Retro meets modern in the new Annex at Touraine. Photo: The Annex at Touraine
When it comes to design, there are some styles that are best left in the past. And there are several modern aesthetics we strongly believe can’t become outdated soon enough. Sometimes, though, when you get the right person seamlessly blending past with present, the results are inspired and sharp — and found at 1516 and 1518 Spruce Street. The Annex at Touraine has been transformed into a progressive, eco-friendly residence with sleek, classic design behind all that good-for-the-earth technology.
The Annex is next door to the Touraine, the former-hotel-turned-luxury apartments, turned official addition to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. While the Touraine has all the grandiose details of an elegant hotel's lobby, the Annex is an old school walk-up. “But you can still use the front desk at the Touraine, since it’s the Annex at Touraine. It’s like living in the Touraine, but in a sweet apartment,” explains Liz Solms. She’s the owner of the building, and she’s responsible for the whole interior look.
Solms takes her design very seriously. “My husband calls me an incredibly uncompromising person — in a positive way,” she quickly adds. Solms has an unwavering commitment to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for sustainability. The Annex include water-saving fixtures, bamboo flooring and low-energy refrigerators (that also happen to be mint green with rounded corners, for a retro appeal).
“My approach is all about environmental sustainability,” says Solms. “Then comes classic and interesting design that is the opposite of the granite countertops, Lowes-packaged rooms that are ubiquitous not just in Philly, but all over real estate. This is in direct opposition to that.” You’ll also find subway tiles used for kitchen and bathroom flooring and backsplashes.
“We’re keeping things simple and classic – it’s not a flash in the pan,” Solms says.
The two buildings hold 21 units, all studios or one-bedrooms. 1518 Spruce already has occupants; 1516 just opened last week.