Our craftsmanship adds value. Our people add warmth.

Historic Home Remodel

Catonsville Historic Home Restoration

These homeowners were passionate about preserving historic homes back to their original glory. This grand home in Baltimore County had gone into disrepair.  Like many homes in the area, this majestic house fell to the rental market and was butchered into three apartments.  Our clients decided to restore the major components of the house to their original architectural roots.

historic home renovation front porch

We’d like to share a little history behind this 1915 Colonial Revival.   It begins with the founding of the village of Catonsville in the early nineteenth century.  This small community consisted of summer homes for the rich whose year-round dwellings were in the city of Baltimore.  Catonsville was situated along the Frederick Turnpike in a setting of mostly farms.  Since it was only seven miles from the city it was an attractive destination for escaping the sweltering heat of city life.  The Carroll family owned 12,000 acres and when deeded to their heirs was partitioned into smaller lots.

Catonsville in 1877 consisted mostly of summer estates of the wealthy.  Travel from the city of Baltimore to the village of Catonsville was by the horse-car line, then by the Short Line railroad. The cost to travel by rail was very expensive and took a considerable amount of time (2 hours) so Catonsville continued as a mostly summer destination.   The invention of the electric streetcar cut travel in half for a more affordable cost.  That is when the exodus from the city to “suburbia” began for the middle classes allowing them to enjoyCatonsville’s park-like settings.

Apartments to Single-Family Home Conversion

The family’s pursuit of this aggressive restoration included personal touches of their own style and taste while keeping in the original design period.  One of their greatest endeavors was to reconstruct the grand front porch.  Another exterior renovation was the removal of a metal fire escape on the rear of the three-story home.  The stairway afforded the occupants of the second and third floors access to their apartments. In choosing to restore this to a single-family residence they eliminated the need for an outside stairway.  Many exterior details had deteriorated such as corbels, stucco, and faux marble paint.  Owings Brothers fixed the damaged elements and the home’s gracious beauty was revived!

Our homeowners were able to create a floor plan perfect for their family of four without adding any additional square footage.  The goal was to redirect the tragic course of the house and recreate some of its past charms. First, they rebuilt the front entry and removed the unappealing metal stairway. Next was to open up the interior grand stairway that had been blocked to the second and third-floor apartments.  This home’s original foyer was beautiful and fortunately, things were pretty much untouched.  By opening the wall the beauty of the switchback staircase with expansive landings was restored. Now when you enter the house you are transported back to a period of craftsmanship long gone. Notice the ornate detailing reminiscent of the past. The beautiful old Catonsville home with its distinctive characteristics of type and period is on the National Register.

In reestablishing the staircase craftsman needed to create balusters, railing portions, and steps. The skilled craftsmen at Owings Brothers hand-created all that was needed to finish the staircase to its original form. The rear staircase (previously servants’ stairway) was opened up so the family could use it for everyday living. The hardwood floors throughout the home were stunning needing only to be cleaned and polished. Other overall updates to the home were exchanging inappropriate lighting fixtures to period reproductions and the removal of all wallpaper.

Contemporary Updates In Historic Homes

To add a bit of whimsy the homeowners chose to update the first-floor powder room adjacent to the foyer in red, white, and black.  Enhancing this theme they chose Scalamandre wallpaper “Zebra Masai – Red” and a “Nero Asian Statuary Hexagon” Polished Marble flooring.  The fixtures include a white ceramic pedestal sink with a reproduction cross-handle faucet and a  period commode.  The dark-painted wainscotting lends to the richness of the room and creates a one-of-a-kind experience!

The master bathroom and hall bath also went through complete gut and redos to offer our homeowners a more contemporary experience.  Selecting materials that were used in the early 20th century kept its historic flavor.  A large walk-in shower with floor-to-ceiling Bianco Gioia Honed tile was created and a reproduction vanity was installed.  The same tile was continued on the floor in a herringbone pattern.  An original claw foot tub was saved and moved to the hall bathroom.



You will love the last room remodeled in this portion of their renovation efforts!  Once a nursery the room with all it’s natural light and adjacent to the master bedroom has become a phenomenal walk-in closet.  Closets & Storage by Owings offers custom-created closet systems to provide you with the most storage for any particular closet or space.  We have included cabinets with drawers, shoe racks, cubbies, and many shelves for keeping all your clothing and accessories accessible.  Check out our catalog of closet and storage accessories for every room.