Presented by Lisa Hardiman and Bonnie Markell of Monument Sotheby’s International Realty.
Entering this stately classical revival home, one can almost hear the clink of the wine glasses, feel the warmth of the fires burning in the hearth, and hear the laughter of the guests at one of the many parties given in this house by the original owner, James Swan Frick. There is a sense of history in the fireplace mantels on the ground floor and in the sitting room, which Frick brought to Charlcote from his previous home.
John Russell Pope, one of the leading classical revival architects of the first half of the 20th century, was commissioned by James Swan Frick to build Charlcote House. Pope also designed such landmark buildings as the Jefferson Memorial and the National Archives Building in Washington DC; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and closer to home the Baltimore Museum of Art. Charlcote is only one of two personal residences in Maryland designed by the renowned architect. Construction of the home occurred between 1914 and 1916.
Frick bought six parcels of land from the Roland Park Association as they were developing the newly created Guilford community. Collectively, the six parcels, shaped in shield form is completely surrounded by a seven-foot ivy covered brick wall with wrought iron details. A coach house sits opposite the main entrance and the courtyard on the north side of the house. The original landscape plan was believed to have been designed by The Olmsted Brothers, the grandsons of the landscape architect for Central Park in New York. The Olmsted Brothers were also the landscape architects for the Guilford Community.
Design of the Residence
This grand home has classical proportions and details with a symmetrical layout and elegant materials. The home is rectangular in shape sitting on an east-west axis with the larger rooms facing south. The traditional main level rooms, 13 feet in height, have Corinthian columns, filigreed ceilings and decorative moldings. The walls, ceilings and floor finishes are simply decorated with the most emphasis on the wall and ceiling junction. As on the exterior, the decoration features urns, garlands, scrolls, frets and consoles. The extreme spaciousness and formality were highly unusual in the early 20th century suburbs of Baltimore.
The principal rooms are arranged around a T shaped entrance and cross hall paved with marble tile. 12-foot mahogany French doors open to each room. The library with wood-burning fireplace is all mahogany with hand inlaid details. Above the fireplace is a painting from the original owner’s personal collection predating the house, which has been restored to its glory by the current owners. The large living room, originally called the drawing room, with gas fireplace looks out over the property and directly south towards Charles Street. This is the front and main facade of the house with a wraparound terrace shaded by an awning in the summer. Mahogany pocket doors separate the drawing room from the dining room. The dining room, also facing south, has a gas fireplace and connects to the kitchen through glass French doors as well as through a hidden service door. On the north side of the home is the family room, originally referred to as the reception room. Updated to bring in the comforts of the 21st century, this room has a large flat screen television, wood burning fireplace, adjacent powder room and large coat closet with entertainment console for the home. The fully paneled study with lighted cabinets flanking the gas fireplace faces the north courtyard and has a hidden door passage to a large safe and filing room. The east end of the entrance hall leads to the elevator, which services all levels of the home, back stairs, mudroom, second powder room, kitchen pantry and kitchen area. Pocket shutters flank all windows throughout the first floor except in the breakfast room and kitchen where pocket iron grates pull out for added security on the large expanse of windows. The sunporch features a classic herringbone brick floor.
Historic Preservation and Restoration
Charlcote House is on the National Register of Historic Places. The entire exterior of the residence, including the surrounding brick wall and façade of the coach house, are protected by covenants. Additionally, all rooms on the first floor with the exception of the kitchen are protected against any subdivision by covenants, and all mantels are to remain unaltered as stated by the covenants. No additional structures or modifications to the property are permitted south of the coach house façade.
Meticulous attention to authentic original detail was employed in all restoration work in Charlcote House. All brass and gold fixtures, sconces, chandeliers, railings and other accessories were restored to the original finishes. Some sconces were moved to allow space for artwork. In such cases the sconces were relocated or combined to form a larger fixture. All lighting shades were reproduced by hand and modeled after the originals. All windows, doors, and pocket shutters were restored to operable condition. All parquet flooring and mahogany doors were stripped and re-stained. Exterior wrought iron railings and light fixtures were restored. Two urns flanking the courtyard were reproduced from the originals. Exterior tuckpointing was done where needed.
The basement can be reached by elevator or back stairwell. The basement is divided into many rooms that once served as kitchen, pantry, servants dining room, wine cellar, repair rooms, laundry room, mechanical rooms and a fuel storage space. A covered, gated service entrance is on the east side lower level of the house. All original appliances and laundry drying machines remain in place in the basement. Examples of service call boxes, fire extinguishers and electrical fuse boxes have been preserved to exemplify added amenities to the life of Charlcote House.
Renovations for Today
The exquisite primary suite is expansive offering multiple walk-in closets and a wood burning fireplace. A luxurious en-suite bath features two vanities, a soaking tub, water closet, steam shower, and another wood-burning fireplace. The second level is complete with three additional en-suite bedrooms, built-ins, additional fireplaces, a cedar closet, laundry room and spacious original linen closet.
The third level was converted from the staff quarters in 2006 and 2007 into an award winning 2500 square foot family zone. Designed by Benjamin Ames, the new space contains an informal media lounge, art studio, playroom, office, galley kitchen, additional powder room, gym and guest bedroom with en-suite bath. The third floor has access to the upper terrace. Ames incorporated a frosted glass skylight through the space to bring in natural light, and kept the long center corridor from the original design to separate members of the staff. Ames used similar design elements such as marble floors and mahogany cabinetry from the lower levels of the home but brought a new sense of design and function to the space.
Lisa Hardiman & Bonnie Markell
443.465.1580 Lisa cell | 443.831.3790 Bonnie Cell | 443.906.3840 Office firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com