Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Destroying and Preserving Original Architectural Elements

So we've discovered that our apartment has both original architectural elements- and destroyed elements.

One of the things we love about our apartment are the original details.   We think it was built around 1910 and it has some charming features.  My favorite - the curved staircase with it's unique railing (but definitely not up to building codes in the US!  A small child could easily squeeze through that railing and fall from the 3rd floor all the way to the 1st).

9 3/4" tall stairs!!!

BTW - The stairs are incredibly steep, but we've gotten used to them. With 34 steps to the living room and 14 more steps to the bedrooms, it's like our own built in stair master!

The apartment also has the original pocket doors between the living room and dining room - with glass panels above to let the light through.  We rarely use them, but they're still a nice touch.

But with those beautiful features, we were surprised that the trim in the apartment is so plain.  We have tall ceilings and beautiful chandeliers, but everything else is really simple.  That seems so odd.

And then we found the answer to the mystery.  I went in the first floor apartment and saw these beautiful plaster ceilings.  Aren't they amazing?

They told me that the owners of our apartment wanted to make it look more 'international' and decided to tear out the ceilings and all the trim around the fireplace.  The contractor came downstairs, sobbing, because he was so distressed to have to rip out the original ceiling.  It was in perfect shape and he thought it was criminal to destroy something so beautiful.  But the owners demanded he do it - and now we have boring, plain ceilings.

Can you believe it?  I'll never understand why someone would destroy such beautiful architectural elements.  We like this apartment so much - but think it would be so much nicer with all the original details!

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  1. Love those ceilings..I know what you mean about tearing out old features. I cringe sometimes when I look at before and after photos........

  2. So sad. I recall seeing This Old House or some other show on making molds of the architecture work to recreate the design for repairs. Maybe it can be done for the whole decoration? I don't remember how it was done, but it may be worth looking into it.


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