You are here:

Architecture/stairs, old house


Hi Richard,
I am studying the interior of a historic house called the "Countess House" in Rocks Village (Haverhill), MA. It was built around 1805. It has a staircase going to the second floor in the middle of the house. Half-way up, on the right, there are three steps leading to a door in the wall. I have a photograph, but I am not able to contact anyone who knows the interior of the house. I think it may be a linen closet. In the photograph, all I can see is the bottom third of the door, and the three steps (the stairs continue up and to the left).
Do you know what kind of room this door might have led to in 1800? If it was, indeed, a linen closet, how big would it have been--walk-in size? How common was this? How common is it now? I couldn't find any examples on Google. I can provide a photo, but you can see it in this online slideshow:
It's about the 10th image.

Steve - thanks for your question!

It's clear from the photos that the second floor of the 1800 addition is higher than the original 1750 house - it's also clear that the three steps were added later (they're really jammed in there!).

So it's not a closet that's in there, it's the whole second floor of the addition - probably a bedroom, or a couple of bedrooms.

18th century homes often had very low ceilings - so it's not a surprise that an addition built 50 years later would have a taller first floor...hence the stair!


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Richard Taylor, AIA


Ask me about all aspects of house, remodeling. , and room addition design and construction. Ask me about historic homes, renovation, and restoration. Ask me about materials and techniques, and about how you can get the best value for your design and construction dollar. Ask me how you can make your home a very special place. I can't, however, answer specific structural engineering questions in this forum - that's something you'll need on-site observation for.


I own a full-service residential architectural firm, and have been designing custom homes, remodelings, and room additions across the country since 1983. Check us out at Richard Taylor Architects and RTA Plans. I have written and been published extensively on the subject of residential architecture.

American Institute of Architects, City of Dublin Architectural Review Board, Vice Chair of City of Dublin Planning and Zoning Commission, American Planning Association, Board Member Historic Dublin Business Association, Past Editor of SPLASH (a software forum), Past Editor of Open Directory Project, Assistant Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America

Business First of Columbus, Suburban New Publications,, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch Residential Architect Custom Home Architect Remodeling Architect

Bachelor of Environmental Design (Architecture) Miami University 1983
For more about home design, check out my blog at Sense Of Place and join the conversation on our Facebook Page.

Awards and Honors
2010 Dublin Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year

©2017 All rights reserved.