Picture a snowy winter's night inside a circa-1876 manor house where you've curled up in front of a warm fire with a book you've retrieved from your library and a bottle of fine wine you've fetched from your cellar.
Or imagine greeting guests at a festive holiday gathering as they step through double doors of leaded glass into a grand foyer -- reminiscent of "Gone with the Wind" with its glittering chandelier and winding staircase.
These fantasies can become reality -- for someone willing to plunk down about $1.5 million for the more than 8,000-square-foot stone house called Homewood, recently listed for sale by Joan Cochran of Long & Foster Realtors.
The 14-acre estate in western Howard County originally was part of Doughoregan Manor, the home of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Homewood was built later.
Although George Washington did not sleep there, he and other prominent citizens -- including Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin -- once traveled through Homewood's surrounding acreage to visit Charles Carroll.
Carroll's descendants occupied the house until the early 1960s. Since then, Homewood has had five owners, including a Rouse Co. executive and an administrator at Howard County General Hospital.
Now, the house is being sold by a Baltimore businessman who has been the owner for a year.
Because he travels frequently and owns a house in Florida and a condominium in Baltimore, Cochran says, he has not spent as much time in the manor home as he had anticipated.
He put Homewood up for sale this month.
"A lot of people buy houses for romantic reasons," says Cochran, who sells about 50 homes annually.
"People fall in love with things about a house, and Homewood is such a beautiful property."
Takes time to sell
Generally, million-dollar homes take about a year to sell, says Cochran, a top-producing agent who has an 18-year career in real estate.
According to figures from the Howard County Association of Realtors, seven houses -- in the Clarksville, Highland, Ellicott City areas -- have been listed within the last 11 months in the $800,000 to $1,550,000 price range. Two have sold.
"It takes a specialized market for people who are investing in properties of that magnitude," says Gwen Howard, president of the Howard County Association of Realtors.
Cochran says she wouldn't be surprised if a buyer whisked XTC Homewood off the market sooner than is generally expected.
That's what happened in December, when the previous owners of Homewood listed the house and wound up with two interested clients -- including the present owners -- in two weeks.
In addition to its six fireplaces, library, wine cellar and grand foyer, the house offers six bedrooms and a gourmet kitchen.
There are also media, morning and sun rooms and three full baths, including a master bathroom with a waterfall shower.
On the grounds
The surrounding 14 acres feature a heated swimming pool, clay tennis court, guest pool house, eight-stall stable and a three-car garage.
Cochran says "someone local," who appreciates the historical origin of the house, would be a good prospect.
"Business people, physicians, dual professionals -- it's really hard to tell," she says.
Such historic homes as Homewood, Cochran says, have a following of their own.
"Those buyers are looking for homes with character that are unique and something that they love," she says.
"I have handled a lot of properties and this one is so different, so beautiful, and so extraordinary."
Pub Date: 11/28/96