2596 Guilford Road (1992)


One of the earliest houses on the street, this 1908 brick center hall "American four-square" has definite Prairie Style features. Although the shutters and sidelights adjacent to the door are more traditional, the large hipped root, large panes of glass, and lack of ornament at the cornice and portal suggest a more modern style. Originally a porch extended across the entire front of the house and no doubt added to the horizontal lines which were so strongly emphasized in the Prairie School of Architecture.


The house has undergone many changes over the years. Early in its history a library wing and living room bay were added. A quarter-century ago, the stone terrace was added and the center window of the bay replaced by a trench door.


In the last six years the present owner has followed a continuous schedule of remodeling and redecorating. Maple woodwork that had been painted brown has been stripped and stained and the California furniture and Southwest Indian art and artifacts give the entire house a light and airy look. The "rag technique" used on the walls is almost a lost art; a glaze is applied and then wiped with a rag to create subtle patterns.


In the dining room, the lintels over the doors have been added, and the crown molding painted. The sconces and chandelier are original. The living room fireplace is also original; its stone facing is in fact plaster glazed to look like stone.


At the head of the stairs, a former bath has been turned into a good-sized study. In the master bedroom the fireplace is new, replacing one that had been plastered over. The leaded windows are original, with some re-leading. A stairway leads down to a false door.


The kitchen was gutted to the exterior brick, then insulated; the ceiling was lowered, and a doorway removed.


A particularly intriguing feature of this house is the wine cellar. Here the cement floor is overlaid with a pattern of weathered bricks from an old patio. The maple backsplash is hand-carved by a local artist. Any variation from the constant 550 temperature will activate an alarm system.