August 14, 2014 Mid-Century Modern
The Baltimore Home of Leon Bridges, FAIA – $599K
As a young kid growing up in Los Angeles, Leon Bridges enjoyed drawing houses. His mother took note of his interest and arranged to have her son meet Paul R. Williams, the prominent African American architect who designed thousands of homes, including for Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball, and helped design the famous Theme Building at LAX.
The meeting and the relationship with Williams helped spur Bridges to become a prominent architect in his own right after being discouraged early on because of his color. Bridges, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, was the first registered African American architect in Maryland. He settled in Baltimore when he was looking to establish an East Coast presence for his firm, which was then based in Seattle.
The home Bridges designed and built in 1974 for his wife, Eloise, and their four children is on the market for the first time and listed for $599K. The 4 bedroom/4 bath house in Mt. Washington ( Baltimore) is a six-level open contemporary with soaring living room, vintage kitchen (Bridges loves green) and an exterior of wood shingles. Raised in California and having spent the early part of his career in Seattle, Bridges said he would not use the brick common on the East Coast). The pool and finished backyard space (the lot is almost a half acre) were added a number of years later.
I had the opportunity to spend time with Bridges, his wife Elosie and their listing agent last Laurie Karll last week. Bridges gave me a tour of the house, discussed his early life in LA, meeting is mentor Williams and his career. Bridges has won more than 20 national, regional and local awards for design excellence, including for the restoration of Baltimore’s Penn Station and Baltimore City College High School. He also helped raise millions of dollars in scholarship money for minority architects during his career.
At 82 (he looks no more than 70), Bridges is still working and teaching architecture at Morgan State University. He said his career in architecture, which has exposed him to so many other areas, including art and music, has been a “tremendous ride.”
You can see all the images of the Bridges House here.