plan in 1970, when he acquired the then-derelict property. One of the city’s grand merchant’s houses, the 1834 structure had been ill-served by the passage of time. At some point it had been divided into apartments, and in the 1920s a speakeasy took over the parlor floor. (Repairs to the basement boiler uncovered evidence of a secret corridor through which tipsy flappers fled during police raids.) A fire escape had been added to the redbrick façade, and the home’s stone mantels had vanished. Enough charm remained, though, to entice McCollum to purchase the building, for about $17,000, settle into one of the cramped flats, and begin a restoration that expanded into the other spaces as tenants gradually departed. McCollum retrieved period architectural details from demolition sites in New York and transplanted an 1830s staircase from a condemned house in Connecticut. Off came the fire escape, and beige and white paints were brushed onto the plaster walls—a neutral background for a few sinewy American Colonial antiques. Then, in 1978, along came Anson. The couple’s meeting was as much a thunderbolt as the ski-slope collision that brought together Anson’s parents. As he recounts, 'A friend invited me to a dinner party here, and when Gordon opened the door, I was done for.' The alliance changed not only their lives but also their surroundings, as the pared-down decor swiftly evolved into an Anglophilic layer cake of styles and eras. As Anson explains, 'Gordon allowed himself to become much more playful after we met.'" [Source] More photos of the interior after the jump.
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