HOT HOUSE: Apt. #503, Highfield House, 4000 North Charles Street, Baltimore 21218
Streamlined one bedroom apartment in an iconic Mid-Century Modern building. 869 square feet, with 24-hour service, underground garage with valet parking, swimming pool: $125,000
What: Your life, only more like “Mad Men.” Built in 1964, Highfield House is one of two Mies Van der Rohe buildings in Baltimore. In its day it was a major architectural statement. And if you stand back and look, the strong, clean, “less is more” aesthetic, and Mies’ sure, restrained hand come shining through in the design of Highfield House today. The lobby is fabulously chic, with its black leather Barcelona chairs and glass floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s one of those places, like the Apple Store, where everyone becomes more interesting just by being there. The building is well-maintained and well-served, and they’ve done their best to keep it up to date while preserving its architectural integrity. Number 503, like all the apartments in Highfield House, has a wall of windows stretching along the back, maximizing the light and vistas. There are angled walls, which keep it from feeling boxy, hardwood floors and a sweeping sense of space for a relatively small area. Galley kitchen and bathroom are fine as is, but with some work, could be really great. This elegant and contemporary setting cries out for spare, modern decorating. If you can, leave grandma’s stuff behind. On the other hand, a cocktail shaker would look right at home.
Where: In the Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood, about a half-mile north of Johns Hopkins University. Safe and walkable.
Would suit: Don Draper, obviously. Emma Peel.
Why: It’s the ultimate showcase for your Mid-Century furniture. And, it’s a very cool building, quite different from the other apartments along the Charles Street corridor, and with more luxury amenities than most. Residents are an interesting, artistic bunch.
NB: 503 is not, by a long stretch, the best apartment in the Highfield House. The really spectacular ones are the high floor, corner three-bedrooms, and those where two apartments have been combined. In these, the feeling of light and space are awe inspiring – exactly the way the architect intended. None are for sale right now, but the right agent can get you on a waiting list.