July 13, 2003

A Virtual Tour of Our Amsterdam Apartment

Approaching Our Apartment

Here is our building, looking west down the Sarphatistraat. Although our address is Sarphatistraat 34-B, our front door is on the side of the building, facing the Huddestraat, on the right side of the image.

Here is the back of the building, looking up the Huddestraat from the canal toward the Sarphatistraat. You can see our front doorway and the garage behind the building. The two levels of windows above the garage are our apartment.

Downstairs

Here is our very yellow front door. You reach it by climbing two flights of stairs set, unusually for Amsterdam, at an angle that does not require specialized climbing equipment, ropes, and a safety harness. The American-style stairway was a large factor in our decision to take this apartment.

Welcome to our apartment! This is the room that holds our front door, our coat closet, our main table, dog Foudi's couch, and our guest bed. What to call this combination entry, foyer, front hall, dining room, sitting room, and guest quarters? This calls for the neologistic talents of J.K. Rowling. Pending a better suggestion from you, our virtual guests, we'll call it the parlor.

Another view of same.

Like most rooms that do not see much use, our parlor photographs well.

Here is the back wall of the parlor, featuring the antique dining-room chairs (right) that came with the apartment and Foudi's couch (left). We added the striped cover; the couch features some of the most hideous floral upholstery imaginable.

On the first floor we have decorative ceilings like this one. Well, exactly like this one; this is the parlor, but the ceiling in the living room is identical.

Our furniture is old, in a good way. The table in the parlor, for example, features these nicely carved feet. Some say these are dragons blowing fire on various nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Others see vomiting dogs. Who's to say?

Here is a closer view of the guest bed.

Our back deck, the roof of the building's garage. The back deck is a step up from the parlor and through the windows.

Another back deck view.

Looking from the parlor to the Sarphatistraat windows across the living room.

And now the view from the windows over Sarphatistraat back into the living room.

Outside the living room's French Doors a small terrace projects over the Sarphatistraat.

Here is out little TV and stereo, which sit on two tables in the corner of the living room. Note the little black statue on the table on the right. It's an ebony dog head that could be a caricature of Foudi given to us by Karin & Arne when they visited from London.

Tucked next to the stairs and under the bathroom you'll find our kitchen. Thanks to the high ceiling and bright window, it feels much more spacious than it is.

On a rickety shelf next to the window sits the oven. A barely functional microwave was here when we moved in, but we figured we'd use an oven more than a microwave. And we've been right. However, most Dutch ovens, like this one, are little more than glorified toaster ovens. The proximity of the food to the heating elements adds an element of danger not present in American ovens, as demonstrated by the Great Taco Fire of '03.

Looking back from the middle of the kitchen you can see our fridge on the right and the stairs out the door. The fridge is large by Dutch standards, and good even by American standards. And, like all refrigerators here, it is disguised behind cabinet doors that match the rest of the kitchen cabinetry. Americans want to show off their kitchen appliances; the Dutch want to maintain plausible deniability that maybe they don't own any appliances at all.

Upstairs

This precipitous view shows the interior stairs. The landlord only added handrails after we made it a non-negotiable condition in our negotiations. Even with railings, much of the ascent of K2 is easier and safer than the climb up our stairs.

The steps lead onto a small landing, which offers some of the only storage space in the apartment. Here we have a bathroom cabinet and a clothes rack.

We use the front room upstairs as an office.

Well, an office with a clothes wardrobe that doesn't fit in the bedroom and a lot of empty floor space we use to set up clothes drying racks.

Looking from the office into the bedroom.

In our bedroom. Very yellow, but in a pleasing way.

Our bed.

If this was Star Trek, we'd call this the Auxiliary Entryway. When guests stay with us, this door in our bedroom becomes our front door. It leads to the starwell, but a floor above our Primary Entryway.

Posted by R. Scott Rogers at July 13, 2003 03:16 PM