Overlook Clipper Mill is a community where groups of duplexes — oddly reminiscent of the 50-year-old TV cartoon show "The Jetsons" — rise up in harmony with the grade of the land on which they have been built.
With its primary focus on green and sustainable living, this development in Baltimore's Woodberry neighborhood juxtaposes leading-edge design with Clipper Mill's heritage as a place where the Jones Falls provided waterpower for the operation of grist mills, foundries and textile mills. At its height, nearly a dozen mills operated here.
Three-story houses in this enclave of just over 20 homes are constructed of beige HardiePlank siding with a partial stone veneer and what appear to be walls of windows —especially in the back, which looks out onto a wooded area.
The windows are part of what drew Michael Linnemann to his dream home here.
"I was attracted to the modern sleek look of the homes, the green and sustainable aspect and LEED certification, said Linnemann, a 46-year-old painter who works in plant operations at Frederick Community College. "I love the large windows for enjoying the fabulous views of surrounding nature and changing sky. The open floor plan is perfect for entertaining family, friends and cool neighbors."
Leading the way from his front entrance to the home's interior, Linnemann notes that the starting price of these houses is $499,000.
Just inside, on the ground level of the 1,760-square-foot home, is the library. Here, shelves of books and collectibles line walls painted a deep purple. A pair of side chairs, upholstered in alternating blocks of burgundy and black microfiber upholstery, feature high backs that resemble a court jester's cap. Standouts in this room also include a black leather sofa and a Parvez M. Taj abstract portrait of James Dean.
"Steve Baker of Wholly Terra in Hampden designed art at my previous house in Medfield and now this house," Linnemann said, adding that Baker even created a metal-and-colored-glass street address sign for the home's exterior.
The staircase to the second level rises to a living space that is colorful and architecturally appealing. Hardwood floors echo10-foot ceilings with exposed wood beams in a natural finish. As the staircase once again rises to the third level and cuts the width of the house in two, it is caged on either side by iron grid work.
Light bounces from floor to ceiling in a kitchen filled with Bosch stainless-steel appliances. Granite tops the counters of cherry wood, while matching cabinets feature stainless-steel handles that pull together the look of wood and metal. A sitting room adjacent to the kitchen area basks in sunlight from multiple windows with adjustable honeycomb blinds.
After moving into the home in February 2011, Linnemann worked with Steve Appel, owner of Nouveau Contemporary Goods Inc. and a partner in Whitehead & Appel Interior Design, to furnish the interior.
"His furnishings are so great I wish I had more rooms now," said Linnemann, who chose to decorate with a bold and contemporary look.
The couch, easy chair and ottoman — all in tufted red leather — pop against walls painted medium gray. In addition to a mirror-glass, mosaic impala head above the fireplace, there are two artworks of note.
"The dark painting of faces over the sofa is called 'The Party,' " Linnemann said. "It is signed JAK. I bought it in Hampden, [and] that is all the information I have. But it was the first piece in here and set the tone for the room to build on."
A large 4-by-5-foot multicolored glass and rusty metal sculpture in the sunroom is another Steve Baker piece.
Beyond the sunroom's door, a wooden deck is filled with plants and vegetables forming a wall of green. The garden is enclosed by a wrought-iron fence and behind it is a serenity garden and then hiking and biking trails. From the center of the yard, all of the contemporary houses in this community rise and fall with the terrain.
Linnemann's third level contains a master bedroom, guest bedroom and what he calls "The Sky Lounge." This large room is wallpapered in light blue with white swirls. Blue-and-gray tufted velvet furniture sit at one side of the lounge with an arched Art Deco-like bar of white resin at the room's center and white leather furniture at the far wall. Other over-the-top pieces in the room are a white leather end table and a wall mirror with a convex center.
When not indoors entertaining, Linnemann enjoys biking on the trails, walking to a favorite restaurant, Woodberry Kitchen, and swimming at the Clipper Mill community pool.
"Also, there is the light rail to take my friends and me to cultural and sporting events," he said.
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Making the dream
Personal touches: Influenced by nearby galleries, studios and crafts establishments, Michael Linnemann personalized his home with art. "Mary Konchar's two photographs of flowers and the one framed horse are particular favorites," he noted.
"Atlanta artist Alexander Guerra does self-portraits in bunny ears. The photograph in the living room is called 'Bubble Bunnies' and is fun, whimsical and provocative — a good icebreaker at parties."
Other art treasures include Lauren Preller's photograph of the Domino Sugars sign, Robert Creamer's 4-by-4-foot photograph capturing the fleeting beauty of a dying plant and five paintings on scrap wood planks hanging on the walls of the third-story hallway.
Dream "green": Homes built in Overlook Clipper Mill, following standards set for environmental efficiency, offer recycled carpet options while featuring sustainable hardwood; formaldehyde-free insulation; Bosch Energy Star appliances; two-zone heat and air conditioning; tankless, on-demand hot water; and several other Energy Star programs and green features.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun