Spy House of the Week: Mansard Multi-Unit


One of my favorite childhood books was ”The Red Balloon”, a birthday gift from my Francophile Uncle Bud. I especially liked the illustrations which were black and white photographs of Paris. As I turned the pages, I followed Pascal holding his beloved red balloon through the narrow cobblestoned streets flanked by mansard roofs that were so different from houses on my street. Years later I followed in Pascal’s footsteps one summer when I and my fellow students took breaks from our summer architecture program at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts to explore Paris. When I saw this week’s house, it evoked happy memories of the other mansard roofs that had charmed me long ago.

This Victorian era house was originally a single family residence that had been converted into apartments with a spacious owner unit on the first floor. The two wings of the front elevations were set back from the other. The massing and the house’s light gray lap siding, off white trim and darker shutters and roofing shingles gave it great curb appeal. The other appeal is the income potential since there is an owner’s suite on the main floor and apartments on the other floors, including the walk-out basement unit with views to the Chester River.

The spacious entrance hall leads to the original staircase to access the upper floor and basement units. Sidelights on either side of the double entrance doors and a window at the stairwell landing brighten the space. The owner’s unit contains the original living and dining rooms and the period details including the dining room built-in cupboard, the living room fireplace and the window trim have been carefully preserved. The current owner’s antique furnishings certainly enhance the interior rooms and evoke an era of gracious living.

The rear of the house overlooks the lawn that slopes down to the Chester River. The owner’s suite has a screened porch off the living room and the apartments have access to the wrap-around open porch for catching river breezes.

In-town waterfront site, historic charm and income potential-tres magnifique!


For more information about this property, contact Lisa Raffetto with Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate Company at 410-778-0330 (o), 410-708-0174 (c) or lisar@cbchesapeake.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

The Red Balloon” by Albert Lamorisse was published by Doubleday Books in 1967. The book was based upon the Academy Award winning film written and directed by the author and starring his son Pascal. The captivating Parisian photographs were taken during the filming of the short film.

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.


Letters to Editor

  1. I have fine memories of this house on Water Street. When I visited there often, Mary Jean Hudson lived there and her aunt had owned it. She, her husband at the time Monroe, and 5 children lived on the first floor. We would go crabbing in the river, steam the crabs in the small kitchen and have a great time. A friend and W.C. Classmate of mine rented a basement apartment, and a cousin lived on the top floor. Mary Jean eventually moved across the street where I last saw her some years ago. I don’t know when elevators were installed since they must be fairly new. Thanks for the memories.
    Jim Scott jscott1238@aol.com, 772-584-3667

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