As a 10-year-old, Tony Foreman delivered the newspaper along the streets of Roland Park.
The houses, many of them high in the hills of the northern portion of the city, were originally built as summer homes for residents who lived deeper in the heart of Baltimore, he recalls.
“I knew then it was where I wanted to be,” says Foreman, who grew up in the neighborhoods comprised of year-round homes a few blocks away.
Now he lives there.
The restaurateur, co-owner of some of the city’s finest dining establishments such as the elevated low-country Charleston in Harbor East, the Roland Park-based French bistro Petit Louis and the Argentinian steakhouse Bar Vasquez, likes to escape to his “home in the forest.”
Built in 1905 in the style of Arts and Crafts architecture, the charcoal-colored wood shingle and chalk-hued stucco home is his favorite place when he’s not at work. Away from the rigors of a demanding restaurant industry that requires a mix of ingenuity, long hours and constant monitoring, Foreman can retreat to his beloved family and home.
“To be able to return home at the end of the day and evening to my family in that soothing place always restores me,” says Foreman, who has two daughters, 5-year-old Delphinium (“Del”) and 2-year-old Odelette, with his wife, Katie.
At home, Foreman is at peace enjoying his home, family and natural surroundings.
“You can see the foxes and deer from here,” he says looking into the backyard from his wrap-around back deck where he has hosted numerous dinner parties and events.
Foreman loves living in this “forest in the city” adding, “I lie in bed and listen to the world wake up.”
The towering trees — a mix of beeches and elms — that surround the home provide cover from brutal summer days. Foreman says the area is seven degrees cooler than downtown Baltimore. During the fall, the autumnal colors of the leaves result in a spectacular display.
“It helps to reinforce how lucky we are,” he says of the “magnificent mature trees. All the seasons are great. … Winter is breathtaking.”
The interior of his home is a series of reminders of where Foreman has been and where he is going.
Take the Afghani prayer rug from 1910, which is situated near the entrance of his living room.
Foreman was given the rug 16 years ago from a friend, Qadir Khalje, an Afghani rug trader and historian, who used to go back and forth to the Middle East while working for the military.
“If I had an afternoon free, I would hang out with him. He was one of the loudest talkers I ever met,” Foreman recalls with a laugh. “He would get excited as he went through all of the pieces he had. … It was amazing. I think in the same way that wine is the story of people and their expressions, I think that rugs do the same thing in many places of the world.”
Instruments in the home and art supplies in the attic are reminders of Katie.
The occasional toy or colorful piece of artwork reminds him of his two girls.
The home reflects having young kids in it and all that that entails.
“Some of the stuff is from earlier iterations,” he says in reference to how the home has changed since he and his wife have had children. “The colors have cooled off.”
He points to the “mountain” of family photos that line the walls of the main stairwell leading from the first floor to the bedrooms and his unassuming office, which also operates as the home’s laundry room.
“I do laundry,” he says, laughing, as he points out a series of photos from his childhood modeling days — bowl haircut and all. “That lasted about two catalogs.”
As for his children, they already have plenty of personality.
“The 2-year-old is a wrecking machine,” Foreman jokes.
“One of our daughters will eventually come up here and make this her room,” Foreman says as the two recall the last time that the working fireplace was used in the attic. It was New Year’s Eve a few years ago.
Katie remembers how hot the attic turned as a result.
“We haven’t used it since,” she says with a laugh.
Foreman’s kitchen, of course, is one of his favorite rooms in the house. The spacious room is lined with stainless steel appliances. The Spanish tile above the range was a wedding gift to the couple.
A wall of E. Dehillerin copper cookware adorns the top of the brick fireplace.
“Those things are hell to get home in luggage,” he says.
But they’re worth it.
“That is my very favorite pan in the world to cook a piece of fish in,” he says, adding that he tries to cook a healthy meal for his family at least once a week. Katie loves fish. And his oldest will eat everything. The youngest child is a little more picky.
“She rejects everything," he says.
The home has taken on a number of iterations.
After Foreman and his former wife — and current business partner — Cindy Wolf divorced in 2009, Foreman purchased the home in 2010 and lived there for two years before meeting Katie.
The two celebrated their wedding by hosting a seven-course lunch for 40 people where Foreman cooked with Mario Cano Catalan, executive chef of Bar Vasquez.
At the multi-course celebration, Foreman made use of his eclectic collection of fine china that he has amassed throughout most of his adulthood.
“I have a problem with china,” he says with a grin.
Foreman — a wine aficionado — also has a sizable collection of stemware, much of which is stored in a hand-carved wooden bar that belonged to his late grandmother. It was on this bar that Foreman cut his teeth learning to appreciate finer wines and perfect mixing cocktails.
The bedroom is where the couple have best mixed their tastes for a finished product.
“We worked hard on this one,” Katie says of decorating the room.
“It’s a little more peaceful,” she adds.
Part of that tranquility is a massive Japanese silk piece that represents the ocean.
“I love the waves,” she says. “This is one of the first things we got together.”
The master bathroom, which is just off from the bedroom, is also one of Foreman’s favorite rooms.
Foreman explains that he compares hotel bathrooms to his master bathroom because of the massive white-marble shower, which is encased in glass.
The room, which has a double vanity and large oval mirror, is also surrounded by windows, which gives it a birdcage feel.
“It’s like being in a cloud — especially with the gauze-y cloth [curtains],” he says.
The living room also has a lot of meaning for Foreman.
In addition to being home to his beloved prayer rug, it is anchored by a landscape painting by artist Jimmy Judd, which hung in Foreman’s childhood bedroom and has remained with him since.
“I like our living room because it feels lived in,” Katie says.