I was really surprised the other day to encounter while passing through the Popa Soare quarter in Bucharest, a unique ART NOUVEAU restoration project on a street that contained private residences built in many architectural styles, that all are in dire need of major immediate redecoration and repair, let alone restoration.
That makes this project even more remarkable, especially because in Bucharest there are just a handful of such thorough restoration projects. A majority of the grand old houses are left in disrepair, plagued by ownership disputes as the state gradually and grudgingly gives them back to the descendants of the former owners. Some of those houses are superficially renovated, and put on the market through unprofessional estate agents with great pretence at incredibly high prices (from my research, in many instances the asking prices are higher than in London’s Islington or Paris’s Montparnasse). Also many of these houses suffer irreparable damage at the hands of incompetent builders and decorators.
In this case the owner is to be applauded for undertaking a good quality project that most probably involves a great deal of financial effort. On the entrance façade there is a large plaster medallion with typical Art Nouveau floral and feminine motifs that, as far as I as able to decipher, has dispalyed at its centre the letter “M,” which is probably the house owner’s monogram.
I knew the house from my promenades throughout the area a number of years ago, but many of its façade details were in a bad shape or erased by utilitarian renovations in the post-war years. At that time I could recognize the windows as Art Nouveau style, most conspicuously the leaf-floral shaped first floor terrace window.
The owner has probably benefited from the existence in the local the archives of photographs and plans showing how the house used to look in its glory days, and also it seems that proper specialists were brought in for the restoration works.
The case presented here is a very rare occurrence in this city. I very much hope the trend would continue. The main problems on the horizon for such quality projects to become more numerous are the financial crisis that can hit the owners’ finances and the unravelling of the Romanian property bubble, phenomenon that can open the access to this type of property to speculative buyers that do not appreciate or are ignorant of the historic and architectural value of a period property. ©Valentin Mandache
If you are interested in acquiring a period property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to assist in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.