Renovation With Personality In South Fed Hill: Walk to Riverside Park, TJ Elementary

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Hot House: 1721 Belt Street, Baltimore, 21230 MD

Bow-front row house with painted sandstone trim, circa 1900, recent asphalt roof.  3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths over 1,450 sq. ft. New renovation with unique custom wood trims and millwork throughout. Open-plan first floor, living area with fireplace, dining area, kitchen with new s/s appliances, reclaimed wood island. Fully finished basement with hand-finished wood benching on three sides, master bedroom with hand-carved wall frame. All new bathrooms. Central a/c. Off-street parking for one car: $419,500

What: The owner of this house, Gary Lam, runs a company called Coastal Longleaf, named for a type of southern pine that served as a foundation for Baltimore’s early shipping industry. The company specializes in finding, restoring and putting to use a variety of reclaimed woods, mostly sourced from old or demolished Baltimore buildings. In the unlikely event that this house doesn’t sell ( …fifty people at the Open House on Saturday), it could be the Coastal Longleaf showroom. In every room, there is a unique and unexpected use of wood — a window sill here, a barn door there, a range hood, a baseboard — and in the master bedroom,  a hand-carved frame around one entire wall. Much of the wood used is coastal longleaf pine. The result is a warmer and more engaging home than many urban townhouse renovations, and one that will age more gracefully. Mr. Lam knows the history and source of every wood feature he has added, and it will make an interesting story for a future owner.


Where: In case you missed the little red wagon in the top photo, Riverside has captured the urban family demographic, thanks to the stunning revitalization of the Thomas Johnson Elementary School, a turnaround spearheaded by local families and described in this Baltimore Sun article. A short walk across Leone Riverside Park takes you to the school’s front door, allowing you to join hundreds of local families who walk their kids there each day. The park has an interesting history, as well as a playground, a gazebo, and big, open playing fields, providing a nice amount a green space to this part of town.

For anyone not familiar with it, the Riverside neighborhood is at the southern end of Federal Hill, extending east to Locust Point. It’s close to the restaurants, bars and galleries that make Fed Hill fun, but out of staggering distance from the late night bar scene that can make it annoying — live here, and no one will be throwing up in your planters on a Saturday night. Access to I-95 is super easy from here, and you can grocery shop at the (closer) Shoppers, or the (fancier) Harris Teeter. The coming of the nearby Under Armour campus at Port Covington makes investing in Riverside real estate a reassuring proposition.

Would Suit: Urban families, Under Armour exec looking for easy commute.

Why: Walking your kid to school is a nice way to start the morning.

Why Not: One barn door goes a long way ….

NB: Riverside Park has a nice outdoor swimming pool.


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