For fans of historic homes, downtown Frederick is a goldmine. When it’s time to renovate them, the question often becomes how to integrate historical architectural elements with the modern technology, functionality and convenience buyers have come to expect.
Developers David Bauer and Michael Gordon undertook that challenge when they bought Whitehill’s Row, a pre-Civil War building in the east end of Downtown Frederick near Carroll Creek. Their vision for revitalizing this property: Keep historical elements and design while mixing in modern amenities.
“I felt like it was going to be a good fit for us,” said Bauer. “We could really turn this into something unique. A lot of people rehab properties downtown, but not to this level.”
After getting the property rezoned from light industrial to residential, the pair began a complete renovation of the structurally sound building in February, 2018. “When we’re renovating these properties, we want to retain certain historic elements of them,” Bauer said. “We didn’t want to come in and wipe everything clean.”
Bauer designed floor plans that are functional for today’s furniture and amenities, while repurposing elements from the original structures. Each row home has a new heating and air-conditioning system with an upstairs and downstairs unit to ensure every level of the home is the perfect temperature. They added spray foam insulation, as well as new roofing, for energy efficiency, as well as electrical and plumbing.
“The way that I laid these (row houses) out—because we couldn’t move window locations—I tried to make sure that we had a window in every bedroom, bathroom and every hallway for natural light,” Bauer said.
The interiors are finished in a gray palette. They are paired with historically accurate aspects of the structure; the developers exposed, repointed and sealed original brick walls and exposed and tuck-pointed basement stone walls. Repurposed floor joists serve as shelves. Exposed beams, windowsills and the original wooden fireplace mantels have been restored.
“For efficiency, we are doing pellet stove insert fireplaces, which should keep the electric bills very, very low in the wintertime,” Bauer said.
In keeping with the property’s history, folks will notice an industrial vibe with the fixtures, as well as designs featuring columns, floating stair treads and corrugated metal stairwells.
Involved in real estate for 20 years, Bauer knows the importance of properly balancing historic and modern in a home. “We worked with a couple of interior designers, and Anthony Owens Remodeling, to see where that balance was,” he said.
The six houses that make up Whitehill’s Row range in size from 1,880 to 2,590 square feet, with three or four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. The units are priced in the $500,000s, with one sold and one renovated unit on the market. Two more units will be completed in the next couple of months; the last two are expected to be completed by fall. They are being sold by SWC Realty of Maryland.
“If somebody wants to live down here and they want to be part of the process, we have two (row homes) that are blank slates,” Bauer said. “We can figure out a way to work with them to make it their own.”