If there is a high–the dragon, if you will–that the hardcore romancer chases, it is this. A pair of stout row houses, butting right up against each other like books on a shelf, but otherwise as unrelated as chalk and cheese.
He with the faded green aluminum siding, splotched with decades of not-quite-matching touch-up paint; she with a prim new black-and-white scheme on her brick façade, ready for the town in never-going-out-of-style two-tone. He made the regrettable decision to turn his windows into port holes; she’s left the nice big double-hung two-paners intact, and has the afternoon sunlight to prove it. He’s still lugging around the same set of heavy-lidded awnings he picked up after high school; she’s newly trimmed her detail work–all clean lines, tight accents, and graceful ornament.
We could go on about how he’s put on a few pounds from all that sitting around, but that would just be cruel. No, we’re here to celebrate that great accident of residential architectural history–the side-by-side odd couple pairings one finds in Pittsburgh’s many row house blocks. Each evinces an anthropomorphic reaction to the unlikeliest of subjects: old-school worker housing.
There was enough commonality in some of these to group them into loose themes. Really though, this one’s all about the visuals, so we’ll quit yappin’. Whether you live in one (guilty!) or are just a drive-by wanna-be, happy row house romance to one and all!
5 thoughts on “Row House Romance: Odd Couples Edition”
I loved seeing these! I grew up in Dormont. I’ve started painting again and am going to try and master some watercolor paintings of row houses.
I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and I’ve seen these mismatched pairings in our area too. I also enjoy the related situation of twin homes that started out as a coherent pair but changes and renovations and so on have caused their appearances to diverge, sometimes wildly. What a great post. Thank you.
Claudia, Glad you enjoyed! You’re describing a phenomenon we call “twins gone wild.”
I grew up in a worker’s row house in the Hill District. These photos are right on. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. From the Hill District to Vietnam.