FIRST THINGS FIRST: DD: We’ve lived here for just about 40 years. A girl Vince knew through MICA had bought a 200-year-old wooden house—it was adorable. She eventually sold us the building for $2,500 and that was our first piece of this property and we kept adding on from there. The reason we kept buying these properties was that they were so cheap, it was worth it just to not have neighbors!
SAFE SPACE: DD: We bought the final building during the time that Vince was working on the show Homicide. It wasn’t like we walked in with a plan like all of these developers and rehabbers now. We were just saving buildings, quite frankly.
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TEAMWORK: VP: We worked with a lot of film carpenters and painters that we knew because, when a feature would end, there would often be a hiatus and we would hire them to do the work. That is why we say this is the house that Homicide built, both financially and physically.
TABLE TALK: VP: I had a company called Props and Sets, which did sets for commercials and films, and we had a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, which was in Fells Point proper. The table came from the pilot of the TV show Oz. It was made as a table for the prison library and was painted gray and it ended up in the warehouse. It seemed to be the right size, so we stripped it down to wood again.
FAIR TRADE: VP: The movie 12 Monkeys was filmed in Philadelphia and Baltimore. While they were here, they had rented some props from us. However, at the end of filming they didn’t have the money to pay me and instead gave me some of their leftover props, which are the two oversized prints of Thomas Eakins paintings.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS: VP: We love the darkness of the paintings. They almost work as a mirror so, instead of having a big flat beige wall, we had not only a painting, but also a reflection of the garden.
COMING OF AGE: DD: We basically got all of this together so we could watch it deteriorate because, to us, that’s the best part. Once it gets the patina, we can stand it. We never liked anything looking new. It just wasn’t us.
SUNDAY SALONS: DD: We entertained a lot. Every Sunday, we would have orphans from the film industry. We still have “Wisteria Sunday” when the wisteria is in bloom. It only blooms for one week so we try to predict the best Sunday and call everyone to come over.
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: VP: Every Mother’s Day we do a tour for the Fells Point Preservation Society. We’ve done that for 20 years. DD: We also have benefits, events, photoshoots, and some bridal first looks here. We want to keep it special. And no, you can’t bring your own decorations.