Live & Learn

If all goes as planned, 2010 will the year of major transformations here at Brick City Love. It’s our first full calendar year in the house and we’ve realized living in a space through the different seasons is so important.

The bedrooms on the 2nd & 3rd floors have pass-throughs into each of the two bedrooms. When we first bought the place, I planned on turning those pass-throughs into closets because generally I think hallways are a waste of space.


After sweating through a summer of dusty renovations, I realized the dead guys who designed this house actually knew what they were doing. Our little row home doesn’t have central AC and we don’t any immediate plans of putting it in.

There are windows on the front & back of the house. When they’re open, those pass-throughs do a bang up job of keeping the air circulating and the rooms cool. With the help of our high ceilings, open windows, and a couple fans, it remained downright pleasant inside through the summer. {Unless of course it was pouring out, so the windows HAD to be closed, while you were sanding drywall. Then it would stifling.}

Remember when I toyed with the idea of removing the wall between the foyer and parlor in favor of a header and open floor plan?

1st floor no wall layout cropped

Well now that it’s winter, we’re pretty glad that wall is there. The front door is drafty and the foyer remains consistently a couple degrees cooler than the rest of the house. Fresh weather-stripping is definitely on the “Must Do” list but that wall keeps the cool air from blowing in every time you open the front door. When people enter or leave the house, you barely feel the cold air if you’re sitting in the parlor.

There are even hing marks on that arches to the parlor and kitchen where doors used to hang. While I’m not sure we’ll put them back up, doors would have kept the 1st floor living space even toastier!

where there used to be doors
{Picture taken before we moved in. Lots has changed, especially the floors!}

The auto-water feed for our boiler isn’t working properly and has managed to flood our steam pipes & radiator system and the basement TWICE! Once while we were gone for the weekend and once during the night {that was a fun way to spend our anniversary}.

If we had finished the basement and rented it out ~ as was the plan all summer ~ we would have one unhappy tenant! While I was bummed we didn’t get further with the basement, I’m now really glad things worked out how they did. The flood waters helped loosen some of the stubborn goo & paint on the uneven cement floors.

We’re definitely going to be painting the floors, even though I toyed with {and still really like the look of} of installing click together laminate wood. If we had already installed them, ripping everything out & starting over would be added to the TO DO list. I guess things do really work out for a reason.

Living in the house before making any major structural changes was some of the best advice we got.

What have you learned about your space by living in it? Like a feature you once hated? Unexpected benefits of leaving well enough alone? We’d love to hear about it!

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9 Responses to Live & Learn

  1. elizabeth says:

    We have the exact same layout for our entry/foyer. Ours have doors though, both where your archway is and where the hallway ends. It really does keep cooler there during the winter (that part of the house doesn’t even have a working vent). I like being able to close that part off. People leave their shoes there when they come in the house and the mess isn’t “in your face.” But most importantly, we’ve had two kids since moving in, and keeping them out of that staircase was very important to us.

  2. I’ve learned how horrible the windows are! I can hear people talking from the street :(. Although hearing that a house had new windows didn’t impress me before, I’ll look for them in homes from now on!!

  3. MEA says:

    Wait to purchase furniture. We were really excited for a new king size bed! What we SHOULD have done is just bought a king size mattress, a plain metal frame, and our current dresser/chest, but we were too excited. We spent a few thousand on new furniture that could have been put directly towards renos that were more needed. I don’t know WHY it didn’t occur to us, but seems to be the ultimate DOH! moment.

  4. i couldn’t agree more with this post. the last 3 months in my 1880s victorian has taught me some of the very same lessons – those “dead guys” really were smart!

    can’t wait to see what you’ll do this year!

  5. caitieg says:

    question from my mom (who follows your progress through me)…

    is there space on either side of the pass-throughs to do some knocking down and hollowing out to make a closet? so that the passthrough remains but you get a closet out of the space the wall is taking up?

    yeah ps I phrased the question- her direct question would have been much more eloquent and accurate terminology-wise

  6. We learned that the original plans for our rooms aren’t the ‘right’ plans. So, we will be rearranging things forever it seems. Never jump into your furnishing and decorating if you haven’t lived there for awhile, right?

  7. Mom Liv says:

    After our visit to Miss Eleanor’s in Deleware, think that putting the LR & kitchen doors back on might be a worthwhile design consideration. Her foyer was much colder than her toasty warm living space – and having the ability to control access to the stairs makes a lot of sense to me!

  8. katie says:

    we removed a couple of interior doors – between the hallway and living room, and between the hallway and entry – like your house i’m sure they were there to help keep the heat in but we haven’t really missed them. we also just put them aside in the basement so we can easily put them back up if needed. the kitchen layout is something that i’m glad we have several years of “before” to live with/work with before doing a kitchen renovation. i think i will probably change my mind several times as i learn to live with the current configuration. i think that it is really important to live in any space for a little while before making any major renovation decisions!

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