'This is what townhouses were'


January 15, 1995|By William C. Ward | William C. Ward,Contributing Writer

David Bottini and Ray Everngam live in a monument to Baltimore history.

The three-story Edwardian revival townhouse they inhabit in Charles Village marks the end of a construction boom that

radiated outward from downtown shortly after the turn of the century.

"Literally, it was like a wall of development coming up Charles Street," says Mr. Everngam, 37.

The neighborhood of Peabody Heights, which later became Charles Village, was created during this spate of construction, as were the ornate townhouses that stop at the intersection of North Charles and 30th streets, where Mr. Bottini's and Mr. Everngam's house sits.

Land prices skyrocketed, making townhouses too expensive to build. Instead, developers took to building cheaper, more lucrative apartments north of 30th Street.

The men own the last townhouse, built in 1909 on the south side of the street.

They stumbled upon their dream house while killing time waiting to look at another house. They immediately fell in love with the space and style of their discovery.

They were living in an 1870s Victorian cottage in Washington Grove near Gaithersburg but wanted to live in the city.

"We both just like Baltimore City. The people are much friendlier than in Washington," says Mr. Bottini, 33.

They decided quickly and bought the house for $220,000 in February.

Today, it serves as a reminder of an age of opulence and luxury. The 6,500-square-foot home has 13 rooms, including four

bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a spacious dining room and a parlor.

A leaded glass door fills the high-ceiling foyer with prismatic light from outside. The light plays off the wooden stairway railing and the inlaid wood and plaster panels on the walls and ceiling.

Throughout the house, intricate gas light fixtures remain, and a large gas chandelier in the parlor has been converted to electrical use.

"When we moved in we found that [the fixtures] were still on," says Mr. Everngam, an associate executive director of the Entomological Society of America. Three of the seven gas fireplaces still work.

The second floor features a family room, library, a large master bedroom overlooking Charles Street, and a screened-in plant room with a view of the back yard and the two-car garage behind the house.

"We didn't think that Charles Village had yards and garages," says Mr. Bottini, a teacher of architectural drawing at Potomac School, a prep school in McLean, Va.

The two bring much of their work home, and each has claimed rooms on the third floor for use as home offices. For Mr. Everngam, there is a computer room where he edits and helps publish a scientific newsletter, and Mr. Bottini's studio is down the hall. His paintings have been featured at local galleries.

The original owner, they learned, was G. Frederick Kranz, of the Kranz Music Co. The house was later used as a doctor's office, and then a boardinghouse.

The men say they love the location, the neighbors and the sense of community in Charles Village, but mostly they love the house.

"For me it's the ornateness and the quality of the work," Mr.

Everngam says.

Mr. Bottini agrees. "This is what townhouses were."

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