Remarkable mostly for its unremarkableness, this little house in the back streets of the South Side is a good demonstration of how to keep an old house (it might be 150 years old or more) tastefully up to date.
From the blocked-up Gothic windows and general shape, we can infer that this was a small church. But at some point not very recently it was converted to four tiny alley houses, made only slightly less tiny by the addition of what are probably kitchens on the back.
If you happen to be building a house, ask yourself this question: Which small details of this building will passers-by stop and take pictures of a century and a half from now?
In a Victorian rowhouse, the parlor window—the ground-floor window facing the street—was an opportunity for the homeowners to display their taste and, even more important, their ability to pay skilled craftsmen to decorate their houses with woodwork and stained or leaded glass. Above, even the masonry is incised with decorative patterns.
A front door with interesting woodwork and curious layers of history: note, for example, the three rows of asphalt shingles above it, which were doubtless somebody’s solution to a water-related problem.