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Designer Turns an Ugly Stairway to a Real Entrance

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, March 10, 2008, at 08:10PM
Maison Bertet Eric Richardson [Flickr]

When Maison Bertet officially opens its retail space this week in the basement of Premiere Towers (621 S. Spring), it'll be looking to wow some loft owners with impressive ideas for decorating their space. After seeing the way they transformed an ugly entryway to their basement space, I'm pretty sure they'll be successful.

Premiere Towers was converted to housing by the CRA in the mid-1980s. At the time concepts like keeping the integrity of a historic building's ground floor were a little less engrained than they are today. Next to the lobby entrance was left a fancy doorway leading into a small area that might well have been designed as a fire escape, with stairs leading up from the basement.

The basement space was rehabbed using CRA money, opening in late 2004 as an art gallery. The entryway, though, saw little improvement.

That's why it was a bit of a surprise today to walk past and see that this fire escape has been turned into a grand descent, perfectly showing off the sort of wares downstairs and providing light and the encouragement to venture down.

While I may never buy furniture or fixtures, I'm already a fan of what the shop's done to the building.

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