709 Hollen Road Baltimore MD 21212
709 Hollen Road
Baltimore MD 21212
New Roof and Siding 2013
Extensive Hardscaping and Landscaping
Many Original Features
10 minutes from 83 and 695
What the seller says.....
What Drew You to This House?
I was driving through this community one evening checking out the neighborhood. As I cruised the streets I noticed people talking with one another while their dogs waited patiently by their sides. I saw a cat sitting on the front porch of a bungalow. I fell in love with the idea of that cat gazing out at his neighborhood and I knew I wanted to live here. 709 Hollen Road came on the market at 11:00AM one morning and I walked into the house, sight unseen, with the contract in my hand. This house had the two little windows built into either side of the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, a white kitchen, wide moldings and trim around the interior doors and windows, and lots of beautiful sunlight. I was sold!
What upgrades have you made to enhance your home?
Before I even moved into this house I had central air conditioning installed and refinished all of the hardwood floors. My next order of business was to hire a contractor to enlarge the bathroom. Most of the bathrooms in these houses are 5’x7’. I expanded my bathroom to 5’x10’, added a big arched window, replaced the toilet and vanity, and installed the biggest cast iron soaking tub I have ever seen. I surrounded the bathroom with 6”x6” ceramic tile with distinctive decorative trim. The towel rods are manufactured by Ginger and are really striking. I did a lot of research and looked at a lot of pictures to help me design a bathroom in keeping with the style of the house. This is light filled room, with plenty of privacy.
My next major project was to tackle the cinder block and concrete room in the basement that housed the washer and dryer and to turn into a real laundry room. This room looks just like a kitchen but with a washer and dryer instead of kitchen appliances. I use this area as my sewing room and there is plenty of storage for the extra Christmas china that I only use once a year. Additionally there is a powder room off the laundry room.
My contractor became a fixture in my house for the first 14 months I lived here. In addition to the bathroom and laundry room, he bumped out the small bedroom closet and made it a good-sized walk-in closet. He added a storm door, replaced windows, plastered cracks, fixed the deck steps, put in new counter tops, and installed recessed lighting, sconces, floodlights, and chandeliers. He replaced all of the electrical wiring and changed the plumbing pipes to copper pipes.
In 2004, I replaced the little “fake” fireplace that was built into the living room bookcases with a vented gas fireplace surrounded by black marble tile.
In 2005, I started working on the outside. I had the chain link fence removed and replaced it with a wooden privacy fence. In 2006, an Italian stone mason poured a new driveway using concrete with exposed pea aggregate. Using the same type of concrete and lining it with Tennessee sandstone, he replaced the sidewalk that headed out to the front yard, (where my car was not parked) and created a graceful curve from the driveway (where my car was parked) to the front steps, around the side of the house, curved into the backyard and ended on a beautiful Tennessee sandstone circular patio in the back.
2010 was the year of upgrading the kitchen with granite counters, a zero-radius sink, bead board, light rails, and a backsplash of white subway tile. I also purchased new kitchen appliances that included a 5-burner stove with a double oven.
It was also the year of fully waterproofing the basement. I don’t know if you have ever seen how basement waterproofing is done but it is a big, dirty job. All of the lower laundry room cabinets were removed, the drywall was cut away in all of the finished part of the basement, the ceramic tile and concrete floor were jack-hammered up, and then a trench was dug around the entire perimeter of the house. The contractor hauled out all of the dirt out in buckets, put in the drains, repaired the drywall, replaced the tile, and painted the walls and trim. At that time, I decided to replace the carpet with 12”x12” ceramic tile.
Now in addition to the laundry room I have a weaving studio downstairs. I no longer call that area a basement. It has been upgraded to a “lower level.” The lower level is an important feature of this house, because many of these houses have not had the basement floor dug out and there is not enough headroom to make the area a functional space.
In 2013, the roof was replaced with architectural shingles and the house and windows were covered in a Carolina style of vinyl siding. I had a contractor remove the wooden front porch floor (which needed to be painted every year), pour new concrete structural supports, rebuild the front wall of the porch, and replace the wood floor with a composite flooring. The exterior of the house is now maintenance free. In 2014, I replaced the exterior side door with a full-view door.
This year, as I have readied my house for sale, I have installed a new granite-topped vanity in the bathroom and painted most of the rooms in neutral paint. This house is completely ready for the next owner – just bring furniture and clothes.
What are a few of your favorite features?
For me, the Number One and Two features of this house are the light and the windows. You can see beautiful sunrises from those two little bathroom windows and, as the sun moves around the back of the house, the light splays across the wood floors in the master bedroom, the kitchen, and the dining room. Sunset is a front porch happening and I always feel as if I am looking at a Maxfield Parrish painting when I sit out there on the porch swing to enjoy it.
I spend a lot of time outside. The back gardens are sculpted around the perimeter of the yard. There is always something to look at – Shasta daisies, Japanese iris, roses, hydrangeas, cherry blossoms, or black-eyed Susan's. Some years I have hanging baskets and pots galore, and some years I have tomatoes. I enjoy my iced coffee out on the deck in the morning and watch the cardinals and blue jays. I have my lunch on the front porch in mid-afternoon, and I have taken more than one Sunday nap in the chaise lounge out there.
The kitchen is very large in this house. The island is great as a breakfast bar or for rolling out pie crusts and baking 5 pies for Thanksgiving. There is plenty of cabinet storage, some open shelves, recessed and under cabinet lighting and a pantry. The dining room is also a huge room. Normally I use it as a family room and as my music room. For big dinners, I move the table out to the center, add 2 leaves, and I can easily seat 10-12 people.
I spend a lot of time in the upstairs of my house because I have an office in the second bedroom. I can look out at the trees while I am working and see the hummingbirds that live around here. When I wake in the morning I watch the cardinals in the cherry tree outside my bedroom window.
What are a few things you like about your community?
I think the hardest thing about leaving this house is leaving my neighbors. I have never lived in such a cohesive community. There are parties on the front porches, neighborhood cook-outs, block parties, community clean-up days, and a lot of just standing around talking. The dogs and the people are equally friendly and there is always someone to help me start my power washer or lend me some tree loppers.
Where do you eat and shop for groceries or other conveniences?
The Lake Walker community is within walking distance of everything – church, Panera, the Senator Theater, the Giant grocery store, Walgreens, and Firestone. I can walk to yoga at Lynn Bricks or walk to get a coffee at Starbucks. And if you are familiar with the area, you know about Belvedere Square with its summer concerts. I love to take myself out for a salad at Atwater’s or to get a brie and raspberry jam bagel at Greg’s Bagels.
This neighborhood is about 10 minutes from either 83 or 695. In rush hour it only takes about 20 minutes to get downtown or to Hunt Valley. It is close to colleges, universities, hospitals, and the closest parish is St. Pius. There is great shopping in Towson, which is less than 10 minutes away.
What more would you like to tell us about living here?
I guess by now you can tell that I just adore this house and this neighborhood. As I look back at all I have done over the years to improve, enhance, and maintain this charming 92-year old house I realize how devoted I am to my home. I get emotional remembering that I have successfully kept the ground ivy out of my yard all these years or remembering the times my grandchildren have stirred pancake batter all over the kitchen island. I have had quite a relationship with this beautiful bungalow. I am confident that anyone who lives here will have a similar experience. There is a lot of good karma here for the new owner.
Author: Alexander Necker
August 27th 2017
About Alexander: ...