A block from the Cross House, architect Charles W. Squires built two nearly identical houses; The Twins, as I call them.
Number 613 is to the south, and 617 is to the north.
613 was was built by Squires as his home. It was later converted into an up/down duplex with a third unit in the rear. This conversion, is seems, was done by Squires. Squires lived in the lower unit until his passing in 1934.
617 was built as a single family, as it remains today.
The entry of 613 is extraordinary. It is very small, compressed, but rich with spatial cleverness and gorgeous details everywhere. Indeed, per square foot, the space is perhaps the most complex of any I have ever been in. It is abundantly clear that THIS was the home of an architect, who lavished all his creative abilities to create an unforgettable space.
I felt both thrilled and honored.
Yet…this extraordinary space is not original. When 613 was duplexed the original stair was reconfigured. I will do a later post on the original configuration.
The space is also, distressingly, battered. Incredibly so. Decades of rental use has meant that people have casually leaned their bikes against fine interior trim, and moved countless sofas and chairs and stoves through the compressed space and around tight angles resulting in gouges, dents, chipped-off details, and missing bits. I felt an overwhelming sadness at this plight but nonetheless amazed/delighted that most everything remained, and could be restored. My fear is that a later owner will simply gut the space, and replace everything with Home Depot banality. I shudder at the thought.
What, I could not help wonder, did the rest of 613 look like inside? Sadly, because the three units are rented my curiosity will have to wait.
I have added 613 Exchange to my Lust List. I would devote myself to its resurrection.