July 2, 2012

The Story of the White House*

Not the White House in Washington, DC, but the lovely old sad white house that was in my images of the storm. This is from Google Earth a few years ago. The tree on the right is the one that’s gone down in the bottom image.white houseIt’s been owned by the same family for almost 40 years, and last year, during Hurricane Irene, a tree fell and crashed into the upper porch. I am wondering if it was that scraggly-looking pine just to the left of the walk. It would be the correct trajectory for the destruction. And it’s not seen in the more recent images.Apparently, the owners have been in a dispute with the insurance company about repairing the damage, and instead of being fixed, the damage is getting worse and worse. The wood’s rotting badly and there must be leaks where the roof has been damaged. The column on the ground floor has split and is probably rotted through, and it looks like the paint is peeling along the left side from water running behind it. Now, there’s another tree down, although it didn’t look like it caused any additional damage to the house. But it’s a shame that the owners don’t take the insurance settlement and repair the house. This is one of the most beautiful roads in Baltimore and this house is an eyesore.This is a neighbourhood that has very strong covenants about the houses, so I am surprised that the house has not been repaired.

28 comments:

  1. This is a tragedy. To see such an elegant and beautiful home be allowed to go to run is sinful.

    I can understand your sadness

    Helen xx

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    1. Houses in such disrepair do make me sad. You do see a lot of this in Baltimore's other neighbourhoods, but not ever in this one.

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  2. What neglect. Awful to see homes like that run to the ground. I hope your sister is ok and everyone has power back. We came on at 6am, but my sister is not due back on til Friday!

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    1. I agree Pat. Once a house like this gets to a certain point, it's hard and extremely expensive to pull it back from the brink.

      My sister in MoCo has power, got it back Saturday. My brother in NoVa got it back mid-Sunday, but my mother and sister here in Balto are still without.

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  3. such a beautiful house gone to waste. tsk

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  4. I can read behind the lines here; older owner on fixed income. Insurance company settles, but at a fraction of what the repairs and clean-up require. It is a shame, but perhaps it can not be helped. Clean up tree or buys food, medicine, etc.... how would you choose?

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    1. I see your point, but don't think it's the case here. The better solution would be to sell the house, move into a smaller house or flat that doesn't have the same maintenance requirements as a house of this size.

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  5. What a spectacular home. I would like to share that it is not always as simple as accepting insurance money. We have friends in Olde Catonsville and over a year ago, a tree destroyed their home. The insurance company wanted to give them a SMALL fraction of what it would take to repair. The company cited that some damage must have been there before. It took them over a year to fight it but they finally prevailed. They would have gone bankrupt if they "just accepted" what insurance wanted to give them. Truly. Sometimes the story is deeper...I don't know that anyone of us would know what we could do until we were faced with the numbers. Thank you for your blog.

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    1. You are completely right... sometimes they do offer a small settlement, and you do have to fight. But I am sure your friends covered the damage in an effort not to let it get worse, unlike this house.

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  6. It is the home of Keiffer Mitchell, Sr.
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/baltimorecounty/news/ph-ms-irene-aftermath-0901-20110828,0,2172815.story

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    1. That is the house but that doesn't seem to be the whole story

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  7. Oh no how sad such a wonderful property.

    I understand...many homeowners do not have the funds to make all of the repairs caused by damage like this until insurance settles and many home owners have a large deductible even when they do get a settlement.

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  8. I have enjoyed your blog until recently. I feel you have become very judgmental,unkind and snobbish lately and I really don't see any reason for it. I am going to unsubsribe.

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    1. I am sorry you feel that way. I think that about 99.5% of my posts are positive and informative. I have written about 1600 posts and might not always be positive in every single one.

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    2. Beautiful and stately home and sad for both owner and neighbors that it has fallen into this condition. It is entirely possible that the owners were under insured for the value of their property. This would have been a big mistake on their part, if my assumption is correct. Another thing homeowners are often negligent about and that is the condition of the trees on their property.

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    3. Agree with Anon@11:32. This post is petty and mean spirited. Can you even imagine being in their shoes? I feel for the owners, hope they never read this.

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    4. Carey, it is not meant to be mean-spirited. I am just saddened that this house has not been taken care of. It's a beautiful house and had some serious damage about 10 months ago that has not been fixed. It doesn't look like there's been any attempt to prevent further damage. That is very unfortunate.

      This is a neighbourhood where houses go for $1 million or more. Even if the family bought it 40 years ago, it was going for a premium price then. Wouldn't you be unhappy if this house was next door to you? It's on a major street, and is an eyesore for the neighbourhood.

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  9. so I can be first. It's the fourth where I am. Have a wonderful day Meg

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  10. I love the person who says they're going to unsubscribe but they're anonymous. I hate to judgmental, unkind or snobbish but that person is an asshole. We don't need people like that here. I will concede, however, the asshole spelled everything correctly and their punctuation is good.

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  11. Your voice will make a difference! Keep it up! (I have spent my whole life doing this !)"
    There will be a hearing.....if one person demands it! It is astonishing what one person can do!

    this exquisite house deserves someone to "champion it"!!!

    Go for it~! Forget about "who should; who ought to" They don't; and they won't care......YOU care!

    So go! You would not believe how many really gorgeous and treasures of houses have been rescued by neighbors.....or people who care!

    You go GIRL!

    Sometimes they are sold for 10 cents on the dollar.......and the city or the state helps pay for it!

    Oh Please look into this! What a gorgeous house! You may be able to own it! and live in it!

    Go!

    Penelope

    ps good luck!! Bravo that YOU CARE!

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    1. Thanks! The house is a bit big for me, but it would be perfect for the right person.

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  12. of course it is impossible to know what might be going on in the lives of the owners - illness or other tragedy - and yes if I lived next door naturally I would want to see it repaired. But if Paul Harvey were still among us I am betting there would be "the rest of the story."

    Suzanne on St. Simons

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    1. I am sure that there's a huge back-story to this house. I heard the insurance part from a few people who live in the neighbourhood. They are all, as you might imagine, quite unhappy about it. I had friends in town a few weeks ago, and they commented on how strange this house was.

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  13. We just lived through an insurance nightmare. It took nine months for our home to be repaired because the insurance company--who acknowledged culpability refused to give us a remotely reasonable settlement. It took us, coming way down on what we would accept--even though we had multiple bids from reputable contractors--and then threatening to sue (which we have never done and did not want to do) before they agreed to a settlement. Insurance companies wear you out. They want you to go ahead with the repairs so they can then deny that so much had to be done. Home owners are in a catch-22. If you go ahead and have repairs made, you risk holding most of the bag. If you wait them out, you probably end up living in temporary housing and enduring the trauma of the unknown...My husband and I are professionals and have four children who are attorneys. Even with all this help, we were out of our home for way too long. If these folks are elderly, I don't know how they will navigate the insurance labyrinth. My sympathies are with them; my beef is with insurance company which took premiums and then refuses to pay even an obvious claim. Hopefully, the neighbors can find an extra measure of grace and pity for the homeowners. Maybe if all the neighbors signed a petition and sent it to the insurance company, it would precipitate action. I eventually got our local news station to come do a consumer story on our situation. I wrote the state insurance commissioner, the Better Business Bureau, and the Chamber of Commerce. Even being proactive did not get action--only the threat of legal action worked. This is my perspective having just lived through such a nightmare.

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    1. That does sound like a nightmare! I know that some insurance companies cancel your insurance if you file a claim!

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