Ruxton house sits alongside a stream

Historic property features lots of landscaping, plus brick and ironwork from the 19th century

Desirable Spaces

August 03, 2008|By Michelle Deal-Zimmerman | Michelle Deal-Zimmerman,Sun reporter

It's hard to let go, but that's exactly what Dennis A. Fiori and his wife, Margaret R. Burke, are doing with their more than two-acre gardener's delight and historic property in Ruxton. After a few years of commuting, Fiori, the former director of the Maryland Historical Society, has relocated with his family to Boston, where he is president of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

"As long as we could stand commuting, we really loved living there," said Fiori. "From our perspective, it was the perfect place to raise a family, away from the road with a stream and a bridge. Plenty of land for the kids to run around and explore things."

The homestead, known as "Fair Chance," was built in 1937. The original owners, the Clark family, were artists from Virginia who used salvaged materials to construct parts of the house. Both the brick and ironwork are from the 19th century and the front door is believed to be from the original building of the Maryland Medical College.

The property has had only three owners in the past 70 years, including Fiori, who as owner for more than 14 years supervised a two-story addition, which extended the kitchen and added a family room along with a master bedroom suite above. Fiori, a garden enthusiast, also has added extensive landscaping with a European flair.

"The whole house was totally overgrown when we bought it," he says. "I just did it as a labor of love."

Another aspect he enjoyed about the house was a stream that runs along one side. If you follow it, "you end up in a really large valley that's down below," says Fiori, who went there often with his kids. He also points out that there are various hidden paths around the property.

"Through a series of trails and yards you get to know, you can access the whole of Ruxton. It's great fun."

About the house The Georgian-style brick house sits on a steep ridge. The formal dining room is lined with bookcases, an unusual feature that Fiori put to good use by highlighting specific books, depending upon the evening's meal. For example, French books would be featured when serving French cuisine.

Most of the plumbing has been improved and the electrical wiring has been updated. A zoned air-conditioning system also has been added.

Address 1202 Malvern Ave., Towson 21204

Asking Price $1,449,000

Taxes $12,069

Size The house sits on 2.27 acres and has six bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths.

Features Wood floors are throughout the house, including much of the original oak flooring. Four of the bedrooms have their own full bath, some with original tile. Elongated twin bedrooms with a shared bath sit above the two-car garage. The master suite has a wood-burning fireplace with brick surround, one of three in the house, and a marble bath with a Jacuzzi tub. A laundry room is on the second floor.

The updated kitchen addition has handcrafted, custom Shaker cabinets, as well as granite countertops and a Sub Zero refrigerator. The original kitchen has been converted to a butler's pantry. Multiple sets of French doors in the family room open onto the terrace, which has a granite retaining wall and a fountain.

Listing agent Diane Donohue, Hubble Bisbee Group of Coldwell Banker, 410-667-5591


See more photos of this Ruxton house at

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