November 28, 2009

Furnishing (or staging) your home for free

The Consuming Interests blog, offering up what its authors think are the best deals around town, included a few items on its list that homeowners might find useful. Because they're free -- yeah, free.

For instance: You can check out prints and maps from the Fine Art Department of the Central branch of the Enoch Pratt Library -- "some of them framed!" points out Consuming Interests -- for as long as half a year. If you've trying to spruce up your digs or stage your home to sell it, the price is right. (Just make sure you get the art back before the past-due fines start being levied.)

Bemoaning an empty bookcase? You can get "secondhand tomes gratis at The Book Thing in Waverly," Consuming Interests notes.

And the Baltimore Free Store "sets up occasional free markets around the city where people can pick up items for no money at all," so you might find useful things for your house or apartment. (Probably not hefty furniture, though. The Free Store website says it's not accepting donations of large furniture at the moment.) 

If you've got the other sort of house problem -- too much stuff -- then you can donate rather than take.

Have you any other free or close-to-free suggestions for homeowners and apartment dwellers? Do share.


Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: 10Spot

November 13, 2009

Hidden-gem neighborhoods unveiled



Nice places are tucked all over the Baltimore region, from urban rowhouse neighborhoods to rural outposts. As part of the Sun's 10Spot blog campaign, I set out to find 10 that everybody and their brother doesn’t already know about -- ones with prices in reach of first-time home buyers.


With your help, I've picked 10 of these hidden-gem neighborhoods. They aren't the only gems out there, and I'm not claiming they're the absolute best. (You'll never get a completely objective list out of something so subjective.) But they're all fairly affordable, with average sale prices under $250,000 in the first half of this year. And they're a cross-section of the great variety you can find in our metro area.

Want an urban setting? On the list. In the city but with a suburban feel? Check. The Chesapeake Bay in walking distance? Yup. Cows as neighbors? Got just the place for you. The much-vaunted Howard County schools? Got that, too.

As much as possible, I tried to pull from the list of neighborhoods people cared about enough to nominate. And every jurisdiction is represented. That's on purpose, because you all have reasons for wanting to be in one or another.

Here are the neighborhoods, in alphabetical order. Drumroll, please:

Continue reading "Hidden-gem neighborhoods unveiled" »

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: 10Spot, Hidden-gem neighborhoods

October 23, 2009

Hidden-gem neighborhoods: It's a date

Months ago, I asked you to nominate Baltimore-area neighborhoods that are hidden gems -- nice, affordable places that aren't already on everybody's radar. You inundated me with suggestions.

You'll finally get to see the results Nov. 13, part of a Sun blogger campaign called 10Spot. First up -- today, in fact -- is Peter Hermann with the most notorious local crimes.

I thought a list of 10 neighborhoods would be a nice little side project. Little did I know how much time it would take to research, select, visit and compile. Boy, am I glad I'm almost done, as is everyone sitting near enough to me to hear my muttered complaints.

But it's been a great way to see parts of the region I've never or seldom spent time in. And I hope the exercise will introduce you to interesting neighborhoods you might know nothing about.

You'll get a chance to guess the 10 -- with clues and prizes! -- in two weeks.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 8:42 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: 10Spot, Hidden-gem neighborhoods
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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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