Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The north apartment upstairs at Piper's

Earlier in the week, I promised a tour of the north apartment upstairs in the Piper's building --- and here it is, commencing (above) with the doubled doors that divide its two central rooms. The finish on the side of these doors visible here probably was original to all of the upstairs woodwork in 1894, but everything else had disappeared under multiple layers of varicolored paint before restoration began. These surfaces survived for reasons I'll get around to later.

But we're going to back up and begin the tour, as we did Monday, at the door leading into the hall that serves both apartments from the landing of the exterior stairway. Turn around and look in the other direction: The door to the left leads into the south apartment, but we'll turn right into the portion of the hall that now leads to the front door of the north apartment. Note the original corner guard at the turn, intended to protect plaster from collisions with people and whatever they may be carrying.

Look up --- out of snagging range --- and you'll see a huge coat hook (left), also original equipment in the Piper's Building, built during 1894 by the Daniel Eikenberry estate to house Fred Stanley's grocery store on the first floor; offices and apartments above (the original frame building was just moved east into North Grand Street so the business could continue to operate while its replacement was built). The Eikenberry Estate sold the building to Chariton's I.O.O.F. Lodge in 1904; then, in 1913, the lodge sold the building to Joe L. Piper, who had bought the Stanley grocery business in 1908. After two generations of Piper family ownership, Bob Piper sold the business and building to Jim and Anne Kerns; Jill Kerns now is the second generation of her family to own Piper's.

The hallway, once quite a bit longer as it continued to parallel the west wall of the buildng, now ends just beyond the door into the north apartment, its former space incorporated into the apartment. The shorter door in the foreground accesses a utilities room.

Here's the entrance door from inside the apartment, just south of the new kitchen. The small door to the left leads into a closet and, just to the left of the closet door, is the door into the south bedroom, where we'll go in a minute. The westerly part of the kitchen space has been borrowed from the former hallway.

Those doubled doors seen at the top lead north from the kitchen-dining room into the living room, with the master bedroom beyond. 

Two huge windows in the east wall light the kitchen-dining room. Remember that the specks of blue tape you'll see here and there mark dings inflicted during construction that will be repaired by the contractor before tenants move in.

OK, we're now in the south bedroom which, when I took the first photos of this area in August of 2012 was serving as a furnace room for the store below, connected by pipes through a blocked window to the air conditioning condenser parked on the exterior landing just outside. The furnace now is elsewhere and the condenser, on the roof.

The door, were it not fixed, would lead into the entrance hallway serving both apartments. The big closet with slider doors is new.

Like the kitchen-dining room, this room is lighted by two huge windows in its east, streetside, wall. Turn around and you'll be looking down the enfilade from south bedroom through the kitchen-dining room to the living room and master bedroom beyond.

Going back to the doubled doors leading from kitchen-dining into living room, when I visited this space in August of 2012, these doors were blocked, dividing the current four-room apartment into two two-room units. The opening from the most southerly of these two apartments had been blocked with plasterboard, which preserved the original finish on the woodwork. The doors were visible on the north side --- from this room --- and painted.

The living room just beyond these doors is about the same size as the kitchen-dining room to the south. The door at right, once the entrance to a two-room apartment, now leads to a half bath.

This rooms is lighted by a single tall window in its east wall.

The master bedroom is located at the far north end of the apartment and here, too, space has been borrowed from the original hallway for a big closet with slider door.

Another tall window lights the room.

The biggest bathroom in the apartment is located off the master bedroom --- sink, stool and shower in a large space with stacked washer and dryer tucked behind the door.

And finally, the enfilade again --- from the living room south --- I really like those doors!

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