$1.7 Million Homes in Maryland, Oregon and California

The Four Percent


Built with a steel-frame construction that has stood up to multiple hurricanes and at least one tornado, this house is 26 miles north of Baltimore in an unincorporated part of Baltimore County. The community has about 5,000 residents, a horse-country character and a reputation for high-performing schools. There aren’t many businesses in the area, but the Hunt Valley Towne Centre shopping mall is about eight miles southwest.

This house is set high above a river called Big Gunpowder Falls that invites tubing, kayaking and fishing. The 20-mile-long Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail runs close by. The property has no history of flooding — the website Flood Factor rated the risk in the next 30 years as 1 out of 10 — but it is in a FEMA zone that requires flood insurance to obtain a mortgage.

Size: 5,754 square feet

Price per square foot: $295

Indoors: Beginning in 2018, the current owners (one of whom is the listing agent) undertook a thorough renovation that included upgrading the electrical, heating and plumbing systems; installing new flooring, cabinetry and tiles; remodeling the kitchen and all the bathrooms; adding Lutron shades (although the siting and surrounding trees make privacy less of a priority than energy efficiency); painting interior trim a cohesive black; and implementing new landscaping and hardscaping.

The house is constructed symmetrically, with each of the two main floors possessing a large, glass-walled room at either end that offers bucolic views and is anchored by a stone chimney with a wood-burning fireplace. A silo (in appearance only; this house was never a farm) contains a spiral staircase (with a new custom metal railing) that connects the two main levels and is illuminated by a conical glass top.

On the first floor, the principal rooms are used as a living area (with white carpeting and orbital brass pendant lighting on one end) and a kitchen that opens to a family room on the other end. The kitchen has a pair of blue, Shaker-style islands (one with a sink; the other used for seating) that have waterfall quartz countertops and are lit by cone pendant lights suspended from a wood ceiling panel. A Wolf dual-fuel range is framed by white cabinets against a marble-patterned porcelain backsplash.

Matching cabinetry in the family-room portion serves as a television stand and bar with a refrigerator and ice maker. The new flooring is 9.5-inch-wide white-oak planks. Also on this level, just beyond the front door, is a dining room with a colorful wallpapered ceiling designed by the owners. A hallway off the kitchen, with added storage, leads to a half bathroom.

On the second floor, the glass-walled rooms are taken up by a primary suite at one end and an office and media room at the other. The bedroom contains Stanton carpet and a circular brass chandelier, and walks out to a deck. The bathroom is surfaced with 30-inch-square tile flooring and chevron-patterned marble wall tile. It also contains a free-standing tub and a dual-head shower. The adjacent walk-in closet was designed to remove any need for a bedroom dresser and includes a laundry chute that descends to the basement.

The office was intended (remarkably, given the glass walls) as a screening room and still has the original projector, as well as blackout shades. It also includes a built-in wall of bookshelves.

In the center of this level is a carpeted bedroom that is unusual in having three opaque walls. Its bathroom is surfaced in hexagonal floor and wall tile, and includes a subway-tiled shower.

A conventional staircase leads up to the third floor, where there are two mirror-image, carpeted bedrooms, each with a wall of glass and an en suite bathroom. In the basement is an au pair suite that includes a bedroom with a walkout deck, a living room and a bathroom with a shower. Laundry, storage rooms and mechanicals rooms (including a new boiler) are also found there.

Outdoor space: The sellers repaved the path leading to the house with bluestone and added a playground and a seating circle with a firepit to the front, where crepe myrtle and a magnolia tree grow. Upper and lower decks overlook the river (the upper deck includes a built-in table), and the wood staircase descending to the river was recently replaced. A carport was enclosed to create a garage, and has a greenhouse on the upper level.

Taxes: $9,864 (2020, based on a tax assessment of $813,833)

Contact: Alisa Goldsmith, W Home Group, 917-282-8899; nextsteprealtymd.com


The northeast Irvington neighborhood of Portland was developed in the early 20th century by transplanted lumber and railroad executives who imported the prevailing East Coast and Midwestern architectural styles. This Craftsman bungalow is on a tree-lined street about two miles from the Pearl District. It is seven blocks southeast of Irving Park, which has tennis courts and a dog park, and seven blocks north of Broadway, a commercial stretch. Irvington Elementary School is five blocks away.

Size: 3,600 square feet

Price per square foot: $468

Indoors: The classic Craftsman interior begins with an oak front door with leaded glass; a vestibule with a built-in seat; and a living room with Douglas fir molding wrapping around the base and crown, and a wood-burning fireplace surrounded by marble. Bookcases with leaded-glass doors stand like sentries at the wide entrance to the adjacent dining room, which has a fir beamed ceiling, original lighting, a large window topped with leaded glass and additional built-ins. Pocket doors close off these rooms from the back of the house.

Updated by a previous owner, the kitchen off the dining room has cabinets with wood trim matching the crown molding, and Corian countertops. The view is to the garden. A white wainscot lightens an adjacent breakfast room, as do the French doors that open to a mahogany rear deck. On the other side of the breakfast room is a library with leaded-glass-fronted built-ins. This level also has a half bathroom.

Each of the four upstairs bedrooms has its own paint color and character. The primary room is brown and includes a sitting area in a niche. Other rooms are gray, periwinkle blue and teal. The hall bathroom offers a jetted tub and a glass-walled shower. The periwinkle room includes a closet with access to plumbing that could easily be converted into a second upstairs bathroom.

In the basement are guest quarters with a bedroom, sitting room and full bathroom. That level also has a winemaking room (at one time, the sellers grew grapes on the property) and a sauna. The renovated walk-up attic, with its bamboo floor and skylights, offers more bonus and storage space.

Outdoor space: Raised garden beds with berries and lettuces, a hot tub, a fountain and a pond are distributed around the large (for its neighborhood) property. Among the many trees, shrubs and perennials are cypress, roses, Japanese maple, star magnolias, wisteria, rhododendrons, lilies, tulips and an olive tree. The double front porch is heated. A detached garage used as a garden shed is on the side of the property.

Taxes: $11,741 (2020, based on a tax assessment of $459,590)

Contact: Laurie Holland, Laurie Holland Real Estate, 503-242-9000; laurieholland.com


Stan Allen, the former dean of Princeton University’s school of architecture, designed this house for an artist, which backs up against a busy road about 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Known as the L.B. House after its client, Linda Burnham, it was Mr. Allen’s first residential design and is admired for creating a sense of tranquillity in the dense, mixed-used environment. Surrounding businesses sell groceries, used cars, office supplies, pottery and psychic chakra and energy balancing. Freight trains pass close by. Forest Lawn Memorial Park, where the actress Carole Lombard and the “Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum are buried, is a few blocks east.

Size: 1,994 square feet

Price per square foot: $850

Indoors: The building consists of stacked aluminum-sided concrete volumes on a narrow lot. Cement pavers embedded in gravel lead to a recessed glass front door; a light well at the entrance brings a glimpse of sky and the occasional Southern California raindrop. Just beyond the foyer is a double-height main room with a concrete floor, clerestory interior and exterior windows, a fireplace, corrugated-aluminum wall accents and Fleetwood sliding-glass doors opening to the rear pool area.

A cherry-red cabinet with an integrated cooktop sections off the open kitchen; a green backsplash adds another jolt of color. Behind the kitchen is a small guest room with a wall of open shelving and, opposite that, a wall of glass. The guest bathroom is surfaced in tiny sage green tile, which extends into the walk-in shower.

A curving staircase in the kitchen takes you up to the lofted primary suite. The upper landing is spacious enough for a desk and bookcase. The bedroom includes bamboo flooring and translucent plastic closet doors (it looks much better than it sounds). The bathroom has tiny tiles, double sinks and Anglepoise-style lamps mounted over the vanity. A custom bathtub and free-standing shower nestle together in a corner. Sliding-glass doors open to a narrow balcony overlooking the pool.

Outdoor space: A deck off the upper landing, facing the street side, was not intended for lounging (it lacks a railing or parapet and has a circular void in the center), but the owner strategically furnished and used it. The pool area is sheltered with bamboo, palms and grasses, and includes many pots of succulents arranged along a wall. The attached garage’s main door looks solid from outside but is translucent from within. More parking is available in a driveway.

Taxes: $21,188 (estimated)

Contact: Tracy Do, Compass, 323-842-4001; tracydo.com

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