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Would you keep it?

Posted by palimpsest (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 21:44

From Curbed Philly:

This was uncovered in the renovation of a row house. The house next door was once the last of the row.

Would you keep it? Cover it? It's so large it extends through several rooms and floor to floor. The problem would be sound transmission from the neighboring house.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Would you keep it?

If I were going for the industrial look and the neighbors were quiet as church mice, and if my name were Weller (or whatever it says), I'd keep it. If i cover it up with drywall, it will still always be there, so i wouldn't be destroying anything. It could be my little secret. I'd take a picture, though.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Keep it, without a doubt.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Oh yeah, big time. But I am Restoration Hardware, black/white/sepia/faux-history lemming, willing to pay huge markups for things that glorify the industrial blue collar past I would never have wanted to actually be part of...


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RE: Would you keep it?

It says "Snellenberg's Clothing Co." upstairs and
"Passyunk Avenue" downstairs.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Way cool......free and original art!


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RE: Would you keep it?

Definitely wouldn't want to cover it but also wouldn't want to hear the neighbor's TV. Could you frame in some transoms or a big open backed bookshelf? Leave the shelves in front of the text open and fill the other shelves to absorb some of the sound.

It would be hard to pull off but would be worth it.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Keep


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RE: Would you keep it?

I would keep it in a heart beat. I think it is perfect for a bathroom too. If you later tire of it it could always be covered with drywall again.


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RE: Would you keep it?

You're kidding me. There really was a Snellenberg's? I thought my Dad made that up. Whenever we referred to a department store, he would change the name to Snellenberg's, to dismissively denote all department store. Like you might call something a "Watchimicallit".

Too funny.


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RE: Would you keep it?

It looks amazing!! I'd want to know how many bricks thick the "party wall" is. One? You'd better have super quiet neighbours. Three....would be more like it. I guess it's obvious that used to be an exterior wall so it's likely fairly well insulated from the neighbours...in which case, keep for life! Plus since it's painted you probably don't have to worry about brick dust.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 23:31


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RE: Would you keep it?

Yep. Keep and love it. Lots of industrial chic and steampunk in that space! :)


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RE: Would you keep it?

Keep, keep, keep. And buy earplugs if noise is a problem.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Keep (not that not keeping is likely easy or possible) and would frame it out.


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RE: Would you keep it?

I'd be looking at how to keep it in at least some of the rooms.


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RE: Would you keep it?

I would try to keep it. The problem with noise is not just if you hear the neighbors, but if they hear you! If the neighbors were approachable, I might consider the feasibility of offering to forking over some money to beef up the sound buffer on their interior. They might consider that a nice freebie, for one or more rooms, and it would be a win on my side, too.


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RE: Would you keep it?

My Mom took me to Snellenbergs. What a neat surprise. Would love to see them keep it. Just for curiosity, what area is that house located? I hope they keep it.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Noise transmission through brick?? Really? Seems unlikely. Absolutely I would seal it and keep it.


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RE: Would you keep it?

I'll be the lone dissenting voice here...not my style, out it would go. Maybe, just maybe, if I could remove some of it carefully to be framed and hung on a real wall....maybe a few of the letters....or photograph it to be made into a big poster, but it's not for me.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Keep some of it, but wouldn't want it in every room.


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Oh that's FANTASTIC. I would keep it, seal it, decorate around it, and then I'd sell tickets to come in and see it.

I want it. I want it now.

I looked it up. It's in Fishtown, near Philly, and they ARE going to incorporate the lettering into the renovation.

Here's more about it:

Here is a link that might be useful: Fishtown house

This post was edited by mclarke on Fri, Aug 1, 14 at 7:37


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RE: Would you keep it?

Actually noise transmission through masonry construction like this is a problem. When part of my brick was exposed in my last renovation, we could pick up bits of conversation and identify certain noises like the squeaky attic trapdoor in our neighbors place.

In this house I can hear my neighbors in the basement.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Thanks MC. I haven't been to the Fishtown area for years. I went to school at the original St. Mary's Hospital there in 1971 to be a lab technician before a BS degree was required. Nice to see they are revitalizing that part of the city. Maybe I'll take a drive through that street this weekend.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Whether I would keep it depends upon the overall plan for decorating the house. If I was already planning on an industrial chic look I'd incorporate the walls into the decor. If I was planning on some style with which the painted brick walls made no sense, I would cover them up in a red hot minute. Lots of original features of buildings are removed, covered over or are unused when they do not serve the lifestyle needs of the current owners. Those painted walls are more nostalgic than historic, IMO.


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RE: Would you keep it?

I would try to keep some, perhaps in the room or area where sound transfer is less likely to be a concern, if there is such an area.


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RE: Would you keep it?

I'd definitely keep it. I love interior brick walls, and the lettering is an added bonus. Such character.

Funny, though ... if it were newly done, I'd think it was too try-hard. It's the fact that it's "real" is why I love it.


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RE: Would you keep it?

It actually extends through the whole house, I think. It was a billboard essentially.

I guess part of the decision would be related to whether you would live in a house that is 12 or 14 feet wide and in a transitional neighborhood to begin with. I wouldn't at this point in my life, and I think I want something more "formal" as a house. But if I found this I might leave it exposed even if was inside closets.

I knew someone who lived in a very large house that was essentially a "ruin" and could not afford to fully restore the ornamental plaster and frescoes that covered parts of the walls and ceilings, so they covered over most of it but left "windows" of the best parts of the ornament exposed like archaeology.


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RE: Would you keep it?

i definitely couldn't deal with sound transmission from another home!! but, if i were 20 something and more used to living close to others, i might think it was cool and worth the noise and lack of privacy!


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RE: Would you keep it?

Keep, without a doubt.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Look, it's not the original Declaration of Independence. A curiosity--but unless you are going for that industrial look, I'd make a little brass plaque, stick it in the corner somewhere and indicate for the future owners that this old curiosity exists if they feel like tearing down the sheetrock.


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RE: Would you keep it?

So cool, keep it, keep it, keep it!!!


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RE: Would you keep it?

Vedazu expressed the way I feel about it pretty well. I probably wouldn't bother with the brass plaque, but I would probably take pictures before covering the sign and keep those to pass along to the next owner.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Keep it because it's ready-made decor and I could rent to hipsters and use the place for $$$ photo shoots!

If that was the end wall and this house was added, it has a couple extra layers of brick AND no through-the-wall plumbing runs or support beams to transmit sound from the other side.

Should be OK.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Absolutely but then I am one who never gives up until the final bubble is coming from my nose and toes are blue.


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RE: Would you keep it?

I love the stuff you dig up, Pal. I would be so torn about what to do. I absolutely love treasures like this and would so enjoy seeing it every day. It's one of those things you just can't buy. On the other hand, I am hyper-sensitive to other people's noise and would probably go nuts listening to the neighbors. In the end I suppose I would carefully cover it but not until taking lots of photos to frame. Maybe make wallpaper out of the photos and put it up on the walls that cover the lettering. Now that would be weird.

I remember hearing the name Snellenburg's while growing up but can't remember shopping there. Since they closed in 1962, I was still shopping with my mother in the 'burbs, not downtown too often.

Here is a link that might be useful: Snellenburg


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RE: Would you keep it?

It's definitely cool and I'd want to keep a little of it. Maybe the bit in the stairway or a piece in a seldom used room (but in a small row is there a seldom used room?). Too large a portion would be unsettling. My mind would always be trying to complete the word or saying. I'd also feel like the letters were shouting at me (like those wall signs LIVE LOVE LAUGH).


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RE: Would you keep it?

"Maybe make wallpaper out of the photos and put it up on the walls that cover the lettering. Now that would be weird."

I think that would be kind of interesting. And no weirder than what they did with the Teddy Roosevelt birthplace in NYC: The brownstone was already demolished, but they bought the lot and duplicated the house and Then tore down the twin to it next door to build a museum annex.

Why not just keep the twin, which was at least original and There when the Roosevelts lived in an identical house next door and build the annex on the old site?

At least the wallpaper would not have any effect on the original, covering the drywall over top.


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RE: Would you keep it?

'Hate it', being said in my best imitation voice as Sara's 'boy', Tommy! I don't care for anything that's 'speaks' industrial in nature, but unlike mtn'dux, did come from a home where my 'blue collar' Father made his living in the industry, as that was what kept the small mid-western town in existence. I feel fortunate to have experienced both sides of the of the spectrum. In saying you 'would never actually want to be part of it', but will 'glorify it's existence' since it's become a part of decorating per se, is a total snubbing of the many men AND women who worked in 'factories', but maybe that's just my personal take on your written word.

I say leave 'industrial design' where it belongs, in 'factories'! Seeing it used in homes gives the idea it's being romanticized, when in fact it's the total opposite. It was a time when, and still is, a means to an end, the 'end' result in providing for a family by making a living. Beauty *is* in the eye of the beholder, but the whole idea screams offensive to myself, and maybe others where it *is* a reality of everyday life. Now I'll get off my soapbox. ;)


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RE: Would you keep it?

Mclarke, Fishtown is actually an area IN Philadelphia.

I would not have to think twice. I would keep it! You do find the most fun houses/articles! :)


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RE: Would you keep it?

I think you misconstrued what mtnrdredux said, or at least what was intended.

I think if you were recreating something like this (like Restoration Hardware does) it might be romanticizing something, but this is a real billboard that ended up existing inside a real house in a real working-class neighborhood (still is, for the most part) where some of the clothing actually sold at Snellenbergs-- when it was at that location-- may have been produced in one of the factories that were once a part of this same neighborhood. I don't think that's romanticizing anything, I think it's acknowledging a part of history.

That said I think to cover it up or leave it is a matter of personal opinion.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Pattycakes, that's a pretty harsh view. My grandmother was one of only two women that worked at Pullman Standard back in the day. She made the stencils for the wording/designs on the sides of railroad cars. I think she would love this "art" and wouldn't think of it as offensive at all! DH family has a lot of ironworkers and they are a proud bunch as well.

She's on the far left:

I wrote an article named Spooktacular Design that featured this owl. I researched and found it to be a modern version of the Owl Cigar ads. I think it's really cool.

This post was edited by allison0704 on Fri, Aug 1, 14 at 21:26


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RE: Would you keep it?

LOVE the brick! I think it's beautiful because it speaks of a time long gone. It has real patina, real history of real people. When you spend time with older people who did things we never do or don't have to do nowadays, it makes you appreciate things like this all the more. It's one of the reasons why I cherish the quilts I have. There is definitely "something" about things with a history. I would absolutely keep it in at least one room!


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RE: Would you keep it?

I didn't read all the responses, but I would pick one room to keep it. And I would choose which room based on the activity for that room, and if feasible, consulting with the neighbors about the activity in the adjacent room. With as many rooms as it spans, it seems like there should be some combination of room uses where noise won't be a major issue.

Oakland has lots of this kind of thing visible on the exterior of old buildings. I find them fascinating.


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RE: Would you keep it?

Pattycakes,

My post was to poke fun at myself and all the other yuppies (or whatever they call it now) who pay a lot of money for this industrial stuff. Whether it be furniture or exposed pipes in the loft, old brick, etc. I find fondness for industrial decor ironic and a little maybe, condescending (again including myself in this). Let me also make my politics clear -- I am a pretty liberal democrat and pro-labor. And I am certainly not to-the-manor-born in any sense!

One of my favorite pieces is a "Belgian work table" (supposedly; I'm always skeptical). I really like it and the fact that it has numbered drawers and a banged up top, and was never made too well to begin with.

I owned it a while when it occurred to me, that, paying inflated prices (btw, although it would be relevant, I won't share what I paid because sometimes people get riled AND because it was stupid of me!) for a relic of hardworking men and women who may have only eked out a living, was kind of tone deaf. I was romanticizing, maybe trivializing their hard work. I was waxing nostalgic about a time in history when we made things. But did I care much about the people, or just the artefacts? My grandparents were blue collar but they didn't want their children or grandchildren to be. And here I was saying "isn't this cool? This is where real actual sweatshop people used to sit! Isn't it the greatest stand for my big-screen TV!?

So that is why I posted as such:

"Oh yeah, big time. But I am Restoration Hardware, black/white/sepia/faux-history lemming, willing to pay huge markups for things that glorify the industrial blue collar past I would never have wanted to actually be part of..."


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RE: Would you keep it?

WOW, would love to find this in a house. Would also be willing to pay more for a house with this. Love it!


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