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Lev Kekushev’s tenement house

Ostozhenka Street, 19
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The elegant and concise lines of the decorum and the mysterious story of the monogram.
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Ostozhenka, 21 is generally known as the home of the architect Lev Kekushev. However, in 1901, the house next door (number 19) also belonged to the architect. The buildings were considered to be a single property – namely a tenement house belonging to the architect. It was constructed two years after the mansion of the architect and was registered to his wife - Anna Ioanovna - name.

L.Kekushev and A.I.Bolotova, a daughter of a provincial nobleman from Kremenchug, got married in 1897, when the architect was already a recognized and wealthy artisan. The family moved to Ostozhenka where Kekushev built a mansion and two tenement houses: house 17 (owned by V.I.Gryaznov, a tea merchant) and house 19. The ground floor of house 19 was rented out to Gryaznov’s tea shop, while the top two floors were given to tenants.

The decorum of Kekushev’s revenue house is not too fancy. On the other hand, the building is beautiful in its simplicity and modest decorum. The smooth lines of the eaves, Kekushev’s signature small balcony above the entrance to the store, calm lines of window frames – all of it makes the house stand out. Chestnut leaves were chosen by Kekushev as the ornamental motif. These frame the owners’ monogram installed on a semi-circular attic of the building. Leaves also fill the cartridges between the windows of the fist and second floors of the building.

The monogram that depicts the letters A and C (‘S’) caused a lot of debates and questions.  The letter ‘A’ might have appeared in Kekushev’s times and meant ‘Anna’. The second letter belongs to Sergey Astakhov who owned the house after Kekushev.

In Soviet times, the house was inhabited by residents of communal apartments. The buildings arch designed by Kekushev was built over, and an entrance was made instead of it. During the restoration that took place in the 2000's, the walk-through arch was restored, and an Art Nouveau gate was installed inside of it.

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