Hot House: 226 Lanvale Street, Baltimore, 21217
Victorian townhouse in brick, circa 1900, three stories with partially finished basement. 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2,460 sq. ft. with crown moldings, hardwood floors, front bow window, brick patio, rear garden, central a/c: $445,000
What: A substantial city house at a good Bolton Hill address, even more accessible to Washington now that the MARC train’s running on weekends. It’s been partially renovated, and while the kitchen and bathrooms want cosmetic updating, the house is certainly in move-in condition, and the systems are good. There is an unusual entrance feature of a glass wall, paned like a window, running between the living room and the hallway — the idea being to keep the entrance hall from being a long, dark corridor. In fact, the entrance is flooded with light, and the overall effect is bright and modern, just unexpected. The large dining room is across the hall, and the kitchen (an eventual redo) is at the back, with stairs leading out to the quaint back garden and patio. A half bath is also on the first floor.
Second floor has a large sunny room with a big bow window, which would make a nice family room, shelves already in place. The third floor has potential for a great master bedroom suite — currently it’s a large bedroom (again with the bow window), a small bedroom and a full bath. If you are Ok with doing some renovation, this is a house worth the investment.
Where: If Baltimore were Manhattan, Bolton Hill would be the Upper East Side. It’s one of Baltimore’s most beautiful neighborhoods, a world apart from the more entertainment-packed venues of Harbor East, Canton, Federal Hill and even Mt. Vernon. While it’s true that Bolton Hill does not have much in the way of night life — with the exception of the brilliant B Bistro on Bolton Street — its well groomed streets and imposing townhouses are increasingly in-demand with D.C. commuters and people working in and around Station North. Number 226 Lanvale Street is about a half mile from Penn Station — a 10-minute walk or a 4-minute taxi ride. The Bolton Swim and Tennis club down the street is a major summer destination — price: $800 per family, per year, less for individual memberships. The Baltimore Montessori School is nearby for grades preK-8, ditto the Midtown Academy, and the beloved Bolton Hill Nursery School is moving from Brown Memorial Church into new space in a landmark house (formerly Family and Children’s Services) on Lanvale Street. Besides B Bistro, there’s the coffee at On The Hill Café, and the pizza at Two Boots. Your local is the Mt. Royal Tavern, a fantastic dive bar, full of artists. And with North Avenue fast becoming a destination…you’ll be well-placed.
Why: Wide, quiet, tree-lined streets. Elegant old buildings. Proximity to trains.
Why Not: It’s still the city. You need to stay alert when walking after dark, and remember not to leave valuables in the car.
NB: House backs onto Lollypop Lane, site of popular monthly neighborhood parties.