Are you in the market for commercial space or thinking about opening a gallery? Designed as a live/work with gallery/retail space on the first floor, this easily convertible, recently refreshed Ruskin Place Row house is just the thing. After making an indelible mark in Seaside with his boundaries-testing “Dog Trot House”, New York architect Walter Chatham went on to design a trio of projects — the first of Ruskin Place’s 20 row houses and the sum of his work in Seaside, Florida. They were featured on the cover of Architecture Magazine the year they were built, and one of the just happens to be 207 Ruskin Place, aka Desire! Rising to the challenge of reconciling Modern architecture with traditional planning by reinvigorating the familiar 19th-century row house profile, Chatham gave Desire a traditional, symmetrical, almost tropical appearance with top-hinged wooden shutters and green matching trim against neutral wood siding.
In tandem, he rendered a subtly industrial interior, with galvanized-pipe towel bars & hooks and a perforated floating stair that makes its way to an open-air terrace with 180-degree views of the Gulf and town. Chatham devotees will see the angular, corrugated metal stair tower there as a nod to his Modernist leanings.
On the east and west sides, he popped up the roof line to allow for a pair of tall, transomed windows to capture as much natural light as possible into the piano nobile on the third floor. The inverted arrangement is intentional, providing a natural progression between the main living area and rooftop terrace, while freeing up the first floor to remain open to the possibility of its intended use as the commercial portion of a live/work space, though it currently serves as residential. A newly serviced elevator, tucked out of sight, makes travel between them all effortlessly efficient.
A Chatham-designed console, custom-made for the space, lends a perfectly understated effect to the main living area. With its alternating, elongated checkerboard-style blocks of green and white on top, the piece is telltale Chatham.
The symmetry of the western elevation continues with a pair of park-facing doors on each of the two remaining floors, one of which opens onto a second story balcony overlooking the park and the other onto the park itself, below.
Bedrooms share central baths on each of the two lower levels, finished with lustrously durable porcelain tile to bring in even more light still.
Perfectly suited to Ruskin Place’s eclectic urban vibe, Chatham’s effect – in this versatile space with its special acclaim and endless possibilities – is undeniable. It can just as easily be a 2-, 3-, or 4-bedroom vacation rental lock-off or converted into any number of live/work combinations with retail/gallery space on the ground floor. The newly styled interiors are as fresh and inviting as the setting – in the middle of Ruskin Park with expansive views of the gulf and town from a sexy rooftop terrace.
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