Hot House: 1404 West Mount Royal Avenue, Bolton Hill, MD 21217


Victorian townhouse with rounded bay windows and decorative cornice, in stone and brick with asphalt roof. Five bedrooms, 2.5 baths over three stories, 2,790 square feet. 12’ ceilings on ground floor, solid plaster walls, many original architectural features. Hardwood floors, four fireplaces, exposed brick walls. Re-wired, re-roofed, re-insulated, quiet. Recent steam boiler. Third floor master bedroom, second floor game room. Multiple rear balconies. Central a/c. Gated back garden with herringbone brickwork. Parking pad for one car. Backs to park, trees: $399,000

What: A substantial and elegant city home, restored by the owner and well maintained. A little sprucing up wouldn’t hurt though, depending how you feel about mirrored walls. The solid front door enters into a large living room. There’s good light from the long narrow windows ( which have built-in shutters). Living room leads into the equally large dining room (with mirrored wall) and on into the smallish kitchen. At a minimum the kitchen needs more cabinets and counter space, although it is clean and functional. Backstairs lead up to the second floor, which has a bedroom, a cozy office with windows overlooking the back garden, and a fireplace. The house has four fireplaces, which work, but all need to be re-lined. The beautiful oak stair bannister was scraped clean “layer by layer,” after years of MICA students had painted it in various shades of neon. The large front room on the second floor is home to a giant, century-old Brunswick Centennial billiard table, which owner believes may have been used in the 1961 ultimate pool movie, The Hustler. Pool table might be for sale — make an offer. Above the game room, on the third floor, a similarly large, bright, front room is the master bedroom, with mirrored wall and built in cabinets. Separate dressing room and a big modern bathroom are down the hall, not en suite. There is a small laundry closet up here as well. Plenty of room for reconfiguring kitchen space or master bedroom space, when you’re ready.


Where: Number 1404 is located on Mt. Royal Avenue, separated from the traffic by a wide, tree-lined meridian. A bench and a Civil War statue in front add warmth and interest. Behind the house is Rutter Street Park, a quiet and a shady square where locals chat and students sketch. Owner Ralph Rubin gives former MICA president Fred Lazarus enormous credit for “turning the neighborhood around,” working with the Mount Royal Improvement Association to make strategic investments in local real estate on behalf of the school.  Around the corner from the house is neighborhood favorite On The Hill Cafe, a picturesque coffee shop cum cafe, open 7-9pm except Sundays. Excellent sandwiches. B Bistro and Joe’s Squared pizza round out the dining options in the immediate vicinity. Besides the beautiful architecture, Bolton Hill’s great asset is its location. You can walk to Penn Station in five minutes, which makes the MARC train to DC pretty do-able. And if the Japanese get to build their maglev to DC, it will be just a 15-minute trip.


Why: MICA is all around you here. Fun sculptures pop up overnight, students paint en plein air and carry colorful projects back and forth across Mt. Royal Avenue. It’s great people watching.

Why Not: Interior rooms especially, are dark.

Would Suit: Artist, or artist manqué.

NB: This house has the last gas lamp post in the neighborhood. There is a gas line (capped), and grandfathered into the deed is a clause that says city will allowed it to be gas-lit.