So many windows, so many views

The Baltimore Sun

To say the house built in 1913 for lawyer John E. Semmes Jr. has a lot of windows overlooking gardens would be an understatement.

The Guilford home has 113 windows. With the exception of a few, like the one in a closet for exterior symmetry, they provide views of the property's landscape of tall trees, flowering shrubs, decorative perennials and patios that seem far removed from the city.

Engineer Drew Denton and patent licensing consultant Jane Kuhl fell for the four-story brick house 16 years ago, when the Baltimore natives returned to the city. Its curved main staircase, custom moldings, high ceilings and architectural interest drew them to it. The sunny parlors and expansive yard allowed them space to indulge their love for gardening while working on restoring and updating the house.

"We've tried to keep it as original as we could, but with modernization," Kuhl said. For example, when they removed window units and added energy-efficient central air conditioning, they tucked the ductwork in some of the many storage areas located throughout the house.

They had the floor plans of the noted architect who designed the home, Laurence Hall Fowler, to guide them.

About the house --Fowler's design features a grand dining room on the first floor, with a detailed fireplace mantel and marble hearth. The room opens to a garden room and garden with a koi pond.

Most floors in the house are wood or terra-cotta tile.

The kitchen and butler's pantry, which feature some of the original cabinetry, are spacious. Cabinets include wall-to-wall, ceiling-high glass-front units and a wine chiller in the butler's pantry.

The second floor has the living room, which opens to a solarium that has 23 windows. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases line a small study with a curved alcove. Two bedrooms are located on this floor.

The third floor is devoted to bedrooms - the master suite, which includes a dressing area and bathroom, and two others.

The fourth floor, with a trunk room for storage, has two more rooms. They are set up as an office and a crafts room.

With their children grown, the couple wants less house, but more land to cultivate.

Address --105 Charlcote Road, Baltimore 21218

Asking price --$1,495,000

Taxes --$19,441

Homeowners' association fee --$500

Size --The 6,468-square-foot home sits on a double lot.

Features --"The load-bearing walls are terra-cotta blocks. This house is built like a fort," Kuhl said.

The house has five wood-burning fireplaces, four bathrooms and a powder room, and depending how upper-level rooms are used, up to seven bedrooms. Bathrooms have been largely updated, but claw-foot tubs remain.

The one-car garage is detached. It also holds the boiler for the radiator heating system. The pipe to the house, which goes under a patio, provides a wintertime bonus.

"The snow melts on it, and it makes a path," Denton said.

Listing agent --Carol R. Taylor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Village of Cross Keys, 410-235-4100.

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