|The A. Schumacher House, Baltimore, MD. 1855|
The house's first floor is entirely rusticated, resembling a traditional treatment of the first floors of Italian Renaissance palazzos, and is pierced by arches. It looks to me like the house is stuccoed and scored to resemble stone. The second floor is where things get strange. There is a large balcony separating the first and second floors resting on large brackets with a balustrade of ironwork set in a stone frame, a costly and uncommon treatment. Instead of having the usual three windows, there is only a central bay window intersecting the balcony, with arched windows, a paneled frieze, and a crowning balustrade. This is where the impressive library is. Flanking the arch are stone panels set into the facade with curved, chamfered corners. An almost awkwardly large belt course separates the second and third floors; on the third, there is a return to the three bay scheme. The surrounds are rich, featuring segmental arches, thick eared moldings with panels in the spandrels, and keystones. Above the windows, is again, an awkwardly large space before the cornice, which is of the expected Anglo-Italianate type, horizontal, dentiled, thickly bracketed. Small circular windows pierce the frieze of the cornice, which is in some ways a throwback to Greek Revival designs in which circular windows with wreaths are often found in the frieze. The whole features tall blank pilasters that frame the composition.
It is an odd house. The architects, although some of their spacing is a bit strange looking, accomplished a beautiful and eye-catching design. From the description, I would really like to see some plans and interiors; it sounds as if there are a lot of complex shapes at play inside.
And I thought I would include a picture of the adjoining church (photo by Wally Gobetz).