THERE’S NO ELEGANT WAY to make a typical brownstone parlor floor-through into a one-bedroom apartment. Either the kitchen’s in the middle, or the bedroom is. But I don’t care. I want the ceiling height, the long windows, the moldings, the mantels – the grandeur, however faded — even if it means having hardly any closets, a minuscule kitchen, or a bed in the middle of the space.

The parlor floor on Dean Street I just left - DUH! - with the new tenant's fabulous furniture

The parlor floor (upper part of a duplex) on Dean Street I recently left - DUH! - with the new tenant's fab furnishings

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve gone from wanting ONLY a parlor floor, to considering third-floor apartments, which have more square footage because they include that ‘extra’ room above the entry hall — to insisting on a parlor floor again. I’ll have to find one in a wide building so it doesn’t feel too cramped.

Nice apartment but not a parlor floor

Nice apartment but not a parlor floor

In thirty years of Brooklyn living, I’ve ALWAYS had a parlor floor (and then some). Middle-class Victorians, I’ve read, hardly used them. They were carpeted and stuffed with furniture and bric-a-brac, and only opened up for visitors, while the family cooked and ate on the garden level, and slept and really lived on the floors above.

Parlor floor in my 1830s row house in Boerum Hill, detail-less but loft-like

Parlor floor in my 1830s row house in Boerum Hill, detail-less and loft-like

Parlor floor on Verandah Place (we opened up the hall and added the columns)

Parlor floor on Verandah Place in Cobble Hill (we opened up the hall and added the columns)

Meanwhile, my whole quest is more or less on hold, as my closing on the cottage in Springs approaches (this Thursday Friday – YAY!)

I never intended to live ‘out there’ full time, as a primary residence, but since I’m without a fixed address in Brooklyn at the moment, I may just do that for a while, and resume my parlor-floor rental search at a later date.

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