February 19, 2015

I’ll Take This: Classic English in Baltimore

Guilford is one of the premier neighbourhoods in Baltimore, about 100 years old now, with stunning architecture, wide open spaces, and gorgeous gardens. I’ve written about it here, here and here. It seems like I’ve managed to take a picture of almost every house in the neighbourhood, except one. It’s situated a little higher than the rest and has a wall and some foliage surrounding it, so it’s hard to spot. image

But it’s a fabulous house! It was designed by the famous Palmer & Lamdin architects of many of Baltimore’s most beautiful houses. It’s done in the English manor style, and was last on the market in 2005. image

From the exterior, you can see the great brickwork in a Monk bond and Jacobean-style chimneys. The details in this house are a hallmark of Palmer & Lamdin. Ohhh, please tell me they don’t have replacement windows! I can’t imagine the architectural review committee approving that!image

At the entrance, there is some beautiful wood work and iron-work. image

More gorgeous old wood, especially the timbered ceiling. image

Notice the small panel in the front door so you can check to see who’s there without opening the massive wood door!image

Massive staircase with more beautiful wood. Although I might be tempted to lighten things up a bit… At least this side of the house, which faces west, gets a lot of natural light.image

This room is to the left of the entrance, and then there’s a sun-room beyond that.image

From another angle: image

Here’s the sunporch, which looks like it’s got a fireplace backing up to the one in the room above.image

The formal dining room: image

The sitting room, with another fireplace!image

Not a big fan of the kitchen.image

My guess is that these are the stairs from the 2nd to the 3rd floor. But I can’t quite figure out that window placement unless it’s the top of the double-height window to the left of the front door.image

I am guessing this is the master bedroom, and you can see the four-poster bed peeking out from the far corner.image

Am I the only one who is bothered by the brown wood in the black and white bathroom? I know from experience that these houses had amazing bathrooms, so it’s a shame the original is gone.image

Same bath? Different bath?image

Another one? Do you think they got a good deal on the wooden pieces?image

Here’s the rear of the house, imagewith some detail of the gardens, the brick wall and what’s probably a big garage.image

When you live in an old neighbourhood, most of the trees are old, too, and that makes for a great yard.image

Here are some of the particulars of the house: 7 bedrooms, 7 baths, 7 fireplaces, 10k square feet, built in 1917, priced at $2.45 million. Details here.


  1. what a great house! Thank you for this! Just about everything is the wrong color...but; mostly east to fix with cosmetics! (i.e.paint)!!

    So nice of you to call the wood in the kitchen "brown"; I call it "hideous" first; and then "orange"! Paint!!!

    Paint everything....restain the wood floors the way they started dark, dark,dark brown...!

    That window in the staircase is problematical... the staircase must not be original.....very scary.

    Love the house! I hope someone who buys it will know what to do!!


    ps the kitchen is horrible. You are correct!!

  2. It is doubtful that the bathroom vanities are wood, most likely they are a faux finished composite. You are right, the dark wood has to go away in some areas. That being said, the house is striking and although it has more stained wood than my personal taste can take, much is appropriate for the style - nothing that some cosmetic fixes couldn't help.

    1. You are ; I sure, right. This has taken me into a nether-world beyond my comprehension! Cosmetics could help tremendously....and no reason much of this dark wood need stay in today's world...Just my opinion; of course! The architecture can hold it's own. It has been "bastardised" (my mother's wonderful expression!) and needs to be "restored:
      "!! Begging actually; someone help!!!! I adore it's "siting"on the land....and the "bones" of the house!

      imagine having a 3 foot high window on the stairway to the upper floor and putting an pretentious valance on it??

      Lord have mercy!!!

      (I am not kind when I see stuff like this done to beautiful old houses.....it drives me insane....as you can tell.) I really get upset about this!!!

  3. First off, let's just admit this place is amazing times a thousand. But of course I have my criticisms.

    1. The windows (seen from the outside) make it look like a mental institution. Egads, how awful.
    2. The window treatments (on the inside) are pitiful and meager and do nothing to accentuate the grand, sweeping size of the rooms.
    3. The kitchen and bathrooms are the sort of tripe you see in Long Island "McMansions". Whoever designed that mess probably loves "Housewives of N.J.".
    4. WHY are the stairs a different color than the bannisters? Jeez, Louise, people. All the wood should be dark, dark, dark.
    5. Way too many white walls.

    Okay, after going back and looking at all the photos again, let me just say this: Empty that sucker out and let me start from scratch.

    1. I agree with every word! Brilliant! EEEK!

      The second day of my second house....I spent the entire day taking all the hideous curtains and hideous valences down.....and straight to the dumpster ( before they were invented!!!) I could not even think straight until they were removed! Same here! "GET them OUT!!!" Lordy!

      The bones are good.....mostly.
      For starters; paint the inside of the windows on the exterior (inside the framing; I mean the windows and muntons) were painted black...enormous improvement....then get started on the inside. Stain floors dark dark brown...paint all offending cabinetry....replace fake wood fake french bombe things in the bathroom with tailored and simple cabinetry painted....whew!

      Take a deep breath and keep going!
      Then get started! Why is the window half way up the stairway? Was it moved??
      Do tell!!

      I love your ideas!!!!

    2. Marcheline and I were separated at birth! I agree with all of her comments! We should go into "flipping houses"! (except I get attached)!

      I agree with every word! It does look like a "mental institution" from outside.

      This is the sort of house, however, that loves people who understand it to come in and save it!

      And it could easily be "saved"!!

      A gorgeous house in need of some tender loving care.....(I will never say "TLC" as long as there is one breath in my body!!!)

    3. "tripe" is the perfect word! I haven't seen the "Real housewives of New Jersey"; but I have the visual completely.....and this is it! the ridiculous bathrooms......and the kitchen....oh dear.

      When was the last time any of you heard the word "tripe"?

      Add it to your vocabulary.....what a GREAT word!!!!!


  4. Built in 1915 to designs by Edward L. Palmer for Corbin Braxton Dallam on the site of the original Guilford mansion, the Mcdonald-Abell estate. Mr. Dallam was the president of W. C. Robinson & Son, an oil company. Mrs. Dallam ( née Nannie Poultney Fisher) was the daughter of Charles David Fisher, founding partner of grain exporting firm Gill & Fisher as well as president of Baltimore Chamber of Commerce, and grew up in an even larger, if not grander, mansion, “Rolandvue” in Ruxton which was later owned by her sister Lucy Fisher Brune.

    1. she is spinning in her grave...someone needs to save it! HELP!! It could be gorgeous!!!

  5. How interesting. Meg, thanks for sharing this. Kathleen

  6. When my family bought the house in 1984, it had been completely redecorated as the BSO Showcase house for 1983. Some of the rooms were seriously hideous. The stairwell and landings had been carpeted in pale gray, so it was harder to notice that the floors and stairs are quite a lighter color than the banisters. All of the hardwood is light, but the stairs may have been stripped and revarnished if the removed carpeting had left any damage behind. The landing shown is the second floor; the window starts on the landing below and indeed continues to the landing above. That is the original, main, staircase, and there is a secondary staircase just down the hall a few feet.

    The house was again a BSO Showcase in 2004, and the kitchen is a remnant of that. The original kitchen was a hodgepodge of styles, but had original floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinets on one side, which were removed. Those original cabinets were also removed from the butler's pantry, which in the real estate photos is being used as a miniature dining room, and another adjacent pantry.

    I can't remember if the hideous bathroom cabinetry was from the showcase or not, but as it appears to be in two separate bathrooms, it is probably the addition of the current tenants. We did modernize the toilets and add a shower stall here and there when we moved in, but kept many of the original pedestal sinks.

    Another interesting thing to note from the real estate photos is that they did some structural renovation to the third floor. If you look at my rendition of the original floorplan (http://theminx.com/guilfordhouse/thirdfloor.htm), you'll see that a bathroom and two or three small bedrooms were opened up to make the seating area shown here: http://img3.nrtwebservices.com/Thumbnail.ashx?p=http://img3.nrtwebservices.com/MidAtlantic/Properties/JPG_Main/434/1485434_27.Jpg&nif=http://www.cbmove.com/NRTProducts/include/images/NoPropertyPhoto.gif&h=439&w=659

    I lived in this house for 16 years and threw many memorable parties in it. It was far too big for the few people that inhabited it, but I loved it nonetheless.

    1. the small bedrooms on the third floor were where the grandchildren slept. One of the grands was my father, Braxton Dallam Mitchell.

  7. Also, the bedroom photos shown are the large master bedroom on the far right (Wendover Road) side of the house. There's a small den off this room, two large walk-in closets, and a large deck. There's also an entrance to what was probably a nursery, which has it's own bathroom. There is another large bedroom suite on the Lambeth side of the house. The bedroom there is square and not as large, but it has two walk-in closets, a bathroom, and large siting room. From that sitting room one can access a storage area with a cedar closet and two smaller closets, and a large storage room that is over the kitchen. We used that room as our "attic," for storing unused furniture, tchotchkes, and other various stuff.


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