Square Deal | General Home & Design | Urbanite Baltimore Magazine
Quoted from Urbanite Baltimore Magazine:
Bringing a big Union Square home back to life took some resourceful recycling
by Marianne Amoss
Chris Taylor stomps his foot on the kitchen floor of the 19th-century rowhouse his company renovated on West Lombard Street in the historic southwest Baltimore neighborhood of Union Square. The sound is heavy and clear: no creaks, squeaks, or give. "This is basically a brand-new modern house," he says—except where it's not. These wide planks of hard pine beneath his feet were the house's original roof joists. Taylor's crews dug them out from under layers of tar, hand-cut them to size, and then nailed them down with hand-cut nails. The roof was then reconstructed with engineered wood.
photo by Anne Gummerson
The kitchen floor nicely sums up the approach of Taylor's real estate development company, Urban Space Developers, which he co-owns with builder Jay Holsey. "The essence of the house remains, and we build as green as we possibly can," Taylor says. A vocal community activist, former city middle school teacher, and leader of Union Square's active neighborhood association for the last five years, he's a man of no small ambitions (he has a scheme for getting whole neighborhoods off the grid, hooking them up to geothermal energy systems). He and Holsey have transformed about fifteen rundown properties in such neighborhoods as Pigtown, Charles Village, and Federal Hill into eco-friendly, high-end homes.