Just minutes from our Nation’s Capital in Bethesda, Maryland, sits a gorgeous half-acre waterfront retreat that evokes a fairy tale castle. The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage home is dubbed Baltzley Castle. The fully renovated late 19th-century stone mansion listed on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties is listed for $4,449,000.
The castle-like stone manse was built by twin brothers Edward and Edwin Baltzley, who used the funds from Edwin’s invention of a splatterless eggbeater to purchase acres of land along MacArthur Boulevard with the vision of developing a “Rhineland on the Potomac.” First Edward then Edwin lived in the estate, designed as a showplace for their proposed development, before financial problems forced one then the other to leave.
After that, the home served as an illegal speakeasy during Prohibition. Though minor remodeling had been done over the years, a true restoration wasn’t undertaken until the present owners purchased the property in 2010 and launched an extensive restoration.
The project took 15 months. From a new red slate-tile roof to a glass-enclosed circular porch with marble flooring, the addition of a new table space gourmet kitchen wing and garage parking for four cars, every element of the mansion has been updated, replaced or refinished. The restoration of the castle’s exterior granite blocks alone took eight stonemasons working full-time for eight months to complete.
The result of the meticulous and painstaking work is a property once again worthy of the name “castle.” Doors, stairs, moldings and trimwork throughout are crafted of solid chestnut, the rich grain of which is on display after being stripped of years of paint. French doors and floor-to-ceiling “pocket windows,” which also function as doors, in all rooms provide access to the large, semicircular covered porch that runs along the entire river-side of the home and showcases the spectacular views.
Though renovated to retain its unique historic character and details, Baltzley Castle has been updated to include desirable modern amenities. The new gourmet kitchen, which took the place of a covered porch that was not original to the house, includes a Thermador professional-grade gas range and oven, two refrigerators and dishwashers, granite countertops and rich wood cabinetry. All of the bathrooms have been redesigned with top-of-the-line fixtures.
Energy-efficient features and smart-home technology were also incorporated in the remodel. Three geothermal wells power the heating and cooling system, and high-performance spray-foam insulation was added to upper walls and ceilings (the castle’s 4-foot-thick granite base walls also offer excellent insulation). There are ENERGY STAR appliances and equipment, and some new high-efficiency windows. In addition, the HVAC, lighting, video and music systems can all be controlled via smartphone or tablet.
What do you think? Is this really fit for a princess or prince – or maybe just a Real Housewife of Potomac?