Thursday, May 14, 2009


The office that I go to 3 days a week is in a building that was built in the 1890s. It was built in 3 stages and is hundreds of thousands of square feet. Not a day goes by that I don't marvel at the wonderful and amazing details of this place. The bathroom stalls are marble with doors of solid oak. Just one slab of that marble would make the most lovely counter top in my kitchen. There is a diamond-in-the-rough claw foot tub in one of the two bathrooms close to my office and a shower (you guessed it: marble stall!) in the other.

My own quite large office has 12 foot ceilings (at some point a horrible drop ceiling was added, bringing the actual height down several feet from the original 15!), a huge window and a closet. I marvel at the beautiful banisters and wooden handrails as I walk up the 3 flights of stairs each day (which, I suspect would be the equivalent of about 5 flights in a modern building with lower ceilings per floor!). Our fax machine stands on the most amazing old filing cabinet/card catalog/who knows what. My oak desk is huge, not necessarily ergonomically outfitted for a computer, but it has the coolest drawers--the top right one is only 2 inches deep! I also snagged a beautiful glass front curio in which I house personal photos and professional books. Oh how I long to sneak that baby home one evening!

Now, it isn't all antique beauty. When they added that drop ceiling they also plastered over the transom on my door, leaving a very odd-looking cut-off wooden door frame. I am lucky to have a window unit for air conditioning but the un-air-conditioned stairwells and hallways get awfully stuffy in July and August. Not to mention that, in winter, the heat comes from a very clanky radiator which is controlled in the basement and, I swear, kept going by mouse power! I choose to take the stairs partly for the exercise but also because the one (1!) elevator in the building is notoriously slow and often gets stuck--with and without passengers!--at or between floors.

In my first job out of college, I worked out of the carriage house behind the wonderful old Capitol Hill townhouse where my boss, her husband and 3 cats lived. We had full access to the kitchen and often had our staff meetings at the dining room table or on the back patio (always with a bottle of wine if it was 5pm or later!).

I wonder how I'll cope if I ever work in a traditional high rise office building or even--gasp!--a cubicle!


  1. I'd love to see that building. It sounds beautiful! I'm sure that it beats the basement office of a residence hall built 50 years ago:).

  2. You get used to the smell of your soul dying.


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