Historic curb appeal: Preserved charm on display in Linthicum

The Baltimore Sun

Heather Dalik grew up in Linthicum down the street from the historic Old Stoll Farmhouse at the corner of John and Jerome avenues. Little did the youngster dream that she and the vernacular Victorian homestead, circa 1885, were destined for a much closer relationship.

She and her husband, Jeff Dalik, were living in Linthicum five years ago in a 1954 Cape Cod when a "for sale" sign appeared in the farmhouse's front yard. One look inside, and the Daliks were sold.

On Sunday, just about anyone else can get a look inside during the 13-stop Linthicum Historic House Tour, one of a series of events commemorating Linthicum's 100th anniversary this year.

Among the 13 featured sites are the Linthicum train station, Holly Run Chapel, the Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Benson-Hammond House, and eight historic homes.

"We tried to find historic houses that had been in the community for a long time and kept their historic charm," said Celeste Riddle, house tour coordinator.

Built by John Edward Stoll -- the Daliks are the fifth owners -- the three-bedroom Stoll farmhouse has lost little of its period charm, still boasting original hardwood floors, pocket doors, carved balustrades and a wooden newel post at the foot of the stairs, where children of an earlier family pressed their pennies into its circular recesses. Pennies minted the years the Dalik children, Grace, almost 5, and Andrew, 2 1/2 , were born are now part of the newel post legacy.

Also original are the inlaid marble fireplace surround in the living room and the stained-glass windows at the front door and the staircase landings.

"My goal is to take it back to where it was," said Heather Dalik, a former elementary schoolteacher. She and her husband plan to return a small room off the kitchen to its original form, a screened porch.

The most obvious acquiescence to modern living is the updated kitchen: a large island, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a tumbled-tile backsplash accented with a striking design of glass mosaic. Mission alder cabinets with a charcoal glaze are distressed to echo their farmhouse setting.

When Heather Dalik is not gardening, refinishing cabinets or dreaming up the next farmhouse renovation, she's busy with her sewing business, the Princess and the Pea. The couple also own the Bike Doctor shop in Linthicum.

Meanwhile, on Andover Road, Jill Windsor worries about dust on the tables in the farmhouse she leases from the county. The Andover Farmhouse, circa 1850, and the Windsor Stables that she runs at what has for years been known as the Andover Equestrian Center are all part of the 25-acre property.

The farmhouse, with three bedrooms and two baths, has a sunny white-tiled kitchen with yellow walls, and a dining room and master bedroom decorated in blue and white French toile. The basement walls are brick, and the parlor stoves that originally provided heat were later replaced by radiators.

The county rehabbed the house in 2000, said Windsor, adding a new heating and air conditioning system, new kitchen cabinets and appliances, and a coat of polish on the original heart pine floors.

Windsor needn't worry about dust. Visitors to the two-story farmhouse and main barn with its gambrel roof and magnificent wood-beam ceiling are too busy looking at the bucolic landscape, noticing the meandering leg of the BWI Trail that cuts through the property or gazing at the newborn filly, a long-legged miniature of her mother, Daisy, to pay any attention to a little dust kicked up by the 17 resident horses.

For eight years, the white wood farmhouse trimmed with green shutters, surrounded by barns, paddocks and training arenas, has been the site of Windsor Stables, where Jill Windsor, who grew up on a farm on the Broadneck Peninsula, trains her students and the horses she breeds and boards in the art of stadium jumping, dressage and cross-country competition.

Outbuildings include stables, a former carriage house and a little two-story cottage that once housed servants. The property boasts what one horticulturist calls "the most diverse stand of trees in one place in the county." Tree labels identify white ash, hackberry, horse chestnut, gingko, among others, and nearly 20 sycamores lining the entrance drive.

Windsor and her mother, florist-designer Mary Lou Windsor of Windsor Farm Flowers, have planted hundreds of tulip and daffodil bulbs around the property.

"This is a haven for wildlife and birds," said Jill Windsor. She often sees foxes, opossums and raccoons. There are bluebirds, hawks and owls, as well as elusive Baltimore orioles that nest in the tops of the tall sycamores. Windsor's two farm dogs, Bode and Buster Brown, are fond of looking for the family of groundhogs that lives under a nearby storage shed.

There are two compelling reasons to visit Bill and Janet Janyska's home on Hammonds Ferry Road: One is the fine stone wall that surrounds their corner property, a late 1930s project by the WPA, created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935 to provide employment for needy people. The stones are mortared in place and fitted with drains that have no doubt contributed to the wall's longevity.

The other reason to visit the house, built by Charles Peters in 1912 and surrounded by mature crape myrtles, hollies and deep purple wisteria, plus a sycamore that is more than 12 feet in circumference, is that after raising a family of five, the Janyskas have adapted their home of 32 years to meet the requirements of retired life.

An original porch on the first floor was enclosed to create a private office for Bill, a retired electrical engineer from Northrop Grumman, and the porch above is now a crafts and sewing room for Janet Janyska, a former teacher.

The kitchen -- ceiling and walls fully covered in the original blue tile, and layers of linoleum stripped away to reveal the original wood floor -- has been upgraded with cherry cabinets and granite counters. Janet Janyska said that "the house must have been built around the ancient freezer" in the walk-in pantry, but since it still works, it's staying.

The most successful adaptation was the transformation of a corner bedroom, a kitchen in an earlier configuration, into a dream laundry room. As if a sink, closet and cabinets topped with about four feet of folding counter were not enough, the room is large enough for a couple to dance in the pastel light of the original leaded glass window.

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