Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rowhouse or Row House?

Here in good ol' Bawlmer we refer to our rowhouses as one word, as opposed to "row houses". This makes sense to me. Since my house adjoins others maybe the words should also be conjoined too. I've noticed some links on some of houseblogs to this site have it as two words. After Wikipedia'ing 'Rowhouse' it sent me to an explanation for Terraced house. I don't have a terrace, so not sure how I fit in this category, but reading down the page shows that row houses are indeed two words. That said, that's not how we roll in gramatically incorrect Baltimore so we will stick with the one word. Y'all fancy folks on the intarweb can use two words if you like.

And now, onto the real post. I've never posted a picture of the outside of the house. Now that the front door has been replaced and the window trim is being painted I thought I'd put some pics. Keeping true to form I will forego the before pictures and just show pics mid progress.

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The new door is wood and we decided to paint it black. I'd like to paint the trim black too, but the last trim painter was a bit sloppy and got a lot of white paint on the brick. Also, the new front window is vinyl so not sure how that would look. Do y'all think it would look better with black or white trim?

The door isn't anything too fancy as we wanted it to fit the style of the neighborhood, and I didn't feel like spending a ton of money on this project. Also, I wanted to keep all of the trimwork around the door and front window original so that meant no steel or fiberglass doors. Either of these options wouldn't have been able to be planed to fit in existing framing and I was NOT going to rip out all the trim to have some ugly pre-hung completely square door put in place.

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As you can see, prehung doors and windows have been forced into many houses in the area. Many rowhomes have stained glass transoms above the door with the house numbers in the glass. While I love this bit of character I have only a single pane piece of glass with house number stickers on it. Last night I put new modern satin nickel house numbers up and can soon scrape the ugly stickers off.

Also notice that the whole block is rowhomes with all with the original marble steps. There is a large marble quarry north of Baltimore, so most of the steps came from there. In fact, most of the marlbe on the Washington Monument is from just north of Baltimore. I wish there were some painted screens, but sadly there are none on my block.

I'll be on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi for the next couple of days, so no work on the house. I'm looking forward to seeing how far things have come along since Katrina, and eating at some of my favorite places like The Shed (as seen on Food Network), and maybe even Trapani's over in Bay St. Louis. I'm craving Trapani's trout smothered in crab, shrimp and hollandaise. Yum.

16 comments:

I am so wise said...

Go with a unique door man. Fight back against cookie cutter rowhouse conformity.

Jenny said...

oh my gosh what perfect/bad timing for you to do a blog on front doors. As of 9am Thursday morning a contractor is here to rip out my front door because it was cheaper to rip out the old door and frame instead of buying a $900 steal door to fit the crazy space properly. But now you've given me doubt that I should do what I originally wanted-getting a wooden door cut to fit. Which I really wonder how much it will change my BGE bill.

Beancountingqueen said...

Corey, I agree with 'so wise' above. We really should have gone with the pink door.

Valerie said...

I think black trim.

Angela said...

Love the pictures on this blog~ I think the trim being black will look great! I need help setting up my blog! Your mom volunteered some tips from you!

sea mystery said...

You had me at trout smothered in crab. OMG! Ever had Cioppino? The best seafood stew around ... all kinds of goodness in a bowl.

I actually live not far from Mt. Vernon. Love the marble on the Washington Monument.

I remember, when I was in my teens, scrubbing our marble steps on the Fulton Avenue rowhouse with Ajax and a scrub brush. Used to make them sparkle. Nothing beats cool marble when you're hanging out on the steps at night. We also had the stained glass transom. Wish I could have taken it with me when we moved to Glen Burnie in 1975. We had an outside solid wood door, a marble vestibule and an inside solid wood with an oval beveled glass door. The door to the living room slid back into the wall and the hallway walls had congo tiles. All the doorknobs throughout the house were glass and you used a skeleton key to open the kitchen door to a huge room at the back of the house. Oil tank out back, radiators, old coal bin the in basement. Three bedrooms, walk through closet in the master and middle bedroom. Two bathrooms, one full upstairs and one toilet and sink in the big back room off the kitchen. It was a magical place to me then and I missed it a lot.

Went back last year to take a look at it, but it's a crack house now. I don't ever want to go back again. It hurt my heart to see it treated that way.

Toni said...

I actually like the black door and applaud your effort to fight pre-hung doors. I think black trim would really make the windows stand out, and successfully distinguish your house from your neighbors.

Summer said...

We have a black front door. I think it's warping a bit in the full sun, but we face east. It is new, but is in keeping with the style of the house. Apparently black doors are traditional with red brick. Who knew?

momnipotent said...

I love the new door, much more secure too. I think black trim would be the way to go. The sun and weather wreak havoc on painted wood, though. It will need a little upkeep. The new house numbers are the best I've seen, post a picture. We're ready for an update on the bathroom progress, too. The Xbox misses you...

Corey said...

i am so wise: Thank you for your valuable insight.

jenny: Did you end up getting a pre-framed door? Great question about the energy costs for the different doors. I ran some rough numbers and I think it will cost about $35 more per year on my BGE bill to have a 6 panel wood door compared to an insulated steel door. More than I expected, but to me it's worth it for the look.

val, toni, angela & momnipotent: I think we're going with white. With the crappy past painting job that left white paint all over the brick and with white vinyl windows we're just not sure the black can work. Essentially we'd have to slop black paint over all of the white paint that is on the brick, or strip the paint of the brick. Stripping paint off the brick doesn't sound like much fun, and we have more pressing matters (bathroom, bedrooms!). I wish we could do it black and have it look good though...

Sea mystery: Never been much of a fan of cioppino. Maybe I've never had a good bowl?

Thanks for the background on your place - would have loved to see it in it's hay day. I also had a vestibule, but removed it to improve the flow through the house. I still have the wood door with beveled glass, which I now don't have a place for.

Summer: Cool to hear that it's traditional. The queen and I couldn't agree on a color, so black it was. The door faces west, so we'll see how time takes it's toll on the door... I definitely notice it heating up in the afternoon though.

Summer said...

I wonder if you could use graffiti remover to take the white paint spots off the brick? I saw somebody do that on HGTV once. I think they used a steel brush and the remover and said it was "easy". Your mileage may vary.

misssphinx said...

Dug this post, Corey.

Nice to see all that great looking marble on your facade.

We are also struggling with what to do about our rowhouse facade. Unfortunately the rehabber before us installed vinyl windows, so my dreams, similar to yours, of having lovely glossy black facade trim may be dashed.

Corey said...

sphinx: Looking at most other rowhomes I notice they don't have the marble, nicter brick work and trim work like mine. It's not the reason I bought the house, but now that I have it I really appreciate it.

I think the white paint will look fine, so I am just heading that route. The black is just too much work to do it right, and even then I'm not sure how it would look w/ the white windows. It's just not worth it. Maybe trying painting your door a good color to give it some character? Also, some good lighting options for the front, like one of the cans that point light both up and down add a lot of visual interest.

Jenny said...

Corey-I ended up getting a wooden 6 panel door! I debated over the weekend whether to stain or paint the door. Due to the unexpected Sunday night rain storm I had to quick grab some white paint and paint it. I plan on staining the inside side of the door. I just picked up my new stain glass window yesterday in White Marsh and I eventually plan on painting the front door the blue that is in the stained glass window.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I don't mean to butt into your blog but I am always interested in what people are doing to restore their houses here in Baltimore. I ran across your blog and noticed that you and some of your guests mentioned stained glass transoms. I have a small stained glass studio and I specialize in transoms. Take a look here if you are interested...
www.vintagestylestainedglass.blogspot.com
I'm very interested in keeping the character of Baltimore alive.
Nice job on the house! Good luck with it!
Robin

Terraza Stained Glass said...

If you ever decide to add a stained glass transom (traditional or contemporary)you should contact me at terrazaglass@yahoo.com. I own a home studio in Locust Point and I custom design transoms.

The black door looks great. I hope you post more photos when you rehab is finished.