March 15, 2013

Baltimore Bits & Pieces

Scattered around some of Baltimore’s older neighbourhoods, there are about 200 houses designed by the architectural firm, Palmer & Lamdin. These houses are noticeable with their wonderful and sometimes quirky details. They’re loosely based on English cottages, or what everyone’s ideal of an English cottage is. When you see new faux English homes, this is what they’re trying to be. These Palmer-Lamdin houses don’t come on the market very often – the people who live in them, love them, and never want to leave. imageDespite what is probably the most motion-sickness-inducing video I’ve ever seen from the real estate agent (it’s about the house, please, not how many special effects you can cram into three minutes), several people arrived at the brokers open with contracts in hand!

The house is filled with quirky details, including a double height front entry way with a curved floating staircase.
There are interesting windows everywhere, here…

and here…

There are several arched doorways, this one out to the center courtyard, and this one from the first floor study to the front hall.

While the kitchen is a bit dated, and is sure to be ripped out, I did love the original pantry cabinets and shelves.

The house even has its original butler bell system.

This is one of two nearly identical and adjacent houses which share a center courtyard, now...

and in 1926. It looks like there was a garage in the courtyard, but it’s now the study in the house. You can also see that the house was originally white-painted brick, but it’s mellowed to a faded red now.imageThe house retains so much of its original charm, and for less than $600k, it’s really a steal!

For more information on these Palmer Lamdin houses, about which I will be writing more at a later time, check out these two articles. imageOne is by pal, Lisa Simeone, and the other by some-time boss, and fellow Architecture Foundation board member, Walter Schamu, who is preparing to write a book about these houses.

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My friend Andrea, co-owner of Bosom Buddy Bags, is having her annual “Scratch, Whoopsie and Retirement” sale next week at their warehouse/workshop just north of Baltimore. I have one of the Bosom Buddy Bags, and it was the bag I wore all summer, and it didn’t look any more worse for wear, than the day I got it! I stopped in to see the gals at BBB and to take some pictures of the items they have for their sale. Most of the bags in the sale are prototypes, or were show-room or advertising models, or have some small detail that’s not quite right.

They have about 200 bags that will be sold, first come, first served. CASH ONLY!

All of the bags are made in Bali and then finished here in Baltimore with unique colours and trims.

Andrea also showed me some of the new pieces in their collection. LOVE these tortoise shell cuffs. Of course, I love anything tortoise shell!

How great would these look with a warm summer tan?

Super cute raffia clutch, with BBB’s signature finish.

The sale is Friday, March 22nd at 1:00 p.m. (and not a damn second earlier, girls!) at BBB’s world HQ at 1505 Serpentine Road, Baltimore, MD 21209. Here’s the link to the FB event page.  If you’re not in Baltimore and would like a BBB, check their website for a retailer near you. And if you’re going to the April High Point Furniture Market, look for BBB at the Marketplace with their pop-up, cash & carry shop.

I saw some P*D readers there last year and hope to see even more of you this year! It’s a great event and you’re sure to find something you will LOVE!


  1. I think the 1920s was a good time for the American house. We've owned two from the late 20s -- although not so upscale as the one here -- and they've been characterized by sturdy construction and nice finishing and very attractive, well-scaled rooms.

  2. Love the pantry and butler system. I sure hope they aren't ripped out.

  3. Keep the kitchen!! I wish I were close to Baltimore for the warehouse sale.. Happy Spring.

  4. That house is divine! + details, details, details. I adore tortoise also + the purses look fab.

  5. Absolutely charming. I would try to leave as much of the kitchen intact as feasible; it matches what I love about the house, after all.

  6. Was that a drafting table of an architect? Oh my it is gems like this that keeps me a fan of your blog . This has all the bells and whistles of the 20's no doubt. These were not cookie cutter houses however were such housing in reach of the average home buyer? anyway over half a million dollars as an asking price ... well 90% of the population has a job....a real estate investment trust could or a LLC ....

  7. Love that house! I much prefer the brick painted! It is so elegant! And I would paint the cabinets in that kitchen!
    A gracious, lovely house!!

  8. OMIGOD!! You are so right about that perfectly horrible listing!! That is the worst I have ever seen!!!

  9. I remember going into whichever one of those two Palmer Lamdin houses that was on sale back in the early 80s, when my family was looking to move out of Fells Point. The white paint was more obvious back then than it is now, and I had a real aversion to that sort of thing. I doubt my opinion was the reason we passed on purchasing that particular house though. (I think it didn't have enough bedrooms.)

    The house we ended up with, 4001 Greenway, had the original kitchen and pantry cabinets, and the old butler's bell. We kept them, but when Dad sold the house a handful of years ago, he let the Baltimore Symphony use it as a show house and they of course ripped the kitchen cabinets out.

  10. Egads, that house is gorgeous. Anyone who would rip out that kitchen needs to have their head examined - and they need to be restrained. As a matter of fact, the realtors should question every prospective buyer and refuse to sell to anyone who intends to rip out that kitchen. And they should install hidden cameras, so that if a buyer starts to rip out the kitchen, a team of men in black ninja suits can immediately be dispatched to the house to take care of the work crew and steal back the deed.


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