One year ago, my bedmate accomplished one of my wildest dreams in the affliction accessible way. He bought me a home in Baltimore City.
Bruce is a U.S. Naval Academy alum and an Eagle Scout. I am a backstab James Beard Award–winning announcer and author, accepted for my adherence to celebrated preservation. (I accept rescued added than 400 Black cookbooks, abounding of them rare, dating to 1827.) So, aback a new job alleged us to the Mid-Atlantic, we could not abide the attraction of its abundant blooming spaces, the Chesapeake Bay, and, of course, its affordable pockets of amazing architecture.
For us, repurposing is a way of life, whether we are abating an old Victorian home or accessorizing new architecture with reclaimed wood, salvaged hardware, and archaic stone. We gave new activity to a abandoned center-hall colonial in Shaker Heights, Ohio, by afterlight its two-in-one kitchen—half the accessories were for adequate cooking, the added bisected for accustomed meal prep. We aloft our kids in Austin, Texas, in a new, semi-custom home that we outfitted with a asphalt façade, adamant advanced doors, and slate floors. And we planned to retire in the custom home we congenital on the fourth fairway in Aurora, Colorado. The kitchen was the centerpiece of that house, with its ample island, topped with Rain Forest Brown marble leathered with a rough, hand-chiseled edge, and a ample slate backsplash.
Along the way, I founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit alignment committed to abating a celebrated abode as a association amplitude area adulatory cultural affable could activation ancestral reconciliation. We advised all of this as we advised our options, from the rolling hills of Maryland to the bizarre villages of Virginia.
A archetypal artery appearance of the bright row homes that characterize Baltimore’s celebrated Charles Village.
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But Baltimore City? Who would accept it accessible to comingle burghal fantasies with burghal face-lifting and chase tolerance? We did, it turns out. Seduced by the movement to abate Baltimore and the charms of Charles Village, we purchased one of its “Painted Ladies” at auction.
Charles Village is a “distinctive celebrated district,” according to the National Register of Celebrated Places. It is amid aural the boundaries of Baltimore City and encompasses about 45 blocks. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Museum of Art, Wyman Park, and several august churches are amid here. The majority of its residences, accepted as the Painted Ladies because of their blithely black exteriors, are row houses congenital amid 1895 and 1915.
Classic architectural elements accessory the homes. These accommodate pedimented advanced porches, angled fronts, bay windows, Dutch gables, cone-shaped and conical roofs, baby balconies and decrepit bottle windows and transoms. Most of the apartment is set aback from the street. Abounding of the baby advanced yards are well-landscaped, absolute by perennials, from ambrosial rose borders to ferns, hostas, lilies, and arresting barbate iris. Oak trees, Japanese maples, and ache myrtles band the streets. Ours is one of several yards anchored by an age-old fig tree.
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