The final post on the wonderful 2012 City People Downtown Home Tour includes two very cool units. The first is located in Gallery Lofts and, while the entire unit is nice, it’s the deck that wins the accolades. 705 Place in the Cunningham wins this years award for the very coolest space on the tour. Interestingly, last year’s coolest place (Westmoreland in the Old City) is for sale. If you are interested in downtown living, you should check it out.
The Gallery Lofts sit on Gay Street above Mast General Store and, as is the case with most of the buildings on this street, some overlook the street and some face east off the back side of the building. Built in 1897, and converted to lofts by Blasius, Craig and Eid, one might express a preference for either the Gay Street or the eastern side. The unit displayed on the tour faces the back side and its best feature, the amazing balcony, would not be possible on the front side of the building.
It’s always amazing how different the spaces are in buildings that seem to have similar external shapes which would seem likely to define the interior in a somewhat parallel manner. This turns out to rarely be the case, and these units are very different than the Phoenix and the Burwell buildings, for example. This particular unit is narrow at the front, with a pretty stairwell defining the first impression.
The main portion of living space includes an open kitchen and den with gorgeous exposed brick walls and a window facing east along the far end of the unit, providing an abundance of direct light in the morning and views of the sunrise. Just outside this main floor is a small metal balcony similar to those on other units on that side of the building. Offering plenty of room for a few people, I thought this was pretty nice if a bit unnerving to anyone who has a slight fear of heights. Many balconies in the city offer room for two, so this one surpassed most. But a surprise awaited.
A trip up the stairs revealed more rooms: a study, another bedroom and a work-out room. The arrangement of the various rooms at different levels offers a coziness sometimes found in the best loft condominiums. The work-out room features a glass wall facing east, smaller, but similar to the one below it. Just outside that glass sat the surprise: An absolutely wonderful balcony.
This balcony featured plenty of room for a small dinner part. One table with chairs sat ready, the space provided ample room for more seating or additional tables if needed. A gazebo-type wooden structure covered a large portion of the deck offering some shade and a whimsical metal decoration set the tone for good times. I would call it the second best balcony or roof-top terrace I’ve enjoyed in the city (here’s the first). It definitely represented the “cherry on top” for a great condo.
The final home I’ll profile wins the award for coolest on the tour this year. Called 715 Place and located in the Cunningham Building, it’s not my first choice from this tour for where I would live (see that here), but it’s interesting, tucked away and a wonderfully utilized space. I’d walked by it repeatedly and never noticed it.
At one time the building housed physician’s offices on the lower level and residences above. I’m told the space opened for tour previously boasted a restaurant, which would be cool, but might suffer a bit from being under the radar in terms of visibility. I’d actually gone on a bit about this building because it features the prettiest ornamental ironwork in the city. The entrance to 715 Place is around the corner from the main entrance to the building which is where you’ll find the ironwork.
Charm could practically be the middle name of this home if homes had such a thing. The entrance maybe approached from an alleyway off Market Street or a small courtyard off Church. The inviting red doorway surrounded with dentil molding promises something special that the unit delivers. I’m not sure there could be a residence downtown with more exposed brick and wooden beams than you’ll find at this address.
The floor space runs along the lowest level of the northern side of the building, meaning light comes in only from one side and is limited. This gives the space a cavern-like feel once you leave the main room. I’d say most people would find it very cool or somewhat claustrophobic. I thought it felt cozy, but I’m not sure Urban Woman was buying my perception.
Arches and small niches dot the length of the space and one end features a locking closet complete with bars and a lock that appears to be around 200 years old. It might be a great place to secure your most valuable bottles of wine – or an unruly teenager until they age a few years! I’m just kidding, but it’s just one example of the interesting spots in the home.
The kitchen is a very small space along the primary corridor, but all the pieces are present to make it functional. The front room, just inside the entrance includes the entertainment space and is brighter than some other portions of the unit. Absolutely the coolest space on the tour. Not for everybody, but very very cool. Of course, you also get a great courtyard, excellent privacy and just around the corner, the most beautiful ironwork in the city.