A Surprise in the Vestibule - Juniper Home

A Surprise in the Vestibule


The other day I had our shop-vac out (P.S. shop-vacs are life-changing) and was cleaning up the common area in the main front door of the brownstone, which we share with our upstairs neighbors. There’s this really nasty, unfortunate commercial grade carpet everywhere in there and it’s dark blue-gray so it shows every spec of dust, every sliver of newspaper. I pretty much hate it.

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Since my shopvac is so shockingly powerful, I kept accidentally sucking and pulling up the carpet piece on the vestibule floor. Suddenly I saw a flash of black and white tile under the carpet. 
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I felt like Charlie when he saw the little twinkle of the golden ticket so he ripped away the chocolate bar wrapper as fast as possible. That old carpet was up quicker than you can say “carrara marble with soapstone.”
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After vacuuming and wiping up decades of dirt, I couldn’t have been happier about my surprise discovery. It’s definitely not perfect, condition-wise, but I love this 106 year-old original floor. Such character!
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And isn’t this simple pattern a great design? Gracie says “It looks like chocolate chip ice cream or a Queen’s fur coat.” Love that girl and the way she sees the world.
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What did you think?
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74 thoughts on “A Surprise in the Vestibule

  1. You have some chemical cleaners which are used where I live for cleaning tombstones. You need a mask and gloves to work with it but the stone comes out very clean. You might need that for your "threshold" stone.

  2. Thanks for bringing back a happy memory–my first apartment had black and white hex tile in vestibule (which I too scrubbed!) I then painted the (long) flight of stairs leading to my apartment, chinese red. Made my day, everyday!

  3. I love this! I was enjoying the whole amazing story, but Gracie's observations are what really got me. :D It does look like those things (queen's fur coat made me literally lol).

  4. Great find! As kids, our parents had bought a row house in Park Slope. One day, my brother and I were rough housing and accidentally punched a hole in a passageway wall between the dining room and the large kitchen. My father shone a flashlight into the hole to ascertain if a stud was near the hole so an easy repair could be made and discovered a treasure instead. Long story short, someone had walled in a solid mahogany and lead glass floor to ceiling built-in server/sideboard! After tearing away the last of the wallboard, all the perfectly intact details were revealed. A quick vacuum and polish and it looked like a servant was ready to lay a porcelain service for tea – was Mom surprised when she came home. Never know what people are thinking when they cover such beauty…

  5. Dear Caitlin,

    In answer to your question:

    NYC brownstones have a high outdoor staircase, known as a "stoop" from the old Dutch. The house is probably split horizontally, with Jen having the areaway or half basement/garden floor and the main, or parlour floor, with an internal staircase between. The main door on the parlour floor, would lead to the vestibule, a long hall and a grander staircase rising to the upper level (or two) When these homes became multiple dwelling, the long hall was often sealed at one end (and became a long closet for those living on the parlour floor) so the upper tenant could just walk upstairs to their flat. The staircase is always at the the extreme left or right of the building's interior, leaving the rest of the floor free for larger rooms.

  6. I hate to be a sourpuss, but I'll bet that floor is slippery when wet. With today's litigiousness that may be why there was a cover-up… I don't want to rain on your parade, but your landlord may not be pleased that the marble is now exposed.

  7. THAT. IS. AMAZING! what a fun find. that would have made my week – and what a great surprise to see every time you walk out your door now!

  8. THAT. IS. AMAZING! what a fun find. that would have made my week – and what a great surprise to see every time you walk out your door now!

  9. Lovely! I like Grace's comments. And I'm also curious about the shop-vac. Was that the solution to your Dyson/ Miele dilemma? Do you use it for every job?

  10. Oh wow! Talk about a lucky find! Nothing is prettier than natural stone floors :) Now if only I had that luck when we pulled up the carpet from our front porch…

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