August 17, 2017

A Sanctioned Tour of the House I am Stalking

Naturally, after I posted pictures of the inside of the house over which I am obsessing, I got a call asking if I’d like to have a tour. “Tomorrow, at 10:00 a.m.” It was an offer I could not refuse, because if i said no, I might not get another chance to see the house.IMG_4246

My host was charming and informative, and was patient enough to allow me to peek into closets and open doors everywhere. The house is more than 11,000 square feet, and is based on a five-part Georgian design with a main section, two hyphens and two “smaller” sections, either of which would make a nice size house. But this house has an extra two-story wing added, which housed the kitchens and some other rooms on the first floor and servants’ rooms on the second. IMG_3715

There are still most, if not all of the original details, like moulding, hard-wood and marble floors, doors, etc. remaining in the house, as only one family lived it it. But it was most recently (and not even too recently) used as a show-house, and vestiges of that remain as well. Come along and I will show you the current interiors. If you missed the original ones, click here.

One of the most wonderful things about this house is that there is a fireplace in almost every room. IMG_4248Most of them are early 20th century designs as that’s the era of the house, but many have had the surrounds painted in some form.IMG_4262IMG_4279IMG_4281IMG_4285IMG_4294

There are great details throughout the house, including these windows on a swinging door,IMG_4253

this beautiful brass doorknob and escutcheon,IMG_4258

the bell and buzzer system – the chapel wasn’t original to the house,IMG_4288

and this huge built-in safe.IMG_4254

Anyone who has read this blog knows I am a huge fan of enfiladed doorways, regardless of the badly placed exit signs…IMG_4249

and infilled doorways.IMG_4293

As I mentioned, there are remnants of the showhouse including this room. The gold paint is probably radiator paint, and the walls above the chair-rail are actually wood-patterned contact paper!IMG_4252

More radiator paint (or maybe it’s tea paper), this time in silver, but the original details are still there. Check out the jib door on the left below.IMG_4266IMG_4268

The rooms are so classic in their design, apparently a hallmark of the architect, Pleasants Pennington.IMG_4250IMG_4251IMG_4257

You can get an idea of the scale of the house from these two images.IMG_4263IMG_4290

The center hallway is still beautiful.IMG_4244IMG_4296

There was a ton of storage in this house, including in one of the hyphens, IMG_4264

and this closet with drawers and cabinets, as well as a chain to open the skylight.IMG_4273

We had a long discussion about the fact that the house was cream or pale yellow for the first several decades if its existence. Looking at the brick, it seems like the house might have had a light covering of stucco that covered the brickwork. Interestingly, in the architect’s rendering of my friend’s house, it was also a pale yellow over the brick, but the images of the house from the time it was built show it as brick. My suspicion is that the stucco started loosening sometime after the house transferred in the late 40’s, and so it was removed entirely. But traces remain. And the green in the image below comes from the copper screens.IMG_4301IMG_4302IMG_4304

Thanks for coming along with me on my explorations of this amazing house. I am heading to see another of Pleasant Pennington’s local projects over the weekend. It’s only open to the public twice a year, so it’s a “don’t miss” occasion for me!

PS – I PROMISE this is the last post about this house.

August 14, 2017

Obsessed by a House

In a recent post, the one about H. Pleasants Pennington, I posted a picture of a fascinating house that was shown in the architect’s monograph that I found in Montreal. long xThe house was listed with the name of the man who comissioned it, and its general location. That lead me down a rabbit-hole of searching for the house with very few clues, and with those leading to more discoveries.

It took a little bit of work to find out where the house was located, and once I got the general address, and realized it was no longer a private home, I set out to find it. Of course, the address was a red herring, but I managed to slueth it out, regardless.IMG_3702x

It’s an amazing house: A five-part Georgian, with an extra wing added (right side, below), all totaling 11,000 square feet. IMG_3715

Of course, as I research the house, I find out more and more, but there are also some mysteries.

The first is the colour. In all of the early images of the house, it’s cream or yellow colour, not the plain brick that it is today. In the images below, it almost looks like painted brick, but when you look at the brick close up, it doesn’t look like it’s been painted. IMG_3992

In these two renderings, done in the late 1940’s, the house is clearly a pale colour and it almost looks like it could be some sort of applied stucco. IMG_3986IMG_3988

The house makes more sense to me with the pale shade, and the front arch works much better. I also love the shutters for the Palladian-style windows. And the crazy ivy on the front fa├žade! IMG_3992

Both of these photographs, from the 1930’s and 40’s, show the pale shade, and the ivy. IMG_4017IMG_4019

When I got close up to the front of the house, I could see some spots where it looks like there might have been some stucco. As I said, the house makes much more sense painted or stuccoed in cream or pale yellow than in brick. IMG_3762The original owner of the house died in the late 1940’s and his wife moved out and sold or transferred the house to its current owners. The house is no longer in use, which is a shame. Regrettably, one of the current owners is not known for their support of historic preservation, so it is sad that this place is just being left to deteriorate.

I do have some of the early images of the interior, which I will show you along with the current views, where I have them.

Center Hall – Interesting that the hinges on the door are still hall

Corner Room – This was a decorator show house one year, which may account for some of the changes.corner room

Sunroom wing – Too bad the wonderful curved shutters are missing.side

Sunroom – Clearly the same room, I just can’t quite figure out the angle.sunroom

The family’s three sons at an old stone gate.gate

Another view of the front hallhall


Random visitors, aka the Duke & Duchess of Windsor (Look at her wasp waist!)windsors

I wish that they would use this house for something other than storage, but my understanding it that it will take so much money to bring it up to code and repair the issues, that it’s not worth it to the owners. Because it’s less than 100 years old, and isn’t really significant in any way, it’s not protected. And if it was, it probably wouldn’t matter to either the owners or the local jurisdiction.

NB: I am being a bit quiet about the owners and location of this house on purpose. I have had a conversation with the current owners who have offered me a tour.

August 8, 2017

#ThisIsBaltimore: Summer Edition

Summer is just whipping by, isn’t it? Hard to believe it’s almost the second week of August. It’s been a busy couple of months on Instagram, including some pictures of my Canadian adventure. But for this post, we’ll stick to Baltimore.

I love alleys, and love that you can look down an alley and see history.image

Hampton Mansion, just north of Baltimore. image

Not Baltimore, but damn, this gin is good!image

This is the entrance to a walled garden and house.image

This is part of a little village of about 20 houses.image

Is there anything better than having summer drinks on the porch?image

Lake Roland, just after a huge storm.image

The most perfect summer day, watching my friend Sam Robinson painting at friends’ farm.image

Someone desperately needs to be groomed.image

I am working on a big post about the house that I am currently obsessing over! Stay tuned…