June 28, 2014 · 1:00 PM
This house was designed by Purcell and Elmslie in 1915 for Charles and Adeline Backus. Charles Backus worked for the Metropolitan Music Company and tuned the piano at Purcell's own home on Lake Place. He asked Purcell if he could design a house for him and his wife that resembled Purcell's own home but that he could afford. In spite of its low budget of just over $3,000.00, the resulting house has received considerable acclaim and is considered the best example of Purcell and Elmslie's small open plan designs.
The Backus house remains in near original condition and includes all the characteristic features of the Prairie Style including bands of windows, horizontal trim, and a wide overhanging eave. It also retains its original tinted stucco exterior, which is the only known example of a house by Purcell and Elmslie whose original stucco has not been painted over or restored. The open plan of the interior has a spacious feel in spite of its relatively small footprint. The interior features many built-ins, an unique master suite, and a 1915-style air conditioning system.
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