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Thread: House quirks

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    House quirks

    We have a lot of discussions about our homes and apartments here on Cyburbia. Well, I found a couple of threads about home improvements, others about household appliances, and then there was this thread, but I couldn't find one dealing with what I call "house quirks." These would be the odd little things you've discovered about the structure in which you live: building characteristics, bizarre improvements ("What were they thinking?!?) made by a prior owner, things that annoy you about your place of residence, etc.

    I'll start with the random thought that inspired me this morning: Why do we have three separate wall outlets in the walk-in closet in our bedroom?? Who plugs in multiple items in their closet, anyway?

    I'm sure I'll come up with more as others post their house quirks (which I'm sure are far more interesting ).

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    This has been mentioned in another thread but we have the quirky toilet in the basement. It is there. All by its lonesome. I'm scared of it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    A building standard is for the toilet waste pipe to be 12+ inches from the wall. This has been the standard forever. So why do two of my three baths have the pipe closer? I need special order toilets and can't use the super-duper dual flush water saving ones I already have.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Why is it that the only electrial outlets in my laundry room are the ones for the washer and dryer?
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    As a kid we used to have a toilet right in the middle of our unfinished basement. I always thought that strange. In our current digs the previous owner fancied himself a home handyman....installed a bunch of electrical outlets himself in the basement and garage with the polarity reversed.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  6. #6
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    In grad school I lived in an apartment that had been converted to a one bedroom from a three bedroom. The apartment next door was the other half of the apartment. In addition the building was built in the late 70s, so not exactly modern. I had a half pantry, literally the shelves were half the size of a normal pantry (could not fit a cereal box on them). I had a massive kitchen with tons of lower cabinets and a hall closet that was the size of a bedroom closet. I also had three sliding glass doors that went out to two small patios.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  7. #7
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    We have two attached one-car garages. They are right next to each other, and from the outside, it looks like one big garage with two doors, but there is a brick wall running up the middle of them. When you go up in the attic, you can see how there was originally one two-car garage and part of it was incorporated into the house leaving just a one-car garage. Somebody eventually added a second one-car garage adjacent to the existing one (looking at old photos, all of this must have been done relatively soon after the house was built). The kicker is that the two garages are so wide, that had they actually knocked that brick wall down between them, there would easily be room for three cars in there.

    We also have a half bath that has about 10' of counter space and is twice as wide as our master bath. Talk about wasted space! (poor layout is my most common complaint to my wife about our house).
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  8. #8
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    We live in an old farmhouse, which we have done a lot of renovations to. There was an addition put on in the 70's. I was cabling in the walls and found that the original structure was built on single 20' length beams that are 14" thick. Needless to say I couldn't drill through them with my standard drill bits....
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  9. #9
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    We have a ton of quirky things in our house...
    • We have a pass through that goes directly from the kitchen to the front door, under the main stairwell. That way the servants would not need to pass through the dining room and foyer to answer the door when guests arrived.
    • In one of the two china cabinets, there are two fake drawers that don't pull out because the wall behind them is there to allow for the outside bilco doors to open. The one drawer in that cabinet that does operate has a secret panel that they used to hide liquor during prohibition.
    • In the same cabinet, we have a 'food shoot' that allowed the cook to pass the food from the butlers pantry into the china cabinet and the other servant would take the food out of there and bring it into the dinning room. That way no one had to open the door. It is also 6 or 8 inches lower than modern cabinet heights.
    • Our basement is sectioned off into several different spaces and there is a 'window' between two of the spaces that has muntins but no glass.
    • Our front door (8 foot tall double doors that are very thick and heavy) is actually on the side of the house facing the driveway. The front wall of the house has no exit doors at all. The side of the house has two doors going out to the massive side porch and then a rear door facing the garage. We have since found out that the porch was put there because the house was built as a wedding gift for the only daughter of the people who lived next door. The porch was used for entertaining by both the first owners and her parents.
    • We have one stained glass window... and it is in the basement facing the street.
    • We have a hole in the center of our dining room and found out that there was once a gas pipe that came up and went through the dinning room table to provide light.
    • We still have the wires from the 20's running for the servants call box. There was once a button in each room connected to wires that ran into the kitchen.
    • The house originally had 5 built in dressers, including one in the servants bedroom.
    • We also have the original back staircase that goes from the kitchen to the servants bedroom.
    • Finally, we still have the gas lines running to lamp fixtures that have been converted to electric. Some years ago much of the wiring was updated to modern romex but they still ran the wires in the gas lines. No the gas is not hooked up to these lines.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    My bedroom is enormous and has a 3.5' by 13' loft in it that is only about 3" high. Not exactly the most usable space. Would have been better to be closed off storage accessed through a hatch in the closet.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    All gone!

    Kitchen had this odd, non-load-bearing pillar.





    Bathroom had a one-piece tub-shower unit installed in front of the exterior window, resulting in this weird niche.
    As-bought





    Drywall removed, window light visible


    Master featured a closet built out from the taller wall.


    It moved, now encompasses the unused chimney chase.


    Tripping down memory lane here. I can't overemphasize the importance of taking progress photos!
    Last edited by Veloise; 08 Aug 2012 at 12:25 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    A building standard is for the toilet waste pipe to be 12+ inches from the wall. This has been the standard forever. So why do two of my three baths have the pipe closer? I need special order toilets and can't use the super-duper dual flush water saving ones I already have.
    What are you doing in my house? (Looks around, scared).

    I replaced our two toilets this week. BOTH were non-standard, even though this condo was built in 2003 and there was plenty of room to do it right. Oh. and the shutoff valves had decayed washers which needed to be replaced. BUT, there is no unit water shut off. I had to ask the condo association to turn off the water for the entire building.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    The only thing quirky in my house is me.

    I take that back. For some reason the previous owner decided to plant palm trees all around the house, but I'm talking within 4 feet of it. It's annoying to have to trim them all the time because big palm fronds keep rubbing up against a lot of the windows.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    This has been mentioned in another thread but we have the quirky toilet in the basement. It is there. All by its lonesome. I'm scared of it.
    I would only be afraid if it was self-flushing...

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    We have a ton of quirky things in our house...
    • We have a pass through that goes directly from the kitchen to the front door, under the main stairwell. That way the servants would not need to pass through the dining room and foyer to answer the door when guests arrived...
    • In the same cabinet, we have a 'food shoot' that allowed the cook to pass the food from the butlers pantry into the china cabinet and the other servant would take the food out of there and bring it into the dinning room. That way no one had to open the door. It is also 6 or 8 inches lower than modern cabinet heights...
    • The house originally had 5 built in dressers, including one in the servants bedroom...
    • We also have the original back staircase that goes from the kitchen to the servants bedroom.
    I don't get it... how come your servants aren't utilizing these features?


  15. #15
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    This has been mentioned in another thread but we have the quirky toilet in the basement. It is there. All by its lonesome. I'm scared of it.
    I had one of those, too. I had the plumber who put in the sump pump last summer take it out.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    I had one of those, too. I had the plumber who put in the sump pump last summer take it out.

    We're considering finishing our basement at some point and it would be nice to add a half-bath down there. But also good to know that it can be removed.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    The toilet in the middle of the floor is called a Pittsburgh Toilet, so I don't know why you others have one. When someone, usually the man of the house, came home from working in the mill or the coal mines, he went straight to the basement to wash up. My old house didn't have a basement toilet, but there was a shower in an open corner of the basement that was there for the same reason.

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