In the city, a touch of the country


September 11, 1994|By Donna Weaver | Donna Weaver,Contributing Writer

TTC Howard Katz enjoys a bit of rural life in the city.

When the Baltimore native tires of his Victorian townhouse and yearns for trees and open spaces, he just strolls across the street to Patterson Park, where he can bury himself in nature.

If he wants to enjoy the park from afar, he can climb to his roof deck. Standing on the deck -- three stories above the street -- Mr. Katz sees a wide expanse of green.

"The park is wonderful," says Mr. Katz, 37. "A lot of people like living near the water, but I like the trees. This is better than living in Canton and having a view of the Domino's Sugar sign."

If he gets bored with his rural view, Mr. Katz justs turns his head. Instead of open spaces and tall trees, he sees tall buildings and rows of roofs.

"You get a nice view of the city from here, too," says Mr. Katz, who sells commercial laundry equipment.

The view is wonderful, but that's not the only reason he bought the 112-year-old, three-story Victorian.

"The house has character," explains Mr. Katz, who bought the house for $100,000 five years ago. "It has original details, pocket doors, parquet floors. I just had to tailor it to me."

His home is near the end of a row of well-kept Victorians. This was a builder's block, Mr. Katz says, a precursor to model homes. The facades are multitextured: The raised basements are made of rusticated stone with yellow brick above. The end units have projecting bay windows while the other homes, including Mr. Katz's, have paired, arched windows on the first floor.

Inside, Mr. Katz's house contains many elaborate details, such as a statue of Cupid that greets visitors from its perch on the

stair's newel post at the end of the entrance hallway. The winged Cupid is holding a glass orb with a light bulb inside. Mr. Katz just flicks the light switch and Cupid is bathed in light.

"I'm told that all of the houses on this block had these," Mr. Katz says. "Now this house is the only one that has one."

Other lovely details are the colorful, decorative tiles in the entrance foyer and that cover several fireplace openings. The tiled fireplace opening in the dining room has a large, brown tile of a hunter in the middle.

Even without the colorful tiles, the six nonworking fireplaces are quite elaborate. The fireplace in the living room is surrounded by slate and topped with a white, wooden mantel with two-tiered columns.

The house also has oak parquet floors in the living and dining rooms, several original brass chandeliers, bull's-eye molding around the windows and doors, 9-foot-by-6-inch ceilings, pocket doors in the living room, three bedrooms and an apartment on the third floor.

Mr. Katz added some details of his own, such as a small brick courtyard and a wooden display case in the first-floor hallway. He also finished the basement, repointing the mortar on the stone foundation, installing carpeting and adding antique stained glass with back-lighting.

His house has plenty of room, and plenty of rooms to seek refuge.

"I like to entertain, and I have plenty of room for it," says Mr. Katz. "I like being around people. I don't want to live a two-mile drive from my neighbors."

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