Saturday, February 4, 2012

Classical Coverup on North Highland

I'm participating in Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch. Thanks to Susan!

It's being renovated for new tenants. In the process they are covering the classical decorative details c. 1920.

I'll be happy when it's occupied again. It was a Wolf Camera most recently but it's been vacant for a while, a hole in a favorite walking street.

But I'm very surprised that they are covering up the decorative details.

I thought designers treasured these things and showed them off.

They don't detail like this anymore except in mansions.

There are doing a nice job of protecting it as far as I can see.

The details didn't shout. You might have "seen" this as you walked by, but probably not.

Did they look interesting enough to study, sketch, or take a picture?

I remember something being there, but not exactly what.

It looks poignant now, framed in 2x4's.

So I thought I'd show you while I could.

I wish I'd been there the day before.

Few will remember it...even tomorrow.

It will still be there though.

As long as it stays dry and nobody knocks a hole in it - not knowing it's there...

P1040578-2012-02-01--780-N-Highland-storefront-renovation-pilaster-capital-etablature-detail-full should be a great rediscovery one day. "

They'll say, "Can you believe somebody covered this up?"

They'll appreciate how the carpenters tried to protect it.

So I don't think it's tragic. They left everything right where it was.

But I'm surprised.

Every owner and designer would make their own choices against time and budget. We might yet love the finished project or at least respect it.

But my first instinct would have been to let the old parts show.

Here are Key Lime Pie and Surin of Thailand just down the street. They left things alone for now.

I guess it depends on the look you are going for.

What do you think?

Thanks to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.


  1. Strange. They must be going for a more "contemporary" look. Like you say, at least someone can rediscover the classic beauty one day.

  2. It makes me crazy when these great details are covered up. People don't really appreciate them, or realize how expensive it would be to do something like that today... At least they are being careful with the original facade. Hopefully it will be rediscovered some day...

  3. paying thousands to cover up a great facade in OSB and 2x4s.

    More money than sense.

  4. I don't get this. You would think in 2012 we'd be more apt to appreciate this detailing instead of covering it up - wasn't this all the rage in the 1960s? I doubt the new facade will be any better than the old, but we'll see...

  5. Nice designs. Adventure Resorts -

  6. It makes me sad. I wish they hadn't done it, but your thoughts about it give me some hope. I like the idea of someone discovering it years from now.

  7. Oh that is sad. Where is the historic district board and why aren't they throwing a fuss?

  8. TK,

    No worries. Building Science informs us that the inert materials of the original facade will endure far longer than this unsheltered assembly of wood chips and foam board. The new work should last about the same length as the tax depreciation: 17 years. Looking forward to your 2029 blog.....

    1. Thing is, with that modern CRAP there, a future owner unaware of what's under it, may decide the building is a piece of junk not work saving, and the LAND is worth more, decide to demolish it to build a bigger building.

  9. Keep telling yourself ... at least the details aren't in the dumpster. It's okay to cover them up, as long as they're saved for another owner in the future. It's still weird that they did this, tho.

  10. I called the property managers, well I left them a message. Maybe it was about to fall on someone's head.

  11. Terry! I totally agree with you, what a shame to cover up such great detail...and what a fun surprise maybe for someone down the road. BTW - Did the construction guy give you funny looks for taking all the pictures? :)
    I'm happy to have found you and now be following along!

  12. I hate that they are doing that! That is part of the charm of the building. Such a shame.

  13. That is a remuddling if I've ever seen one!
    Old House Journal defines remuddling as “misguided remodeling - that is, an alteration that is insensitive to the architecture or character of the building.”

  14. It breaks my heart when I see things like this BUT at least they didn't remove it, which makes it a tad better. Why can't they just leave things alone?

  15. I'm not an architect or anything, looks like they did a great job "preserving" the building if you think about it..the wood will wear before the original structure…let's be real…nothing was "changed", it was covered…I don't think anybody appreciated this spot until someone decided to move in…I don't agree…in my opinion…

  16. Not a tragedy to me, but certainly a surprise. Now a few more folks know what they'll be missing. And maybe someone will find this blog among the ancient scrolls and go searching for the treasure.

  17. Sickening, and the funny thing is, I just bought a commercial store building in my town that dates to around 1915 and it's facade was covered with a barnboard like siding, the entrance was changed to a single, wide aluminum grocery story type door, and NOW that I peeled off the barnboard covering up one pillar at sidewalk level, I discovered high quality hard brick, and that the brickwork has a border design made with specially shaped bricks, and a vertical row of a different color brick. Can't wait to peel off the rest of that barnboard CRAP and reveal what's under it!
    I did find there is a row of 6 windows they covered over inside and out, I'm hoping theres some more interesting details, but the door is going to be replaced with double wood doors as it originally had.


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