Suburbanites hit jackpot on N. Calvert St. Rowhouse came filled with space and charm worthy of a TV sitcom

Dream Home

December 01, 1996|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Dream Home article that appeared last Sunday incorrectly named the church through which Judith Hart-McLean an ordained minister. It is the nondenominational Sanctuary of the Beloved, based in Conesus, N.Y.

The Sun regrets the error.

Judith Hart-McLean and husband Mark McLean were looking for an older, larger home and found their answer in Charles

Village a year and a half ago -- a 1906-vintage inside rowhouse.

And the house on North Calvert Street was not only more suitable for them, but for the old clothing she collects.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Their Columbia townhouse didn't seem like the right match for mannequins clad in turn-of-the-century attire, said Hart-McLean, who deals in antiques and restores clothing.

Her husband added, "It was awfully crowded."

Hart-McLean said that "house prices were terrible" in Columbia -- at least those on the scale of Charles Village's spacious rowhouses. Their new old house in the city cost just $123,000.

They also got an unexpected bonus -- selection of the exterior of their Calvert Street home to appear in the new ABC-TV situation comedy, "Life's Work," which is fictionally set in Baltimore.

The fee was enough, the couple said, to pay for a contractor to remove the old, nearly black finish on decorative beams in their high living room ceiling.

They are doing other work in a finishing job throughout the house to restore the original light color of its extensive woodwork, much of it oak.

Their work in the last year and a half has also included expanding the garden area in a rear bricked courtyard that has a grape arbor and is overlooked by a deck.

The house contains many original details in addition to the woodwork.

Many windows are of leaded glass -- some of it clear, and some bubbled translucent glass. Many have colored borders and centered designs of a swag of drapery or a shield, while at the center of one window in the door between the kitchen and dining room is simply a diamond of clear glass.

They chose to use the front, second-floor room -- which features a bay window and original wood-burning fireplace directly above a first-floor fireplace -- as the master bedroom.

The middle bedroom has been turned into a dressing room, with a wall unit the couple built for hanging clothes.

The original master bedroom at the rear, with a single window flanked by wood-paneled closets with mirrors in the doors, is used as a television room.

Another three rooms are on the third floor -- one used as a guest room (they moved in to find it with a brass sign already labeled "Guest Room").

The others are the domain of Hart-McLean.

She uses one as a sewing room in restoring the old clothing which she trades, sells and wears in fashion shows. Two large hat racks display her collection of hats, some dating to the era when their home was built. The other is a computer-equipped office, where she works at home several days a week as a mental health case manager for CMG Health.

Hart-McLean is also an ordained minister of the Sanctuary of the Blood, a nondenominational church with headquarters in Farmingdale, N.Y.

McLean, who like his wife is 46, is a service representative for a veterinary medical diagnostic laboratory.

Of the furnishings and decorations, Hart-McLean notes, "There's not a lot in here that's later than the 30s." She said she tried to keep a turn-of-the-century appearance.

The trim on the front of the house is painted in an off-white with gray and purple details. A decorative house number was painted on the front steps by a former owner.

Hart-McLean says they love living in Baltimore, although "it was quite an adjustment from suburban life."

She is impressed by neighborhoods such as Charles Village, "where people join together" -- noting in particular a community campaign to keep an Enoch Pratt Free Library branch on St. Paul St.

She also is "thrilled," Hart-McLean said, by the drop in crime and improvement in sanitation in Charles Village since the establishment of a tax benefits district to supplement city services there.

Pub Date: 12/01/96

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