That '60s look, with deer neighbors


December 12, 1993|By Beth Smith | Beth Smith,Contributing Writer

Judy Grossman was living happily in her semidetached home in Mount Washington and had no intention of moving, when she saw an ad for a two-bedroom house on two acres in Green Spring Valley.

"The asking price was about $189,000, which I thought sounded pretty unbelievable for the location," recalls Ms. Grossman. "I thought the house must really be a dump."

Propelled more by curiosity than anything else, Ms. Grossman drove out to take a look at the property. She was surprised to see that the house was a contemporary looking rancher nestled on a heavily wooded knoll. Built in 1961, the house was long and low with a front carport and floor-to-ceiling glass running the length of the back.

"The minute I walked inside, I knew that it was my house. It had a Frank Lloyd Wright feel that I just loved," she says, referring to the wooded setting, use of glass and the beamed wood ceiling.

Since moving in about a year ago, Ms. Grossman, 39, director of education for the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore, has done little to change the property, except for paving the driveway and adding a water treatment system to protect the copper pipes.

Other than redoing the basement to include a third bedroom and office, she plans no remodeling.

She is content with the 1960s look that predominates on the main level. She even likes the two bathrooms, which still sport tile colors typical of the period. One bathroom is pink; the other, yellow.

Although the house has only four main rooms -- living room with dining area, kitchen, and two bedrooms -- it is 3,000 square feet and the spaces are large and open.

Like many homes of the 1960s, there is no formal entry hall. A low, built-in cabinet separates the living area from the slate-floored entrance.

Floor-to-ceiling cherry cabinets separate the dining area from the kitchen, which is like a 1960s time capsule -- nothing has been remodeled or updated. Even the appliances are original.

"I was going to have the kitchen cabinets replaced because they looked a bit dated," says Ms. Grossman, who says she's not a cook. "But the home inspection man talked me out of it. He said the cabinets were solid cherry and built better than about anything new I could find."

The two bedrooms in the house are reached via a long hall. Ms. Grossman has turned one of them into a study. The master bedroom is large and has handpainted and signed Japanese sliding screens covering the windows. Four custom clothing cabinets line one wall.

"I am not really a very modern gal," she says, explaining why the house attracted her. "In fact, I am fascinated by history, and I could see myself living very easily in a place like Fells Point.

"But, I really love the flavor and character of this house, even though it is contemporary-looking. And I love knowing that there are not 2,000 of these around town."

If there is one element that really stands out and marks the home as a 1960s contemporary, it is the use of glass in the rear, which integrates the outside environment with the interior of the house. The large expanses of glass have given Ms. Grossman and her cat, Shiloh, front-row seats to the comings and goings of forest creatures, especially deer.

"I was sick and home from work one day this fall when I heard all this noise," says Ms. Grossman. "I looked out the back windows and 12 deer were standing on my patio looking in at me. I just couldn't believe it. We stared at each other for a few minutes and then they left."

Unlike the deer that regularly come and go across her property, Ms. Grossman plans to stay put in her '60s rancher. "I just feel like I belong in this house," she says.

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