Secrets of a fairy-tale house in the center of Moscow: Why the architect drowned his paintings here, and Trotsky took the owner’s apartment
The building of incredible beauty, similar to the tower, is popularly called “Profitable House of Pepper” or “Fairy Tale House”. Located “terem” in the center of Moscow. In this masterpiece everything is unique: the authors, the owners, the tenants, and, of course, the architecture itself. You can admire the tall, narrow roofs and majolica of an amazing building for hours. In general, this is a house-story, every centimeter of which has an incredible value.
A railway engineer who made a great contribution to the construction of the first railways of the country, Peter Pertsov acquired this section at the beginning of the last century on the advice of his good friend, philanthropist Ivan Tsvetkov. The place was very successful – with a view of the Moscow River and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Pertsov promised Tsvetkov that he would design the future building in the old Russian style. From a young age, being fascinated by painting and having a delicate artistic taste, he decided to embody this idea with all his love for Russian art and on a large scale, since financial means allowed it.
Petr Nikolayevich decided to formalize the land plot and the house for his spouse, since his projects related to the construction of railways were risky at that time, and he did not want to lose all his property if he went bankrupt. By the way, looking ahead, it is worth saying that this beautiful house of Pertsov was almost lost in the end. During the construction of the railway section Armavir-Tuapse, he was unable to collect the necessary amount and asked for financial assistance from the famous industrialist Alexei Putilov. He gave two million bail of all property of the Pertsov family, including this building. However, the engineer valued his new home so much that he bought it very soon.
Returning to the project itself, it is worth noting that the sketch was taken by artist-architect Sergei Malyutin, who Pertsov chose from a variety of very different options.
Malyutin was a multifaceted man. He taught at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, worked as an illustrator (for example, designed Pushkin’s fairy tales), and it is also believed that he painted the first Russian matryoshka.
The house was not built from scratch: a fourth floor was added to the three-story building already on the plot, a mansion was added from the embankment side, and a new building from the alley. All this was completed by high triangular roofs, a balcony and all sorts of decorative elements. A rich, variegated majolica decorated the main entrance, as well as walls and gables. The project successfully combined modern and traditional Russian architecture. As a result, the house turned out to be very original and beautiful – “in a fabulous epic style,” as Pertsov himself put it.
Majolica was created by students of Stroganov. Here you can see the image of the Slavic-pagan sun god Yarily, and the deities of Veles and Perun, depicted in the guise of the Bear and the Bull, and Veshu Bird (also a well-known ancient Russian character), and many other interesting creatures. And the balcony, built in the form of a hut, is supported either by crocodiles, or dragons, or by sea horses.
The house was equipped with many apartments for rent, and the choice was for every taste – depending on the financial capacity of the tenant. Pertsov himself settled here, occupying three floors, and his apartment had a hotel entrance.
Interior decoration struck beauty and elegance. Tiled stoves, carvings, oriental-style smoking rooms, mahogany furniture …
The author of the project, Malyutin, settled here. Here he painted his paintings. Unfortunately, during the flood of 1908, his apartment was flooded and most of the paintings of a talented artist suffered – including the painting “Kulikovo Field”, which he painted for almost 10 years.