HOT HOUSE: 719 Park Avenue, Baltimore 21201
Mount Vernon Federal style town home, circa 1885, in good condition. First two stories are owner’s suite, (2447 sq. ft.) and three large rental apartments (roughly another 6,000 sq. ft.) on three additional floors. Original carved moldings, mirrors, mantles. In all, nine bedrooms, five and one half baths, gourmet conservatory kitchen, back garden and brick patio: $795,000
What: Stylish city living in historic Mt. Vernon. This is a light-filled, five-story house with lovely city views. Owner is indie movie actress, blogger and Johannesberg native Philippa Berrington-Brew, a beautiful blonde with a accent to die for, who has spent seven happy years here with her husband and daughter (now, don’t be a hater…). She and her cool Baltimore life star in a Live Baltimore video series called, Live Baltimore, The Series, which prominently features the house. Sadly, the family is moving back to South Africa, and leaving behind a very cool, light-filled home with high ceilings and stunning architectural details. Peering through the front door glass on a drive-by in 2005, she lost her heart to the house, with its arched windows on the façade, and indoor vistas of curved stairs, grand mirrors and intricately carved white marble fireplaces. All the mirrors and chandeliers (and mantelpieces) are staying. She points out that each of the apartments has its own full floor, so the house has never been carved up the way some rental properties are. Turning the house back into a single family home should not be difficult. On being landlords, Philippa says “we’ve never had a dud (tenant).” Just nice people who pay their rent on time, and sometimes become friends. Walk through the living and dining rooms to the kitchen, which takes the whole back of the house and features small-paned windows overlooking the charming walled garden and Madison Street. Kitchen is all white, modernized with nice appliances and lofty cabinets. Up the stairs are two large bedrooms, two baths and a small sitting/family room. There is ample room for more closets, which are very much needed, although there are two good-sized storage rooms for the family further up the stairs.
Where: Park Avenue is two blocks west of Cathedral Street, and 719 is at the corner of Park and Madison. The 700 and 800 blocks of Park are the best. You could probably live here without a car if you work downtown, although parking is “never a problem, except when they light the Monument.” Walk to Penn Station, walk to Eddie’s of Mt. Vernon, walk to Charles Theater, the Meyerhoff, School for the Arts, MICA, Mt. Vernon Park, Walters, Brewer’s Art, Milk and Honey — the list goes on and on. Also, with the little Grace and St. Peter’s pre-K and elementary school right here, it’s actually very family friendly. Surrounded by church steeples and trees, it’s storybook picturesque.
Why: Because the adventure of city living appeals to you, the school on the corner makes it unusually work-able for families, and you’re a sucker for old world glamour. Glassed in kitchen above street level is like sitting at a café, watching the world go by.
Why Not: Quite comfy in the suburbs, thanks.
Who: Relaxed urban dwellers, for whom the occasional inconvenience, (fewer closets and showers than one might like) is more than compensated for by the history and elegance of the house and the liveliness of city living.