Harmony Hills is the name we gave to our “new to us” 1925 Colonial Revival home here in Baltimore, MD. The home was built in the Ten Hills neighborhood in west Baltimore for Mr. Charles Rittenhouse III and his family. We are the 5th family to own the home, and we have been in touch with family #3 and family #4, and are learning more and more about the other families who lived here before.
As part of the purchase of the home, we were conveyed the original blue prints of the home. These 90 year old documents show the room layouts to be different than they are today – specifically, the bathrooms are located in different places. This leads us to wonder if a major renovation occurred in which the bathrooms were all moved from the left side center of the house, to the front center – which would be a huge undertaking! or was the home built to a different blue print, and the one we have is an early draft that was later modified?
The house is constructed of terra cotta tile blocks covered in stucco. This means there’s no insulation in the walls. The roof is the the original slate roof from 1925, and its still in great shape. The side porch and back porch have the original standing seam metal roofs, while the sunroom roof has been upgraded to a flat rubber roof. All of the original copper gutters and downspouts were replaced a few years ago with modern K-style aluminum gutters and downspouts – except for the side porch which still has old copper gutters. All 52 of the windows in the home are the original wood double hung windows with only a couple of them having weights/balances that need repair. Full sets of storm windows with screens were added in the 1970’s, adding to the weather proofing and insulation properties of the house.
The interior is filled with original trim and details – every window and door frame has the same painted wood trim styles; every door is the original solid wood door, and every door knob is a beautiful crystal knob and original latch mechanism. Interior walls are plaster except in a few remodeled areas containing drywall. Floors throughout the home are the original hardwood floors. The first floor hardwoods have an inlaid border around the perimeter of each room, adding an extra touch of elegance.
The home is unique for its time because of the rear-entry double garage in the basement. Who had a built-in garage in 1925? Most of the homes in the neighborhood had single or double garages built as separate structures in the far corners of their property – ours had the garages built in as part of the foundation of the house. Our modern cars (including our Mazda CX-5) both fit in the garages!
The family who owned the house before us conducted several major repairs, rehabilitations, and replacements of things in the house, including all the mechanical systems, fireplace, wall plaster, and a complete remodel of the kitchen and master bath. The interior of the home is really very nicely done, leaving us lots of time and energy to devote to the yard.
The neighborhood of Ten Hills was created beginning in 1910 as a suburb of Baltimore City, and was marketed to upper-middle to upper class families looking to escape the city. Many homes were built in the 1920’s, then sporadic development continued after WWII. Today the neighborhood is a thriving community with diverse families and a great neighborhood feel. A local documentary was made about the neighborhood last year:
I’ll try to add more info about the house and neighborhood as I discover it.