Thanks for all the positive comments, guys. I am very excited about it. The house is not an investment, thank goodness, because I'm going to be putting more money into it than it probably is worth, certainly in this market. It is a very unique house with a lot of history and character, so I'll have to hope someday that someone sees in it all that I do... and is willing to pay for it. Anyways, it's going to be a house for me and my family for years to come, so we're comfortable with our decision.
@ JetBlast: Yes, it's in the northern part of the city; it's not far from Johns Hopkins University.
@ Roy: Hopefully we will be in in about 6 months, perhaps 7. The contractor has quoted 16 weeks of construction, so even if he misses the mark by 25% and we don't get started for another 4-6 weeks (historical hurdles to jump) we should make it. I'm curious about the "wired gigabit network." Why do I need one? Is it for A/V purposes, or are there other applications I need to be thinking about? We currently use a wireless network and it seems more than enough for my limited needs, but I welcome edification.
@ AB and Pezz: We are trying to restore the house with as much respect as possible for the original design intent. While certain elements are going to keep their patinas (we may not paint the shutters, for example) some things just must be done. The A/C units you see are going to go and the new ones will hopefully be smaller and better hidden, and some of the electrical boxes and wires are going to be concealed. As for a lot of the stucco, though, the patina must go as all the flaking, pitting, ivy growing, and cracks are beginning to cause structural issues. All stucco will be cleaned, repaired, and re-painted. We are going to go back to what we believe was the home's original color, which is more of a creamy color than the flat white you see in some of the shots. But things like copper gutters, the patina on the bell, etc. will be retained wherever possible. On the inside, though all bathrooms will be gutted and re-done, we're going to retain as much of the character as we can, so wood floors will remain, details will be preserved (my architect wanted to pull out a gorgeous craftsman-style built-in cabinet but I would not let him, and we are currently fighting over some pocket doors where he says a pipe chase must go), and other touches like window hardware will be kept original. Still, some original details cannot remain: as much as I like radiator heat, it's far more expensive to retrofit them from steam to water and shore them all up, and deal with all the potential safety issues (lead paint, hot metal on baby hands), than to just swap out for an all-new forced air system, for example.
Oh, and the totem poles: the builder and original occupant of the house was a relatively renowned, locally speaking, Baltimore artist. She was also quite religiously devout. So the three corner totems are Biblically-inspired. All three were executed in situ by the artist.
One is the Madonna and Child:
One is St. Francis preaching to the birds:
And the third is the Flight into Egypt:
They all need some restoration and shoring up from the elements. There's also a biblical inscription from Luke 24 above the front door: "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening, and the day is almost over."
I'm not a Christian, so I hope I am not struck dead on moving day.