Monday, March 23, 2015

"My" Zen apartment upstairs at Piper's

This is the living room of "my" apartment, suspended above the northeast corner of the square on the second floor of Piper's --- in the sense that I like to fantasize about downsizing and living here.

A couple of youngsters are scheduled to move in as soon as it's been inspected and a certificate of occupancy issued, however. That means I get to keep fantasizing but don't have to go to the trouble of  actually chucking the accumulation of the ages and hauling the rest upstairs.

This apartment, probably intended to house professional offices when the Piper's building was constructed during 1894, is compact. Even the new tenants, not out of high school that long, are going to have to downsize to fit. But it is a wonderful space.

I call it Zen --- you'd need lots of discipline to live fully here. The north apartment, roughly twice as big, most likely always has been residential. We'll tour that another time.

That new exterior staircase makes a world of difference. I've hung on for dear life more than a couple of times while going up and down the somewhat rickety original during the last couple of years to check construction progress. Its beautifully engineered replacement makes both ascent and descent a pleasure.

Let's start with the door from the outside landing that leads into a hallway bisecting the building from east to west, then turns north to allow access to the big north apartment. The door we're going through is on the left. The door to the right now is fixed --- if opened, it would lead into a bedroom of the north apartment.

One thing you'll notice is that every scrap of original material in the apartments that could be reused was: Flooring was patched and polished, painted surfaces were repainted, doors were reused. You'll see bits of blue tape here and there along the way. These mark dings inflicted during construction, due to be repaired.

If you look carefully at the entrance door, you'll notice that at one point in its history it opened in the opposite direction --- an opening for an earlier knob and locking mechanism has been filled, but not obscured.

The front door opens west of the sink island into the kitchen-dining area.

This room, where there's plenty of room for a smallish table and perhaps four chairs, is lighted by two huge windows in the east wall.

The bathroom occupies a long narrow space behind the west wall of this room. There are two closets, too, in the southwest corner of the room --- one for storage and the other containing a stacked washer and dryer plus the water heater. The bathroom mirror has not yet been mounted, but that's the last of the major work still to be done.

The door into the apartment's living room --- a high light-filled room that is my favorite --- opens through the south wall of the dining area. Two huge windows face the Charitone to the east; the square, through double windows to the south. The projections on the east walls of both rooms are chimney breasts --- when built, Piper's was heated by stoves.

The views from this room are wonderful.

The apartment bedroom in the southwest corner is located behind the other double window on the building's south facade and is accessed through a sliding door from the living room. Had the original swinging door survived, it would have been reused. Since it wasn't found, the slide mechanism serves a new door and also conserves space.

Since space has been borrowed from this room for a commodious closet and one of the closets that opens from the kitchen-dining room, it's a small space, but large enough to fit bed, occupants and a couple of other bits and bobs. I was standing inside the closet when this photo was taken.

I can just see myself sitting in a big leather chair in the southeast corner of the living room with a cup of coffee waiting for the sun to rise and light our venerable courthouse.

Fortunately, I don't have to go to the trouble of actualizing that fantasy.


Brenda said...

I want one, but I don't think I could downsize to fit the space. It would be a fun "retreat", similar to owning a camper. Yeah, just rent it and use it as a retreat/camper. I'll help you decorate it:)

Frank D. Myers said...

I appreciate the offer, but expect downsizing is a little premature for both of us! Although --- I've fantasized about using it as an office, which most likely was the original purpose.

Tracy (Chaldy) Hanson said...

I lived in the apartment above Ben Franklin in the early 80's (I think!) . Not as neat as this one but pretty cool!