3070 Monmouth (1985)

The Macrum House is a four-square, Colonial Revival structure of dark tapestry brick with ruddy shutters and trim. Built in 1916, it is a fine example of what a commentator from the period, Aymar Embury (1917), called a "livable house." While its central element is virtually symmetrical, the symmetry is offset by an easterly-facing sunroom, transformed by the owners into a greenhouse with the installation of water and a planting station and by a westerly, two-story kitchen and sleeping extension, now a young girl's special study/hide-a-way.


The house was built on one of the smaller lots in an area designed for large homes and garden vistas according to the "garden city" planning concept advocated by Ebenezer Howard and promulgated in England and America during the first decades of the 20th century in such developments as Baltimore's Roland Park and Cincinnati's Mariemont. This area, now known as the Fairfax Triangle, was planned and developed on land purchased from the North Union Shaker Colony by the Shaker Land (later, Shaker Improvement) Company, a group of Buffalo and Cleveland investors headed by H.W. Gratwick and including John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and the Van Sweringen brothers. Their first planned development on Cleveland's east side and their first success, this venture encouraged the Van Sweringens to undertake their much larger Shaker Village project using some of the principles that had been experimental in this, its early "first phase."


The house itself was probably a builder's house, that is, a moderately priced home of stock design built to attract a large, general market. There is evidence, however, that the first owners modified the structure to please themselves. The dual system of staircases and separate work and living spaces from the basement to the second floor suggest that the family had a live-in servant at a time when homes were increasingly being maintained by their owners. It was this trend, among others, that commentators had in mind when advocating "livablilty;" to be livable, a house had to be efficient.


The present owners have added their own touches to make the house livable by today's standards. A lovely patio, a landscaped yard, and a striking, well-appointed kitchen have been planned and executed with their own, very capable hands.