By definition, the parlor floor (or parlour floor in Canadian) is the second floor in a townhouse. In its original form, the building’s front steps accessed the parlor floor. The parlor is traditionally the grandest floor in the townhouse and almost always has the building’s highest ceilings. Historically, these floors were used for entertaining with two rooms separated by a staircase. These rooms were usually living rooms, libraries or formal dining rooms.
Our parlor floor will be somewhat historically accurate but let’s face it, times have changed, and our parlor floor will have to include the living, dining and kitchen area. It will also have a shared entrance with the rental unit that will be on the top floor. Not the grand entrance we’d like but sometimes you have to accept the financial realities.
Like the garden floor, we were given three options for the parlor floor. You’ll note that on all the plans there is an entrance way between the dining room and the kitchen. This is an original pocket door that we want to retain. Although there might be options that are better without it—our goal is to keep some of the house’s original detail intact and we don’t want to take the chance of damaging it by moving it around.
In this first option, the powder room we planned for this floor is in the extension planned for the back of the house. The kitchen area is pushed toward the middle of the house. This was our original idea because the current full bath is in the extension in this part of the house. For this option the left wall in dining area is opened up with an archway, and as true New Yorkers, there is a little closet added because we can never have enough closet space.
The pros: This option leaves space for a small table and chairs in the back corner by the deck which might be nice. Installing the powder room will be easy because it will be in the new construction. We can put a window in the powder room, which has the obvious advantages especially because it is near the kitchen area.
The cons: We give up one of our fireplaces and the placement of the bathroom on the back of the house removes some wall space which could contain nice windows allowing additional light into the kitchen.
In option number two, the kitchen is moved to the back of the house. The half bath is moved toward the middle of the floor. For this plan, our architect devised a nifty little built-in off the dining room that could be a china closet or built in book shelves.The obvious pros to this option is that we keep the fireplace (non-working but hopefully working one day) in the kitchen, which will look nice. It also still allows us space in the kitchen corner for a table.
The cons: There is not many but the bathroom opens up in the middle of the kitchen.
In plan number three, the kitchen is L shaped and there is no island. This option opens up the kitchen to provide lots of cupboard space and room for a table. The fire place mantle is taken out and a pantry is put in its place. Our apartment now has a pantry and I love it.
The china closet is gone in this option but could still be added in or we could leave it as is and add the hall closet back in. We could also move the pantry to the other side of the powder room.
Since the extension will leave us with a long and thin building, natural light is something that we want to maximize and will factor into our final choice.