Hot House: 1811 Circle Road, Ruxton, 21204
Single-style colonial, circa 1883, with L-shaped later addition. Slate roof over main house, asphalt shingle roof on addition. Six bedrooms, 5.5 baths over 6,033 sq. ft., with entrance hall, formal living and dining rooms, eat-in kitchen, butler’s pantry, multiple fireplaces, original architectural details, hot tub, 3 car garage, partial a/c. 9.27 acre hilltop property: $1,585,000
What: The John Wayne of houses — big, simple and a little creaky — with an innate dignity and an incorrigible aspect. It’s a storybook setting, magical for children, but perhaps best suited to owners with an easy-going, tolerant disposition. Built in 1886 by the Fisher family as a summer home, it has since been owned by assorted Finneys, Seilers, Cromwells and Tates, and lived in year-round since 1936. There were once cows grazing on the hillside, horses, a pond, a tennis court and a vegetable garden. It has been well-loved and well-maintained. You could live here happily for many years and never feel the need to improve a thing. But after awhile (if not sooner), the lack of a master suite, the lemon yellow bathroom tile, the beige formica kitchen cabinets — or some other old-fashioned aspect of the house — is likely to set off a mania of home-improvement. There’s a risk that either the house, or a change-obsessed homeowner could lose their soul in the process, which would be a shame.