843 17th Ave N 33704

Then and Now —  1929 & 2021 — 843 17th Ave No.

From 1929: “MICHIGAN MAN BUILDS COSTLY HOME IN CITY – Among the finer and more beautiful residences recently erected in this city, is the one just completed for Mr. & Mrs. John M. Greissell, formerly of Flint, Michigan. Occupying a frontage of 150 feet on Seventeenth avenue, between 9th street and Crescent Lake, this home combines all that is modern in matters of comfort and convenience blended with the colorful influence of Mediterranean architecture, so appropriate in sunny Florida.”

“Details of basic construction have been made with a view to sturdiness and permanency; walls are of interlocking tile 12 inches in thickness, the first floor consists of a reinforced concrete slab, metal lath only has been used as a plaster base, all wiring is run in pipe conduits and the exposed roof and ceiling areas have been insulated with a blanket of balsam wool. All hot water piping is covered cellular asbestos. Two continuous reinforced belt-lintels tie the various parts of the building into one solid unit. Gutters and leaders are made of pure copper and all screening is of bronze and alumina. Hinge straps and massive nail heads add to the pleasing effect of the finish hardware, which is harmonious with the architectural treatment. Beautiful grilles have been utilized for screen doors, radiator cabinets, openings and decorative features.”

“Driveway posts and a vine-covered pergola form entrances to the estate, from the street, and winding walks in flagstone treatment lead to the walled-in patio., through ornamental iron gates, where water splashes in a tiled fountain amid exotic plantings. The grounds are piped with a sprinkler system.”

“All roofs are covered with tapered mission tiles of blended shades, laid irregularly in cemented joints, while the stucco is an ivory tint. All windows are of the casement type, with inside roll screens. Posts, railings and rafter-ends are touched up with bright primary colors, with a lively shade of green predominating in the general scheme.”

“The rough beamed dining room and high ceiling living-room are connected with a large living porch, where the green lacework of an outside fernery forms a charming picture through the screened arches. An interesting feature is found in the generous fireplace, embellished with hand wrought iron fittings and hinged fire screens. Here, a gas log-lighter is provided. Fireplace, stairway, fountain and decorative tile work generally is carried out in the Mayan style.”

“The library is approached through a passage, lighted by torcheres set in wall niches, where arches and mirror doors add to the general effect. This library opens out into the patio and, together with the dressing room, large, tiled bath and sleeping room, forms the master’s suite. In the bath have been installed a Battle Creek electric bath cabinet and health exerciser. The dressing rooms have built-in vanity tables. Baths are equipped with individual electric wall heaters and medicine cabinets are fitted with etched plate mirror doors; each room carried out in a different but harmonizing color scheme of bright, glazed tiles. The master’s tub is recessed and entered through a tiled arch; all fittings are of chromium metal.”

“In the kitchen, with its rubber tiled floor, as in all the several baths, walls are covered with colored tiling from floors to the coved ceilings. Equipment in the kitchen includes a dish-washing electric sink, three-section automatic refrigerator, enameled range and many wall cases with glass and mirror doors.”

“All mechanical equipment is concentrated in the heater room, and consists of automatic water softener, gas fired incinerator, hot water storage heater with circulating system and the automatic-control  gas-burning heating boiler. Here, as elsewhere throughout the entire building, construction is of a highly fire-resisting type.”

“From the entrance hall, a tiled stairway leads to the upper floor. Opening from the guest room, with its private bath, is a balcony which overlooks the patio. Connecting with the hall, a gallery has been provided, where southern exposure combines with the privacy of high railings to form an ideal spot for sun-bathing, this forming a regular feature of Mr. Greissell’s daily regime.”

“The daughter’s suite, occupied by Ms. Nelle Greissell, includes sleeping porch, boudoir, dressing room, several closets and bath, with lighting fixtures of crystal. Closets are numerous and spacious, two of them being completely lined with aromatic cedar. Built-in features include telephone cabinets, arched bookcases, wall safe, cases and cabinets, ironing boards and a secret closet.”

“In the rear of the property, a service building provides for a garage, with spaces for three cars each compartment being equipped with rolling over-head doors; a laundry and complete modern appliances; and very pleasant maid’s quarters.”

“The owl motif has been observed in the weather vane and ornamental stone pieces. Decorative tiles and delicate hand-forged iron work has been extensively employed for decorative treatments. Especially interesting are the unique grilles which embellish the narrow stairway casements.”

C. Sedwick Moss was the deigning and supervising architect for the entire work. Mrs. Greissell took an active interest in the preparation of plans and designs, while Mr. Greissell was active in directing the work of landscaping and planting, which was successfully handled by M.C. Ledbetter. Aside from the splendid palm specimens, many of the royals, and other attractive and interesting planting groups, a distinct feature is found in the “Desert Scene”, which was cleverly conceived and carried out. Stone benches, a bird bath and gazing globe, strawberry jars in iron holders, urns and other accessories complete the atmospheric picture.”

Clausen and Fellows were general contractors for the building work. A small cottage originally on the property, has been entirely remodeled and renovated to form a guest house, with delightful appointments.”

Mr. & Mrs. Greissell, who will make their home here in St. Petersburg, are also building an attractive colonial country home, for summer occupancy, on their extensive stock farm, near Flint Mi. Both express themselves as being entirely charmed with life in the Sunshine city, where an interesting group of friends are gathered together throughout the season and year.”

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