The Air/Light Shaft

Back when we had our home inspection, we found out that our house had a air/light shaft. These were somewhat common in brownstones as a way to provide ventilation and a bit of light to parts of the house that have no windows – a problem when your house is stuck on the house next door, leaving only the front and back for windows.

The top floor kitchen and bathroom had windows that were sealed with paint, as did the parlor floor bathroom/closet. Curiosity eventually got the best of us and we pried one of the windows open.

The inside of the shaft looked like something out of a movie – doesn’t this look like an abandoned factory where the bad guys are holding the action hero hostage?

Clearly, the shaft is going to need a bit of work. But having a source of light and ventilation for our bathrooms is something  super awesome, regardless of how scary it looks inside.


The Micro-Bathroom

Bathrooms in brownstones are notoriously tiny, and our micro-bathroom is no exception. Coming in at a spacious 52 inches by 64 inches, it features a full size tub, a pedestal sink, a toilet and no standing room to speak of. The space is so small there is no room for a toilet paper holder, and any  miscalculation while approaching the toilet will land you in the tub or out in the hallway. Yes, it’s that tiny.

(can someone explain to me why people insist in having bathtubs? This bathroom would feel much bigger if it had a stand up shower instead, but I digress)

There are some features I really like: the tin ceiling and the air shaft window.

Currently everything is caked up in gobs of beige paint. We’re working on freeing up the window, which will add much needed ventilation, and perhaps stop the tin ceiling from rusting. Eventually we plan on turning this space into our master closet – sometime in the distant future. In the mean time, this is where we shower.

There is a room exactly the same size directly below our micro bathroom. The previous owners had turned it into a closet, keeping the tile and soapdish intact. We tore it out and will be turning it into a powder room in the not so distant future.