February 10, 2012

An Estate Sale at a Creepy Mansion

Earlier this week I heard about an estate sale that’s happening over the weekend, and since I don’t work on Fridays, I decided to drive north of Baltimore to find the house. I always find it incredibly sad to see a place that had at one time been glorious, filled with parties and laughter, now so run down and pitiful. This is the case in this house. You can read a little bit about the house, and see some images of its former life here over at my friends at Baltimore Fishbowl.

The house sits high on a hill overlooking the lush and serene Green Spring Valley, just north of Baltimore. As you drive up a winding drive to get to the house, you get a good idea of how massive and well-built the place is. The overcast and gloomy weather did nothing for either the interior or the exterior, and everything was just flat and grey. In fact, some of my shots looked like I’d used a black and white filter to take them.When I entered the house, there were flashes of the place it used to be. Beautiful wood and plasterwork, elegant fireplaces…It’s solid as a rock, and many of the architectural details remain. In a nutshell, the house was built in 1900 by one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, and most recently, it was owned by a rather nefarious doctor who used it as a “pain” clinic, and was later stripped of his medical license.I wasn’t certain whether these walls were papered or painted, but the transition between scenery and paint was badly handled.Even in the overcast, the rooms were bright, and their proportions were good. The details were beautiful.As I went up the sweeping staircase, I was struck by the solidness of the bannisters and railing and the good condition of the hardwood steps. The bedrooms, and there are six of them, all en suite, were used as patient rooms, and there are pieces here and there that remind you that it was a “medical” facility.

But there are also details that remind you of the former good life that the house lived.  The marble fireplace surround, and the sweet sconce, one of only a few that weren’t ripped out. The en suite bathrooms still had their “non-mixer” sinks and tile walls and floors. And having grown up with sinks like these, where the hot and cold water taps don’t mix, let me just tell you that it’s a complete and utter pain!When I walked around the house, I was gutted about how the property had just gone to seed. The beautiful old boxwood were full of dead branches and had become overgrown. Boxwood need air to circulate between their branches or they become diseased. I walked around and pulled handfuls of boxwood branches (with permission) to try and thin them a bit. One of the most melancholy things I saw was an old wicker chair, slowly rotting on the formerly gracious front terrace. To me, the little chair epitomized what the house had become… a slight shadow of its former self.

Oh, what did I get, you ask? Only two books.

Details:
1716-18 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD  21153
In between Greenspring Avenue and Stevenson Road on Greenspring Valley.
Look for two white brick entrance gates and veer to the LEFT when coming up the driveway.
You can TEXT 443-865-4813 for more info...

20 comments:

  1. How fun was THAT??!!! Even in disrepair, that place is awesome. Hope someone is buying it to rehab it and restore it to it's previous grandeur! God forbid someone intends to raze it!!! Lovely old place, just needs LOTS of TLC! Thank you for sharing, Meg!!

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  2. luckily, the house is protected, so it can't be torn down... and there are massive codes restricting development, too. thank god!

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  3. Creepy only that it had been a "medical facility". Those rooms are lovely. Sweet to imagine you clearing out the boxwood branches. Hope she finds a similar love sometime.

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  4. That surely was a grand home in its day.
    Reminds me of some estate sales I go to here in the Bay Area.

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  5. Thank you so much for your help today. We all appreciate it and feel so much better being aired out.

    xoxo

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  6. Hard to tell, but it looks like a fabulous scenic wallpaper, such a DuFour or Zuber. A plain "sky" paper would have been available to go up the stairs; perhaps it was damaged and removed at some point. Wallpaper is pretty in a stairhall, but I always recommend against it because of durability. I'd love to get my hands on this house!

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  7. dear boxwood... you are most welcome.

    there used to be a tradition of people going up and down the east coast "pulling" boxwood at the big old estates to keep it open, but they've long since died out.

    i have a bag of box that i pulled still in my car, and will do something ornamental with it tomorrow.

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  8. What an amazing house--the details are stunning.

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  9. In the 6th photo I noticed a "flat tub" property of the United States postal Service-- clearly the flat(magazines, manila envelopes etc) tub was not on the way with mail to post-- how many items belonging to the USPS are "re-purposed" for private use the USPS is struggling as people bank on line etc.--- putting tellers out of work et. al. and lining the pockets of bankers and their golden parachutes-- banks are ripping off John Q.Public to a tune of a pretty penny. and a weekend house on Montauk

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  10. What a beautiful house! Good bones. I hope the new owners are able to restore it to its former self though I'm sure it'll take a lot of money to do so. Nice to see that much of the original fixtures remain. Gorgeous marble fireplace, unpainted dark wood...I'm in love.

    ~Monique

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  11. I have driven by that house many times. Very sad about it's current state.

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  12. What an absolute shame to let a beautiful house like that rot away. Heart breaking....I hope someone buys it and transforms it to its former glory (before the pain clinic!)
    Laura

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  13. From the looks of the interior, this is the kind of estate sale I like to go to--where you never know what kind of things might turn up in the stacks, boxes, on the wall, and the like. Fun to dig for treasure. Aside from that, yes, it is a great old house that someone could make lovable once again.

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  14. Felt sorry for this house + can imagine how loved it was at one time. Thank God it is protected! Thank you for taking me along. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  15. Usually the main reason to attend this kind of sale is to get a look at the house, although some of these estates still manage to yield a bargain or two. What you really want is an accumulation going back to the original owner.

    The place seems in pretty good repair to me; I didn't notice any major problems, especially for a house that old.

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  16. Hopefully this handsome housw will be sold to someone who appreciates it and has the resources (and will, patience, and fortitude) to bring it back to life. Thanks for the post, most interesting.

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  17. My husband and I went to see "The Woman in Black" (starring Dan Radcliffe aka Harry Potter) tonight, and let me just say this... the house in that movie made this house look like the Queen's tea room.

    Seriously. You must see this movie. I feel a post coming on...

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  18. I think we should snap up that house and reopen it as a retreat for women with Exhaustion. [As in, "I'm sick and tired of you people..."] I feel sure I could recover there.

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  19. Meredith@Tuscan Blue Design:
    I've got Downton Abbey on my mind this Sunday afternoon...a house like this is our regional version of an English Manor House. Hope the new owner will be inspired to restore its' beauty.
    Meredith.

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  20. Perhaps they will modernize have you seen what happened to martha Stewart's famous Turkey Hill residence it is only documented in her books and magazines.

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