The Belvedere, one of the first luxury apartment buildings in Cincinnati, reeks of Jazz Age glamor. The high rise was constructed in North Avondale in 1925 and was one of the stops on the home tour we went on last weekend.
The apartment units originally featured up to 6 bedrooms, as well as separate servants’ quarters. Most residents had maids and drivers. The Belvedere apartments were converted into condominiums in the 1980s and many were divided into 2 and 3-bedroom units to make them more affordable and practical.
There were lots of fun details in this building, such as the cursive “B” burnished into every single doorknob, the brass elevator indicators that point at the floor levels they’re on as they move up and down, the mail chutes, the wrought-iron chandeliers, and the hand-painted ceilings. Take a look!
The building still doesn’t have central air, as you can see by all the A/C window units (above), so it was pretty warm inside.
Photographs of the unit we toured were not allowed, but I snuck some photos of the lobby when no one was looking. It was too gorgeous not to. As you can see, it has a series of arched doorways, painted ceilings, and variegated marble floors:
The coved and painted ceiling detail in one of the arches:
This arched doorway leads out onto the terrace with tables and chairs and a stone fountain:
The unit we toured was meticulously restored and beautifully decorated. It was killing me that I couldn’t take photos of it for you. They wisely placed a docent in every room, including the hallways, to make sure renegades with cameras (like me) didn’t try anything.
What I found especially interesting was how the (teeny tiny) maid’s room was tucked in a hallway blocked off from the rest of the apartment and had its own (teeny tiny) bathroom. The bathroom reminded me of the kind you’d find on a plane or cruise ship. You actually stepped up into it for some reason, and the sink and shower would be small for a child.
The kitchen was also sort of hidden away from the rest of the apartment behind doors, and it wasn’t much bigger than the maid’s apartment. They clearly didn’t care that the cook might not have enough counter space in those days!
Since I couldn’t show you photos of that unit, I found one for sale on the MLS so you could at least get an idea of what they look like. Here’s the entry hall:
Each unit has a fireplace, but they are decorative only, which I found interesting. I mean, they were designed that way from the beginning–just for looks!
Someone foolishly covered up the original hardwood floors in this unit. I hope whoever buys it will rip this carpeting up and bring these rooms back to life (it’s selling for $103,500). You can check out the MLS listing for more information and pictures.
Back down the elevator to the lobby:
The Belvedere was designed by architect Charles H. Ferber, who was inspired by Second Renaissance Revival Style. I love all things 1920s, so this was one of my favorite stops on the tour.