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Great Things about My House

Sunday, February 27, 2011, 18:45 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

(UPDATE 03/01/2011: Added a few pictures.)

As I begin week two in my new house, allow me to say that if I never have to cut another sheet of shelf liner, it will be too soon. That said, I would like to share a few features of the house that I am coming to appreciate:

  • Cast iron radiators. Most of the house is heated with steam, and being a 70-year-old house, the radiators are the old cast iron type. Some people hate them, especially if they are in inconvenient locations that interfere with furniture placement. Fortunately, that isn’t the case with mine. And they throw great heat, even on the most bitter, raw night. In a pinch, I can even throw my boots and gloves on them. One warning, though: when the system is really cranking, those puppies get hot. Don’t forget that it isn’t hot water going through them, it’s steam. By definition, steam is literally boiling hot, which means that the radiators get almost that hot, too.
    Front entry shelves

    Shelves in front entryway, and note the cast iron radiator

    That may become an issue when the grandbabies come along, but I have plenty of time before then to build or buy radiator covers.
  • The knick-knack shelves in the front entryway. Walk in my front door and you’ll enter a mini-foyer that opens into the living room. On the left side, across from the coat closet, are floor-to-ceiling built-in shelves. Finally, a place to display my angel collection.
  • The display nook at the bottom of the stairs. At the landing before my staircase turns to go upstairs is what I can’t help thinking of as a grotto.

    The "grotto" (click to view larger)

    You know, sort of like those Our-Lady-on-the-Half-Shell things that Italian people have in their yards (my Italian mother the statue without the half shell). Except this is built into the wall, and is too small to hold a concrete Mary. I do, however, have a Hummel Flower Madonna that was my grandmother’s, and I think it will look perfect there, as soon as I can figure out which box it’s packed in.
  • The linen closet. After 23 years in an apartment with a pathetic dearth of closet space, a linen closet is an indescribable luxury. No more storing sheets and towels in dressers. And speaking of closets…
  • The cedar closet in my bedroom. This is one of two (!) decent-sized closets in my room,
    Cedar closet

    Cedar closet, with lined shelves 🙂 (click to view larger)

    so I’m figuring I can use the cedar closet for winter clothes and woolens, and the other closet for warm-weather attire.
  • The shoe closet. Yes, you heard right, I have a shoe closet, build into the knee wall space on the dormered side of my bedroom. Now I am far from Imelda Marcos, but I have several pairs of shoes, most of the casual variety. And I don’t even have to put them in one of the closets!
  • The wall safe. Built into the side of the dormer just behind the shoe closet,
    Shoe closet

    Shoe closet, with wall safe in wall to the left (click to view larger)

    the safe was open and empty when I moved in. Apparently, no one knows the combination, but that can be remedied by a locksmith. Then I’ll have a place to stash my riches, safe from would-be thieves.
  • The bathroom heat lamp. Since I am using the first floor bathroom exclusively until I get around to regrouting the upstairs tub, I’ve been able to enjoy some extra warmth for my morning shower.
  • The fireplace. OK, I realize that a fireplace isn’t a big deal to most people. It’s also true that I still have a couple dozen unpacked boxes in my living room, blocking access to said fireplace and rendering it temporarily unusable. But let me remind you: 23 years of apartment living.. So next winter, it will be weekly fires at the Den Mother homestead.
  • The leaded glass window. In the living room to the left of the mantle, this window is one of the delightful extras that makes this house unique, like the shoe closet. I hope the protective pane of plexiglass on the outside preserves it for many years.
  • The faux drawers in front of the kitchen sink. They look like they would be drawers if there weren’t a kitchen sink behind them. These aren’t mere decoration, though. In a nod to architectural modernism (“form follows function”), they actually tilt out and provide space to stow a sponge, scouring pad, bottle brush, or whatever other implement you want to keep handy but hidden. I’ve seen this feature in many new houses but no older ones.
  • The shelves in the cellar stairwell. I have found these to be the perfect place to put items I would otherwise keep in the cellar or a junk drawer, like DW-40 and duct tape (the top two household essentials).
  • The patio. It’s under 2 feet of snow at the moment, but that hasn’t kept me from planning my first warm-weather party. I plan to invite the neighbors so they won’t be tempted to complain about the noise.
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