Old World craftsmanship in Roland Park

Sarah E. Moran
It’s not often that the realty agent who lists a house once lived there too.

But that’s exactly the case with Karen Bisbee and 5600 Roland Ave. in Baltimore’s Roland Park neighborhood.

 Bisbee, of the Hubble Bisbee Team/Coldwell Banker, lived in the 1928-vintage Palmer and Lamdin-designed stone and brick house with her family -- including Nancy Hubble, her mom and business partner – when she was a teenager.

“Karen always wanted to be married in this house so she could sweep down its grand staircase in her wedding gown,” said Nancy Hubble.

Alas, she wasn’t but it’s easy to see why it brought about the dream. A flying type, with marble steps, a gleaming wooden railing and wrought-iron balusters, it rises from the foyer with its black-and-white marble checkerboard floor.

Baltimore food importer Giovanni Fava brought stone and marble masons from Italy to build the house, said Bisbee.

The house has its original plaster and stucco, marble and terrazzo floors, plus hand-carved living room beams with hand-painted geometric stencils.

 “This is a majestic Roland Park house on a beautiful street,” said the owner, who asked not to be identified, adding that its craftsmanship could never be replicated.

The carved limestone living room fireplace bears the Fava family crest. Sunroom windows “are barrel-vaulted with gorgeous decorative arches,” Bisbee said. The sunlit 20 x 15 dining room has a large bay window, perfect for the cozy dining table where the Hubbles dined.

In the kitchen, among other amenities, you’ll find a black-and-white tile floor, pine cabinets, granite countertops and Sub-Zero frig.

Windows, some with portholes, others with bays, are leaded glass. A few have scenes of silhouetted Colonial ladies hand-etched into the lead.

The third floor, where the help once lived, is newly refurbished with two bathrooms and two big bedrooms under the eaves, plus storage areas.

Perfect for taking a load off, the second-floor master bedroom has an enormous dressing room and his-and-her bathrooms.

And the location? It’s next to a 60-acre Trinitarian Fathers retreat, just off St. Georges Road and minutes from the Northern Parkway.

Fine schools are also nearby.

“Roland Park is the epi-center of private schools,” Bisbee said, ticking off Gilman, Bryn Mawr, Roland Park Country School and Boys’ Latin, all within three blocks.

  Property: 5600 Roland Ave.
  Description:  This circa-1928 French country stone-and-brick house with slate roof has five bedrooms and six baths. It has all-original plaster, stucco, marble, terra cotta and terrazzo, plus mature specimen plantings and two bluestone patios.
  Price: $1.835 million 
  Contact: Karen Hubble Bisbee, Hubble Bisbee Group, Coldwell Banker, 10807 Falls Road, Suite 300 , Lutherville 21093
  Phones:  410-667-5610 (office); 443-838-0438 (cell)
  Web site:

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