A city retirement gem

Dream Home

A pastor buys a Dutch Colonial Revival home in his old Baltimore neighborhood

March 30, 2007|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Sun

The Rev. Maurice Moore never forgot the happy years he spent as a commuting college student, and then later, visiting his parents in their Northwest Baltimore neighborhood of Ashburton. Here, large houses in a variety of architectural styles sit on wide, tree-lined streets, a world away from the bustle of busy Liberty Heights Avenue and Northern Parkway.

Eventually, Moore and his eight siblings moved on to make their way in the world, and when their parents died, the beautiful house was sold.

Moore and his wife, Joan, raised four children of their own but not in the neighborhood he so loved.

"We always lived in parsonages in the cities of the congregations I served as a United Methodist Church pastor," he explained.

Upon retirement and with their children grown, the couple purchased a home in Baltimore, never thinking they could afford to live in Ashburton. That was until a Realtor friend found a gem there at a price they could live with.

"I put a deposit on the house without even seeing it," Moore said with a laugh. "And the next day, we bought it. The year was 2000."

The Moores spent $56,000 for a 1925 Dutch Colonial Revival home with a pitched slate roof. Its welcoming light gray siding with blue trim and shutters offers a pleasant contrast to the brick and stone houses along the street.

The home's 2,400-square-foot interior features a large living room, dining room, eat-in kitchen and den on the first floor, with three bedrooms on the second level, as well as a full basement.

"The house needed some work," the pastor said, "but nothing major."

In the last seven years, the couple estimates they have spent $10,000 on a new furnace, an exterior concrete walkway, repairs to the slate roof, upgraded electricity, paint and wallpaper.

"People tell us it looks like we've been here forever," Joan Moore said in commenting on the home's settled and comfortable feel. "I'm used to settling [in quickly], we were always moving about in several parsonages."

"Eight [parishes] in 40 years," her husband said after a quick mental calculation.

Yet the home's "lived-in" feel is due only in part to the Victorian and traditional decor that dominates the rooms. The other factors in the comfy equation are the photographs of family and friends displayed on walls and table tops, and an impressive collection of model automobiles, streetcars and buses on the fireplace mantel and the home's radiator covers.

Then, there are the radios. Three hundred, to be exact. Resting on table tops or free-standing, this collection spans the years from the earliest pieces to the art deco period through the 1940s and 1950s. In museum fashion, the pastor has placed tent cards on each piece, marked with the name, date and other pertinent information.

In the dining room, for example, a 1932 Crosley Model 21 console of carved oak sits in a far corner. Near the kitchen entrance is a 1934 Atwater Kent Model 448 console.

Complementing the traditional mahogany dining room suite is a 1928 Silver Marshall, a radio built into a drop-leaf table with inlaid mahogany.

"Come see one of the first-ever clock radios," Moore said, referring to a 1932 Philco Model 70 in a grandfather clock case in the living room. The Victorian decorated room also boasts a frosted glass chandelier hanging from a hand-painted plaster ceiling medallion.

Moore sold one or two of his radio collection to pay his children's tuition bills, but he has little regret. His daughter, Cheryl, is a college professor, Cynthia a psychiatrist, son Kyle a statistician, and Ronald a chemist.

A Moore family portrait hangs over the room's brick fireplace.

With his eldest son's purchase of a home in the neighborhood, Ashburton has now housed three generations of the Maurice Moore family.

"While there are some changes since I was first introduced to Ashburton back in 1958, this is still a wonderful place to live," Moore said. "I'm glad my parents found Ashburton."

Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Write to Dream Home, Real Estate Editor, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or e-mail us at real.estate@baltsun.com.

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