Wednesday, 25 June 2014

An Open Space on the Second Floor

An Open Space on the Second Floor

Some more about discovering the history of the house as we've worked on it.

When trying to work out the way the house was used, and why there are certain architectural features again I referred to Dimitris Philippides book, Three Centuries of Architectural Style, and particularly his picture of the Schwartz mansion in Ambelakia.

 Second Floor When we Arrived

The sitting area when we came


The additional bedroom plus blocked in fireplace

The area in front of top stairs

Here, as in our house, there is an open space on the second floor with two side rooms that have windows looking out into this space. He writes that in the central open space on the second floor ‘the two parlours… communicate visually’. And that these parlours have ‘proper windows fitting with railing and shutters, as if they were on an outer wall and required protection.’ Our internal windows do not have shutters but they are sash windows.

Takis and Anestis in various positions!

Working on the fireplace

I have wondered often about these windows as they appear to serve no purpose. I thought that maybe those inside could look down to see who was coming in the front door, or check what the servants were doing as one looks directly down to a door on the ground floor that probably lead to a store room. We have heard that in those early days one of the front parlours was used as the dining room.

 Work in Progress

Painting the ceiling and pillared separation to top floor stairs

This floor has changed a lot over the years. When Takis’ Uncle Nicholas lived here a window was removed to add a bathroom on the side of the house. And when Takis’ cousins started bringing their families the fireplace in this space was blocked and two walls added to make an extra bedroom. At this stage of the house’s history the ‘parlours’ became bedrooms, and the summertime families ate outside.

'Discovery of the fireplace. Note 'window' into doorway leading to added bathroom.
When we took down these bedroom walls we began to open up the area again. And after ‘discovering’ the fireplace we renovated it and it now is at one end of our living room. We could see it had never been used for large fires, but appeared to have been used to keep food warm by placing pans on hot coals, before carrying them into the dining room opposite.

 Second Floor Today

The sitting area when we came with bedroom wall


Sitting area today with bedroom walls removed

The area in front of top stairs

The sitting area and pillared area today

Other features of this second floor space convinced me that our house was built to serve similar purposes as is found on this floor in the Schwartz mansion (or was just a copying that style?). One is the pillared separation of one smaller area leading to a stair case and the ‘Juliet’ balcony at the top of the stairs. These are typical transition markers used in these Venetian mansions.

Dark and wobbly stairs when we first came.

The Juliet balcony and staircase up today.

Our second floor parlour (dining room before we believe)

Still to be fixed, The Front Door!

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