The evening was a hot one, even for early September in the Baltimore area. The open house was to start at 6:30, and at 6:00 there was already a crowd gathering outside, fanning themselves – at least there was a breeze, though a warm one. To be fair to the owners, we wouldn't open until the official start time. After all, it's not easy getting 6,000 sq.ft. in open house condition, working full time, having a life, and sharing the space with a couple of beautiful greyhounds. The question was – should we turn on the air conditioning, or open all the French doors and let the breezes in? We did both, and so some spaces were cool and some were breezy.
Before the opening I had time to talk with the crowd of more than 30 prospective buyers and share all the wonderful stuff I know about this historic building and my dear friend, the artist Tatiana. I showed them the cornerstone that reads 1889, and we had time to walk the property and see the freestanding building that housed Tatiana's kiln. What treasures of ceramic art came from that smoke-stained building! The building would make a great workshop, classroom, or storage space.
The adjacent cemetery brings different reactions from people. The cemetery was begun when the building was used as a church, and was sold many years ago to the former congregation who still care for it. Some people, often the creative, artists, writers, etc., find the space very calming and peaceful. The extensive decking provides the perfect place to sit and contemplate.
There were plenty of questions and it was great to watch the anticipation build as the time grew close to go inside. Not everything about the building is clear from the outside, and the green house windows drew plenty of speculation. Designed by Tatiana's late husband, William Potts who was an architect and used it as his studio, this part of the addition has its own private front entrance as well as a "secret" curved stairway from the inside.
When the doors opened at 6:30 it was fun to watch the expressions of young and old take in the huge space with the original ceilings, floors, and windows. And then to see how Tatiana, who lived here for more than 30 years, made use of the gourmet kitchen and the huge sunroom. Asked about access, I showed one very nice lady with a cane the ramp in the rear. (She of course reassured me that she did not need it!)
I asked the children if they would like to live here, and was answered with such excitement..."Yeah, this would be cool!" So I of course suggested they all go pick out their rooms and then report back to me. One wanted the studio apartment, one wanted the cool room upstairs with the round stained window, one wanted Tatiana's bedroom and was fascinated by her Japanese RED soaking tub. Remember, I was using my former Pediatric RN training - get the kids involved.
I pointed out the possibility of using the huge library as a master bedroom since it has a full bath attached. The glaze room area with its small office and bath would be an ideal place for a laundry. And that still leave four bedrooms plus two more baths and a full laundry upstairs.
During all this Paul Sobwick, our good-looking auctioneer, was listening and talking and making everyone comfortable, answering questions about the auction and how it works. Paul had some fun with the crowd, too. We had printed up some flyers asking the buyers to guess the final selling price. The person who comes closest will win dinner at a very nice local restaurant.
We stayed until almost 9:00 pm, sitting outside and talking about how successful the open house was and what good energy we all felt. We are all very excited about the upcoming auction in just two weeks on September 20.
This was definitely not your every day open house!
Update! Was finally able to get two more special photos of this unique property.
The 1889 cornerstone anchors the building in history and somehow makes the history real.
And here is that wonderfully smoky kiln building with its memories of creating elegant art works. Note the old school bell, too!