Living in History

Historic Brownstone apartments require TLC and a level of understanding for the person lucky enough to dwell in one. We own and manage over 20 turn-of-the-century buildings in Saint Paul which sort of makes us brownstone experts. The advantages of living in these buildings include unique built-ins, original hardwood floors, large windows, high ceilings, claw foot bathtubs, and beautiful woodwork throughout.

Along with beauty comes a few challenges. The original plumbing doesn’t allow for heavy water pressure appliances like dishwashers. And the radiator providing heat does not allow for central air conditioning which requires an air duct system. So, you give up a few conveniences for the sake of historic charm.

Let us guide you through some helpful hints for living in a historic building with claw foot bathtubs, gas ranges, and radiant heating.

Claw Foot Bathtub

Our charming claw foot bathtubs are fun to soak in, but a challenge to shower in. We’ve installed a circular curtain rod to remedy that. If you have an older tub positioned away from the wall, you’ll need three shower curtains hanging on the rod to cover the entire circumference of the tub.

We’ve seen extensive water damage on the walls, window frames, and floor in apartments with improper shower curtains. Remember to keep your curtains inside the tub during use to avoid flooding the apartment below you. Taking care with your claw foot bathtub will save needless and costly repair (for which you may be liable).

Gas Range

The stove and oven range for you apartment is fueled by natural gas. On occasion the pilot light for your range may go out and emit a faint smell of natural gas into the apartment. Do not be alarmed as it is only a very trace amount of gas. Depending on the model of stove in your apartment, the pilot lights can be re-lit by following these steps:

  • If you have small vent slots between the front and back burner, take a lit match or lighter and place it into the opening until a small blue flame appears.
  • If there are no vents as described above, remove the grates from the burners and lift the top of the stove by pulling up on the front lip (above the oven door). You will find two small pilot light burners between the from and back stove burners. Hold a flame up to these small burners and the pilot lights should re-light.

Radiant Heating

Your building is equipped with a radiant heating system that used hot water heated by a central boiler. We have added modern upgrades, such as exterior temperature overrides, in order to conserve energy and maximize your comfort level. Yes – unlike forced-air heating systems used in newer apartment buildings, the pipe based system in your building takes some time to heat up and cool down. Follow these steps to ensure that your apartment is heated properly.

  • Keep furniture at least six inches away from baseboards.
  • Make sure your heating vents are all the way open.
  • Adjust your thermostat to increase the frequency with which heated water is allowed to circulate through your apartment.
  • Keep all interior windows closed at all times during the winter season. Opening windows to cool your apartment will only generate greater heating output.
  • If you do not have an internal wall mounted thermostat, please contact the rental office.

We strive to maintain your apartment temperature between 68 and 72 degrees in the winter months. If your apartment temperature is above or below that range, simply complete an online maintenance request and we will service your request as soon as possible.