Row House Improvements – Living Room

Welcome to the ongoing record of the things we’ve done to our 1832 Federal row house in Philadelphia. I have a horrible memory so this helps me keep track of when we do things.

This is our living room shortly after we moved in. Like most small row houses, the front door leads right into the room without a vestibule. The original color  matched our sofa but was very dark for wall and ceiling color.

1832 row house living room

Turning to the left is our fireplace and built in shelving. Frank was able to reinforce the brackets and add more shelves.

1832 row house living room

The extension makes the room very narrow and long, which is hard to decorate and the extension is more narrow than the front of the room. Originally, we had the room open. The dark colors didn’t help the lighting, even with the full wall of sliding door glass.

1832 row house living room

This is a side-by-side of the living room closet. Initially, we put our desk in there. On the right is the actual lighting, even during the middle of the day, the left is a lightened shot in Photoshop. This area was painted a beige-taupe color, which was a little much compared to the dark green of the other half of the room.

1832 row house living room

We choose a yellow color from the Colonial Williamsburg paint pallet. The yellow is warm and cozy. The white ceiling, which is the highest in the house at about 9 feet, brightens the room significantly. It was Frank’s idea to use the bookcase to split the room into two sections. Instead of making the room smaller, it actually makes it seem bigger. And it’s nice to have a separate office area.

1832 row house living room

The office area. Behind, the closet has doors which make the area a lot more tidy.


We replaced the small shelves with a pseudo mantle arrangement. We’re looking for an antique but for now this does the trick.

1832 row house living room

The original house ended at the stairs. The four rooms of the house each occupy a different floor. Here are the stairs going down to the kitchen and upstairs to the second floor. They’re small, wedge shaped and you have to take your time going up and down.

1832 row house living room


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