In Baltimore, the creative transformation of many waterfront industrial structures into restaurants, businesses and homes is making room for developments copying the same industrial and maritime flavor as their older counterparts.
Joe and Meg Biscoe's four-story townhouse is one of several Fells Point properties built by Merchant Homes, a developer offering small groupings of homes in popular Baltimore neighborhoods.
To the couple, now with a newborn son, Milo, their home was a wise investment, made at a time when the two were rapidly growing out of their nearby 650-square-foot Water Street condo.
For $606,000, the townhouse offered 2,900 square feet of open living space.
At ground level, the front door of the all-brick home opens to an entrance foyer and hallway leading to a two-car garage, "a very rare find in the heart of Fells," noted Meg Biscoe, 35, who works for Under Armour.
Off the hall is a powder room and a home office for Joe Biscoe, a 32-year-old manager at Constellation Energy, located just blocks from their house.
The home's second level is bright, large and uncluttered, consisting of the a living room, dining room and custom kitchen.
"The most time-consuming [job] was picking paint, stain and the backsplash," Joe Biscoe said, pointing out the glass subway tile placed above and beside mahogany kitchen cabinets. Appliances are stainless steel, while Silestone quartz countertops speak to a modern, industrial and urban look. To warm and personalize the area, metal prints of the Swiss and Czech flags, denoting the couple's heritages, hang side by side over a long, uncluttered countertop. A canvas-wrap photograph of local watering holes taken by the Biscoes hangs on an adjacent wall.
The couple chose all of their furnishings for an overall neutral decor, with a nod to Fells Point's maritime history. The living room features sailcloth-upholstered furniture while a series of three beveled mirrors, placed on top of metal hatch covers, hang over the sofa.
Up the central staircase of metal and wood is the third floor, which contains a master suite, a guest room, Milo's nursery and two bathrooms.
"I would have to say our favorite room is the fourth-floor suite. With its beach-y theme, [the space] feels separated from the rest of the house and is a nice retreat," said Meg Biscoe.
Like the main living area on the second floor, this top-floor retreat is nautical-themed with dramatic use of white sail cloth furniture placed against walls painted medium gray. Bright orange pillows on the sofa pop like oranges on a white plate.
A guest room on this level is closed off with a sliding door affixed to barn door hardware.
"The crab mural by local artist Robyn Catzva painted on the barn door and nautical-themed wall hangings just put us in a good mood," Meg Biscoe said.
A large deck on this level is, she pointed out, "a great way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon, with the wet bar just steps away."
The couple's dream of a new home in the city they love is strikingly evident as they speak of their good fortune to have found Merchant Homes.
"This home is located in our favorite part of the city, Fells Point," said Joe Biscoe. "The convenience of being able to walk [or take the] water taxi to work and all of our favorite bars and restaurants has been a great experience."
As they look down the road, the proud parents said the location of a nearby school for their offspring is another plus.
"We also anticipate sending our son, Milo, to the New Century School adjacent to our house."
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