October 5, 2016

Academic Building or Family House?

As I was scrolling through the listings of the most expensive houses in the region, I stumbled across this place. Surely they’ve got this wrong, I thought. This is an administration building at a local prep school, some government agency like the Department of Agriculture or a private mental institution.image

But no, it’s actually a private home… one with only THREE bedrooms! It was built in 1989, and is on almost 50 acres just north of Baltimore. My clever friends refer to this monstrosity as the “University of Me”, because it’s a paean to someone’s personal excess and grandiosity.image

Of course, I had to immediately click on the interior images to see if the rest of the house matched up with the unbelievable exterior. They did not disappoint.

The solid wood front doors open to a hall with an awkwardly-placed grandfather clock. imageimage

And once more, I am deeply disappointed that real-estate listings are not required to include floor plans, because, as you can see in the image below, there are some oddly angled walls.image

And the pale brick in the fireplace is completely wrong and adds a discordant note to this room. imageAt least the floors look like actual, not engineered wood. In the description of this house, it refers to “17 piece crown mouldings” and you can certainly see that they’ve added trim and mouldings everywhere possible, sometimes to complete distraction.imageimage

This looks like another living room, this time with built-ins and oddly, a brown ceiling fan. image

It looks like the cupola is really a giant skylight, if I am guessing correctly from this image. And there seems to be an excess of glass n’brass® throughout the house. image

As mentioned, the house is advertised as having only three bedrooms, but if they are as vast as this one appears to be, that’s understandable. Again, a floor plan would help greatly in figuring it out.imageimage

This bathroom, one of three full and three half-baths, is also vast and also has a preponderance of glass n’brass® including the commerical-looking rails leading to the bathtub.image

There’s an old saying, All hat, no cattle. But in this case, it looks like All boots, no cattle. I am left pondering why the only thing left in the huge walk-in closet is boots.image

The rear elevation of this house is also missing something. It’s trying very hard to look colonial or Williamsburg-esque, but failing in the details. imageShutters would help a lot, and some foundation plantings.image

The front could benefit from some shutters as well!image

My understanding is that the owner wanted to put a private landing strip in so he could land his plane, but since this is horse country, the neighbours objected and so he’s moving. You can see where the landing strip was laid out below.image

The house is on the market for $4.25 million, and you can see details here. In an area of gorgeous old estates, and stunning hunt country, this house is certainly an anomaly.


  1. Some parvenu with too much money and too little taste thought he could come in and make a big splash. I'm glad the neighbours weren't buying it. Trouble is - the only person who might want to snap up the place is another parvenu. Maybe the new buyer won't have his own plane, and everybody will be happy. I think the cowboy boots in the closet tell the whole story.

  2. The other current "look" for the super wealthy is the cold, impersonal, jumped up hotel room look. Hard surfaces, cold colors, no personality (not even cowboy boots). How to squander millions!

  3. C'mon, you gotta love that they found hot-pink candles to match the dining room walls! I love Cynthia's comment above -- Parvenu. What a perfect descriptor. Thanks for sharing all this awful-ness, it closing in on the "it's so bad, it's good" territory!

  4. This is known as a "wretched excess".

  5. Yes floor plans would be SO INTERESTING. Not that I would be a customer one way or the other. Cowboy boots make me feel rather sad, tho.



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