Thursday, January 22, 2009

The quirks of a 119 year old apartment

It's hard to imagine that my one bedroom, 700 sq. foot, apartment used to house two families a few decades ago. Like most homes in Amsterdam in the turn of the 20th century, my one bedroom apartment was actually split in two. Each family lived in a large room and shared a small kitchen and bathroom, which acted as a room (or "apartment") divider. Most kitchens of the era only had a stovetop to cook on, due to the size constraint. I'm constantly amazed at the number of homes I've entered that still don't have an oven. I can live without a dishwasher, but I'd never compromise on an oven.

I truly enjoy living in such an old house, but I have to admit, I am grateful it was recently renovated. I have a spacious bathroom, a nice modern kitchen and a great overall layout. However, even though it was renovated only 3 years ago, it still has some of it's old world charm. Take the hidden openings that allow mice in, for example. Or, we could discuss the plumbing. See, there are times when my upstairs neighbors flush the toilet making my bathroom smell... quite unpleasant. Needless to say, I was excited when I found a diffuser to place inside the bathroom to overpower the unwanted smell.

But the most prominent old world feature of my apartment are the windows. I have 6 large, absolutely beautiful windows which grace either side of my apartment. On days when the sun is shining, my entire apartment is filled with sunlight. Just like the hidden openings and plumbing, the windows are the final things in my apartment that are original. Meaning: they are single paned. In the summer I drew the blinds during the day to keep some of the heat from the sun out of the apartment. Now that winter is in full swing, I find myself drawing the curtains yet again, but for an entirely different reason. When the temperatures dropped below freezing, it didn't matter how high I turned up the heat in my apartment, the thermostat wouldn't budge any higher than a crisp 66 degrees.

The only way I could make my apartment a bit warmer was by baking (again, extremely glad I have an oven), or making soup. Thankfully the frozen canal days are over, the gaps between the windows and frames are now filled, and the blinds are drawn- providing a bit of insulation- helping bring my apartment back up to a comfortable 72 degrees.


kelley said...

Regardless, still a very cool apartment. Point #17 why I continue to be jealous.

Chad & Bonny Day said...

Love your apt! Love the windows! Love your blog!

Marci said...

That is what the single pane windows at Linden apts were preparing your for! I understand not being able to get the temp above 66 that is what we lived in at Linden.