Nestled between Frederick Law Olmstead's Patterson Park and Baltimore’s historic waterfront, Taphouse emerges as a typical, unassuming, sixteen foot wide corner rowhouse common to the urban fabric. Not unlike many corner rowhouses in Baltimore, this unassuming building has anchored the intersection for over a century, serving generations as a small neighborhood market. Yet, despite the typological similarities, Taphouse shares with the countless other mixed-use corners of Baltimore the project is far from ordinary.

The first evidence of the projects uniqueness is the street intersection itself, where the rowhouse resides not on a corner of two intersecting streets, but five. Created from the collision of the City’s cardinal grid and diagonal waterfront grid, the atypical intersection effectively exposes the entire 110’ long south facade to a public open space. From this urban improvisation, the rowhouse emerges with a prowess akin to an Italian palazzo or French hôtel anchoring a city square. Rising above the street, the composition is anchored by traditional masonry mass and rhythmic punched fenestration that blends with the surrounding context. Centrally, the masonry volume recedes to permit the addition of a dark platonic wooden cube which ends the house proper and appears to hover over an intimate exterior courtyard. The cube, clad with a heat-treated ash rainscreen, latches onto the masonry volume simultaneously framing one edge of an upper floor terrace and acting as the primary facade for the courtyard. The box is carved to reveal balconies strategically placed to take advantage of dynamic views towards the waterfront.

Ironically, the most unique aspect of the house may not be the house itself. It is, in fact, a large 6-car garage just across the courtyard, which was the clients initial impetus for purchasing the property. It was intended to house their collection of vintage British cars, but organically evolved into a vibrant social not only for their home, but for the entire neighborhood. This unique public use of a typically private space occurred long before the renovation began. The design of the house, and its inherent civic presence, amplifies this unique relationship between the client and their neighbors. Large sliding doors open the garage into the courtyard, a reciprocal response to the garage creating an exterior space for entertaining. Flowing from the garage, across the courtyard and into the house, visitors encounter an expansive entertainment level on the ground floor which includes a storefront facing the western corner of the property. A grand stair, with precast concrete treads cascading down from the second floor, recalls again the tradition of the French hôtel elevating the main living spaces up to the second floor creating a bel étage (or piano nobile). The kitchen, with its rich wood cabinets recalling the exterior wood cladding, is highlighted by a custom metal ceiling which defines the space within the linear floor plate. Discreetly behind the kitchen, a second cascading precast concrete stair slips up to the third floor and the aforementioned roof terrace flanked by two bedroom suites.

Throughout the house, sustainability is essential. The house is hydronically heated by a combination of radiant flooring and wall mounted radiant panels. A compact energy recovery ventilator (ERV) system provides fresh air and reduces energy use across all seasons. The entire exterior envelope is insulated using closed-cell spray foam insulation and the heat-treated ash rainscreen avoids chemical treatment of the wood and employs a water-based sealant. Significant roof areas are EPDM cool roofs (light reflecting) which reduce the heat island effect and are extremely durable.

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Modern home with Front Yard, Side Yard, Detached Garage Room Type, Wood, Exterior, Swing Door Type, Wood Fences, Wall, Horizontal Fences, Wall, Casement Window Type, Staircase, Glass Railing, and Metal Railing. Tap House, Canton, Baltimore MD Photo  of TaphouseView Photos

Tap House, Canton, Baltimore MD

Modern home with Front Yard, Wood Fences, Wall, Trees, Side Yard, Wood, Exterior, Swing Door Type, Detached Garage Room Type, Horizontal Fences, Wall, Casement Window Type, Staircase, Metal Railing, and Glass Railing. Tap House South Facade Photo 2 of TaphouseView Photos

Tap House South Facade

Modern home with Front Yard, Side Yard, Trees, Wood Fences, Wall, Horizontal Fences, Wall, Exterior, Wood, Swing Door Type, Detached Garage Room Type, Casement Window Type, Staircase, Metal Railing, and Glass Railing. Tap House, Canton, Baltimore MD Photo 3 of TaphouseView Photos

Tap House, Canton, Baltimore MD

Modern home with Side Yard, Front Yard, Trees, Wood Fences, Wall, Exterior, Swing Door Type, Detached Garage Room Type, Vertical Fences, Wall, Casement Window Type, Staircase, Glass Railing, and Metal Railing. Tap House, Canton, Baltimore MD Photo 4 of TaphouseView Photos

Tap House, Canton, Baltimore MD

Modern home with Front Yard, Side Yard, Horizontal Fences, Wall, Wood Fences, Wall, Swing Door Type, Exterior, Casement Window Type, Glass Railing, Metal Railing, and Hallway. Heat-treated ash rain screen cladding Photo 5 of TaphouseView Photos

Heat-treated ash rain screen cladding

Modern home with Wood Patio, Porch, Deck, Decking Patio, Porch, Deck, Metal Patio, Porch, Deck, Small Patio, Porch, Deck, Exterior, Sliding Door Type, Casement Window Type, Staircase, Glass Railing, and Metal Railing. View of veranda and bridge Photo 7 of TaphouseView Photos

View of veranda and bridge

Modern home with Sliding Door Type, Swing Door Type, Exterior, Casement Window Type, Staircase, and Glass Railing. Cantilevered glass balconies overlook the courtyard below while providing waterfront view. Photo 8 of TaphouseView Photos

Cantilevered glass balconies overlook the courtyard below while providing waterfront view.

Modern home with Wood Cabinet, Glass Tile Backsplashe, Medium Hardwood Floor, Ceramic Tile Backsplashe, Recessed Lighting, Wall Oven, Refrigerator, Ceiling Lighting, Range, Drop In Sink, Range Hood, Chair, Sofa, Sliding Door Type, Exterior, Casement Window Type, Staircase, and Concrete Tread. Custom metal ceiling defines kitchen Photo 12 of TaphouseView Photos

Custom metal ceiling defines kitchen

Modern home with Wood Cabinet, Medium Hardwood Floor, Ceramic Tile Backsplashe, Glass Tile Backsplashe, Ceiling Lighting, Recessed Lighting, Track Lighting, Range Hood, Wall Oven, Chair, Doors, Closet Storage Type, Cabinet Storage Type, Interior, Wood, and Swing Door Type. Access to pantry Photo 14 of TaphouseView Photos

Access to pantry

Credits

Posted By
Architect
Interior Design
  • Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen + Bath
Builder
  • MR Construction
Photographer
  • Paul Burk

Overview

Bedrooms
  • 2
  • Full Baths
  • 3
  • Partial Baths
  • 2
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Style
  • Modern
  • Year
  • 2017
  • Square Feet
  • 4000