In what was originally built as a temporary church in the 1800s, graphic designer Andre Cawley and civil servant Chris Uhl share a one-bedroom home in the historic Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, MD. The building’s long history includes stints as a Johns Hopkins doctor’s office with 1920s Art Deco flair, and was later transformed into public housing from the 50s to the 90s, before finally being converted into condos in 2005. Today, this unit is one of the few in the building that retains most of its original details such as picture moldings and antique floors.
When Andre and Chris decided to buy a home together over two years ago, they initially looked at places in the surrounding suburbs located nearby their jobs in Annapolis at the time. They put in several offers on other houses, but one after another, each fell through. Andre liked the idea of going back to Baltimore City, as he had lived there previously and enjoyed the area’s rich history and vibrant nightlife spots. After checking out the building and the condo, the couple realized that despite this home not being the house they had in mind when they first started the process, it was the perfect size, had an open floorplan, a historic character they loved, and was already updated with modern amenities. By the time they closed on the condo, they were so excited that they started moving their things in the same day. Since then, they’ve had all the walls and trim painted in Sherwin Williams “Incredible White,” and the architectural trimwork coated in “Snowbound” to brighten up the rooms and start fresh. They also swapped out existing light fixtures for modern favorites, like the Patrick Townsend chandelier over the dining table and Muuto hanging pendants above the kitchen island.
Before living here, the pair decorated strictly in that ubiquitous mid-century style, but after moving into the condo and continuing to furnish more slowly, their taste has expanded to include a mix of heirloom pieces from their families, like portraits of the Alaskan landscape taken by Chris’ grandfather 30 years ago. Because the condo is on the first floor, one of the more challenging things to get right has been strategically filtering in natural light. Between shadows cast by surrounding buildings and the need to protect from prying eyes on the street, the unit doesn’t receive an ideal amount of the sun’s rays. Andre and Chris have remedied that problem by frosting the glass on windows facing the alley, which may not be true to period norms, but it’s just another adaptation over a long lifetime of continual developments. —Annie