A Union Square house with five stepped-levels


December 07, 2008|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

The front of the red-brick house facing Baltimore's Union Square Park has a familiar look.

The exterior of the home, with white marble steps and 9-foot-tall windows, appeared in the 1997 movie Washington Square, an adaptation of the Henry James short novel. James wrote his story in 1880. The house, in the Union Square Historic District where the park and its environs were stand-ins for the New York neighborhood of the movie, dates to 1870.

Inside, the Italianate-style home's first-floor ceilings are 13 feet high and adorned by large, decorative moldings. Wood shutters collapse into wall pockets to allow the sun to pour into the house; there are wood floors throughout.

The house has three main levels, with two more interspersed in the rear to give it five stepped-levels above ground, with front and back staircases.

That design has provided Dana Harris-Trovato and her husband, Frank Trovato, enviable views of the park, spacious areas for participating in the community's Christmastime Cookie Tour, and the privacy of quiet work spaces.

"The house is so flexible," said Harris-Trovato.

And there has been a bonus for their children: "It's great for hide and seek," she said.

About the house : The 22-foot-wide house features a marble entryway and glass-panel doors. It has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Two of the six fireplaces, one the kitchen's brick hearth wood stove and the other in an upstairs family room, are in use.

When Frank Trovato bought the house in 1990, partly because he was thrilled by the idea of living close to the Orioles' planned ballpark, it was configured to include two rental units.

The couple maintain one of them. They renovated it for use as a bed-and-breakfast suite with a kitchen, as well as for house guests. They absorbed the other unit into their living space, giving them a wet-bar/kitchen by the master bedroom on the front part of second floor.

The rear of the second floor, a few steps down, includes a library with original built-in wood cabinets and a family room.

The third floor features the children's suite of two rooms and a bathroom with a two-sink vanity; the rear area of that floor is the B&B suite.

Address : 21 S. Stricker St., Baltimore 21223

Asking price : $509,000

Taxes: $6,221

Size: The house has more than 4,800 square feet of living space.

Features: The living room has a black marble fireplace that is not in use. Former owners cut an arch to open the living room to the dining room.

The kitchen has oak cabinetry and a stainless-steel refrigerator.

The couple finished the basement, which is partly above ground, to add living space, including an office and playroom; laundry facilities and storage are on this level as well.

A wood deck, partly covered, is off the kitchen. Outdoor storage includes a room that is part of the house but accessible from the deck. Beneath the deck is a free-standing shed.

There's ample storage throughout the house, including a wall of closets in the second-floor family room.

Listing agent : Carol Rose, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Federal Hill office, 443-415-0900.

To submit a candidate for Desirable Spaces, send photos and a description of the property to Michelle Deal-Zimmerman, Real Estate Editor, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Questions may be sent to homes@baltsun.com.

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