Quiet, established and very affordable

Neighborhood profile: Colonial Village

90 percent of homes are Colonials, but few are alike on the inside

March 17, 2002|By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest | Nancy Jones-Bonbrest,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When Julie Rutt decided almost a year ago to start house hunting, she had no idea it would take so long to find the right house in the right neighborhood.

But what she found was worth the wait.

"I must have looked at 30 to 50 houses," said Rutt. "I stumbled on this quite by accident."

After finding a property she liked through the Internet, she went to get a up-close look and was instantly enamored. Although she didn't settle on that house, she remembered the neighborhood - Colonial Village - and waited for the right house to come on the market. She's scheduled to settle on her new house this month.

"Colonial Village just seemed to be exactly what I was looking for," she said. "It was quiet and established. The whole look of the neighborhood, you can just tell the people who live there care about where they live. And that was important to me."

Rutt calls her house "absolutely gorgeous" inside and out.

"It's the whole package, a cute little yard and a well-maintained, stone-front house," she said.

"Everyone kept telling me I would know the right house when I walked into it, and I didn't believe them. Then I walked into this house, and I said, `This is it. I don't need to see anything else.'"

Colonial Village, just outside Baltimore on Reisterstown Road in Baltimore County, is part of the larger community of Pikesville. Count them, and you'll find about 300 tidy little houses just like the one Rutt found.

The name is fitting because almost the entire neighborhood, founded in the late 1940s, is made up of Colonials. The street names include Concord Road, Mayflower Court and Plymouth Road.

The houses "are very traditional, quality-built homes, and people love them for that reason," said Donna McKay, owner of Century 21 Elite Realty in Pikesville.

"It's a neighborhood that looks good. The approach is very nice and appealing to the eye. If something comes on the market in that neighborhood and it has been kept up, it's not going to stay for long."

Although Colonials make up at least 90 percent of the houses, there are a few bungalows and ranchers. Some of the houses were turned into duplexes but were later converted back to single-family houses. The average house ranges in price from $100,000 to $120,000, making it ideal for first-time buyers, said McKay.

Many homes started out similar in style, but barely two are alike inside, according to Colonial Village resident Winifred Krimmel. "Everyone has done something different with them," she said. "It's a lovely neighborhood. It's amazingly affordable, and it's just a nice place to live."

Winnie and Robert Krimmel moved to an apartment after their children were grown. They soon realized that they didn't want to spend their retirement in an apartment and decided to look for a house.

They chose Colonial Village because it was close to their old home in Northwest Baltimore and convenient to many things.

"I used to take the bus to the subway when I worked downtown," Winifred Krimmel said.

"And when we get to the point where we are not driving anymore, we can certainly walk to all sorts of places."

Betsy Dunn, an agent with the Lutherville office of O'Conor, Piper & Flynn ERA - now part of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - agrees that it's a popular neighborhood.

"I think people are very interested in that area," said Dunn, who recently sold a house there. "I had a very large turnout at the open house and multiple offers. We had many, many appointments, and I only had it on the market a little over a week.

"It's a nice, hidden little neighborhood. The houses are charming and well-built."

The neighborhood's location, nestled behind Reisterstown Road, is viewed as an asset. Once you're in Colonial Village, say residents, you have no idea you're so close to the hustle and bustle.

"It's such a quiet neighborhood, you would never know you were a block from the city," said Jeff Ziegler, who moved to Colonial Village 15 years ago. "It's like being out in the suburbs."

Unlike many suburban areas, the neighborhood is within walking distance or minutes by car from shopping, churches, synagogues, a subway stop and restaurants.

Ziegler, head of the Colonial Village Neighborhood Improvement Association, said he enjoys the diversity of the neighborhood.

"It's extremely integrated, culturally, religiously and otherwise. It's a very good mix of people, and everyone in the neighborhood gets along very well."

A Halloween celebration is held in October. In December, a lighted Christmas tree and menorah are set out to greet residents. An old-fashioned Fourth of July party is held, with games and a reading of the Declaration of Independence. This year the community association will hold its first spring carnival on the grounds of Milbrook Elementary School, on the neighborhood's southern border.

"I like the community spirit," said Frank Segall, who moved to the neighborhood 13 years ago.

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