Hot House: 1612 Bolton Street, Baltimore, 21217


Federal style townhouse in painted brick with wood trim, circa 1920 (possibly older) , with new membrane roof. Four bedrooms, 3 full baths over 4,200 sq. ft., with third floor in-law suite and unfinished basement. Original historic details w/minimalist modern renovation. Entrance foyer, living room, sitting room, family room, large lower level kitchen, master bedroom, third floor in-law suite. Hardwood floors throughout, original mantels, ornate fireplace stove, plaster details, unfinished plaster walls. Deep garden with room for 2-car parking. No central air: $445,000


What: An inspirational treatment of one of Bolton Hill’s classic townhouses. The house is extremely photogenic – full of intriguing vistas and clever treatments. Look at all the pics. It will change the way you think about city houses. The current owners, young academics with style, bought it from a woman who had been here for 50 years. Much of the wallpaper (virtually every inch of wall was covered) was original to the house. When they took it off, there was the old, never-painted 1920’s plaster — instant Havana chic, beloved of Brooklyn decorators and shelter blogs everywhere,  with good reason. As if this was not cool enough, down in one corner of a wall, where the paper was removed, is the penciled signature of the wallpaper guy. Throughout the house, the owners have decorated with a light touch and a contemporary eye. Besides removing the wallpaper they replaced two bathrooms and updated the third. The kitchen is wide open, with old pine floors, white walls and a high farm table. It opens out to the garden. It’s an inexpensive and fun approach — highlighting architecture and patina, not taking the weight of history too seriously. Best of all, they have observed the Hippocratic oath of historic preservationists everywhere: “First, do no harm.” 


Where: Under a mile from Penn Station — an equally great location for DC commuters, Hopkins professors, MICA faculty or newly arriving West Elm execs. Bolton Street is the grand boulevard of Bolton Hill, a neighborhood of 2,000 residents, with wide sidewalks and old trees, a few hundred yards from the campus of Maryland Institute College of Art. Bolton Hill is on the National Register of Historic places, and Bolton Street boasts many of its finest homes. Its quiet streets and parks are livened by MICA students, joggers, fountains, shops and a few restaurants — B Bistro, On the Hill Cafe and Park Cafe, a student hangout and coffee bar. There’s a great nursery school. Station North and Mt. Vernon attractions are easily walkable.

 Why: Beautiful architecture, treated with a light hand.

 Why Not: No main floor bathroom or a/c – but the price reflects that.

 Would Suit: The Brooklyn diaspora. Free spirits. Anthropologie shoppers.

 NB: Signature of wallpaper guy says 1876, but house was built in 1920…????


2 replies on “Raw Glamour: Bolton Hill Townhouse Bares Unfinished Plaster Walls”

  1. Our home inspector said that people didn’t begin keeping track of when homes were built until 1920. Our house was also “built in 1920”, but we suspect it is older.

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