Magnet for young families Knettishall noted for well-maintained brick rowhouses

Neighbors; Neighborhood Profile

September 27, 1998|By Bob Graham | Bob Graham,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When Susan and Rodney Davis were looking for a house in 1996, they wanted something affordable and well-built, near her job in Towson and close to good schools. They settled on Knettishall, a community just inside the Beltway in Baltimore County, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Since moving into their three-bedroom, one-bathroom brick rowhouse in September 1996, the Davises have developed a common habit among residents of the community.

During the warmer months, the couple and their daughter, Jenny, 6, spend a good portion of their late afternoon and early evening hours on the front porch, chatting with neighbors and enjoying the "neighborhood feel," said Susan Davis.

"Everyone around here is really nice, and they really are friendly," she added.

In its five decades, Knettishall has been a consistently sought-after location for young families, looking for convenient access to Towson, good public and private schools, shopping and bus service to Baltimore, say several area real estate agents.

Its attractiveness has never been greater, they say.

Knettishall -- an area bordered by Loch Raven Boulevard to the east, Putty Hill Avenue to the north, LaSalle Road to the west and Goucher Boulevard to the south -- is experiencing a change. Many members of the first and second generation of rowhouse owners price their homes to sell to newcomers, many of whom grew up within a few miles of the area and who find the opportunity to spend less than a $100,000 on a rowhouse too good a deal to pass up.

Take the Davises. Rodney, who is self-employed, grew up in the Northwood-Hillendale area, where the couple rented a house before moving to Knettishall. His wife, who works for ADP, grew up in Towson.

"This was a good step up for us, into an area we knew and we were comfortable with," she said.

Like most of the houses in Knettishall, the Davises have hardwood floors and a bay window on the front of their house. Grouped in sevens, the inside rowhouses are 16 feet wide. The end-of-group units, always in high demand, are two feet wider and offer double bay windows in front.

Small back yards, usually about 16-by-25 feet, give way to alleys, where children can play without great concern for traffic, residents say.

With square footages of 1,400, the Knettishall rowhouses offer a good bang for the buck, says Gini Pielke, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Grempler Realty Inc.

"It's one of the best deals for the money you can find," Pielke said.

"For people looking for a good, solid, brick house in a really friendly neighborhood, Knettishall is a good place to go."

With prices ranging from $80,000 to $100,000, the neighborhood's houses often attract couples considering a new house, Pielke said.

Instead of vinyl siding and a wood frame, Knettishall residents get brick and plaster. Rather than saplings and open areas among homes, Knettishall offers mature trees and grass-covered front yards.

"These houses are usually in real good shape, because the dTC owners took care of them," Pielke said.

But with its seasoning comes reality.

A number of houses have undergone updating of the kitchen and the bathroom as well as the installation of central air conditioning, Pielke said.

That often can drive the price of the house up several thousand dollars, she said.

"If owners price their houses right, they can sell these in 60 to 90 days, usually for their asking price, if they are being realistic," she said.

Dan Cummings moved into Knettishall four years ago, drawn to the area by its reputation and by the $92,000 price tag for his three-bedroom house.

He and his wife, Kristy, like the "attractive, well-maintained quality of the houses in this community and the landscaping outside of houses. It just looks good around here," said Dan, a senior financial analyst for Towson-based Black & Decker Inc.

The couple, who have a 7-week-old daughter, Caroline, walk to the grocery stores at the intersection of Loch Raven Boulevard ++ and Taylor Avenue and to Immaculate Heart of Mary Church at the intersection of Loch Raven and Putty Hill Avenue.

"It's really convenient for us to do everything. Our friends, our family, our jobs and our church and shopping are all so close to where we live here," Dan said.

Cummings and most other residents of the community also appreciate the little things, like residents greeting each other on the street, helping each other with chores around the house and looking out for one another. It's the motto on the sign entering the community from Loch Raven Boulevard, which reads, "A neighborhood community since 1948."

Said Susan Davis:

"You really feel like you're part of a neighborhood, a caring group of people, here in Knettishall."

Knettishall

Population: 3,100

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 15 minutes

Public schools: Loch Raven High, Loch Raven Academy, Pleasant Plains Elementary

Shopping: Ravenwood Shopping Center, Loch Raven Plaza, Towson Market Place

Zip code: 21286

Average price of a single-family house: $90,183 *

* Based on 14 sales in past 12 months by the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems

Pub Date: 9/27/98

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