, and Mr. Johnston claims it has never been necessary. Given the thickness of the stone walls, and its riverside setting among the trees, this may be the case.


Where: Dickeyville is a Baltimore treasure which deserves to be better known. A National Register Preservation District, it’s a tiny enclave of 138 houses and public buildings, most built in the 19th century, on the western edge of Baltimore. Pickwick Road is one of its main two or three streets. This house, built just after the Civil War, is called Ashland Mill, and at one time it may have been a working mill. Primarily, it housed wool fabric and clothing produced by the textile factories along the Gwynns Falls. In 1871, William J. Dickey, who had bought the town from the Weathered family, sold the entire town to the Ashland Manufacturing Company. Fabric continued to be produce there until the early 20th century. Dickeyville is about 25 minutes from downtown. Take West Cold Spring Lane to Garrison Boulevard and thenWest Forest Park Avenue. It’s nearly surrounded by the more urban neighborhoods of Woodlawn and Forest Park, but manages to retain a rural, small-town feeling. You’re main shopping corridor is Rt. 40.

 Why: You’ve outgrown Station North, but Chelsea seems so done.

 Why Not: Current outdoor sculptures “not included in the price.”

 Would Suit: Artist working on a large scale.

 NB: No swimming allowed in the falls.