“I realized I hadn’t been up to my library in six months. My wife pointed out that neither of us had been to the parlor in the last three,” art dealer Otto Naumann recently confessed to The Observer. “We were basically living on two floors.”
The Naumanns’ townhouse on East 78th Street had five, in addition to an elevator meant to relieve the headache of traveling between them. Perversely, the couple quickly discovered that the elevator made it easier not to get around the house. They were bypassing entire floors without so much as a glimpse from the stair landing for weeks, even months. Prized possessions, like a beloved boat sculpture, were stranded in neglected corners. After two years of rattling around the brownstone behemoth, they admitted defeat and retreated to a 2,500-square-foot cond-op.
They weren’t the first, or only, townhouse dwellers to find the vastness and verticality of their home daunting. While such residents would seem to be living the dream—the exceedingly common one in which the dreamer discovers extra, hidden, previously unexplored rooms in his or her own house—it can sometimes feel more like a nightmare. Read More