Sunday, May 5, 2013


Big Frog and I had some time to prowl around Mechanicsburg today and went by Gaude1, our first apartment. Wow does it ever look great!

1 Gaude is short for Gaudeamus Igitur, our name for our first apartment. It's Latin for "Therefore, let us rejoice" and is also the name of a graduation hymn. And yes, we love 1) The Student Prince, 2) Mario Lanza, and 3) Dorothy L Sayers' Gaudy Night.

We're going with the assumption that our former upstairs neighbor followed through on his resolve to buy the duplex from our former landlord (who was a schlub, useless and laissez-faire) and really fix it up visually.

We had the front entrance to the left side as you face the duplex. Downstairs we had a straight string of rooms: our great room2, a tiny bathroom, a blank expanse of wall which was the back of our upstairs neighbors' doorway and stairs, an office3 and the kitchen4. In one corner of the greatroom was a wooden staircase with four 90-degree left turns and, at the top, one 90-degree right turn into our enormous bedroom, which was the only painted-and-stenciled room in the apartment: pink with red roses. It was a good thing we were young and in love. Also the rental price was extraordinarily low for a huge space. Closets would have been nice, though.

2 Loved that greatroom. Probably 20'x20', a vaulted ceiling that made our 7.5" fake tree look pint-sized, and a nonworking gas fireplace that we filled with pillar candles. We put in 15' worth of sectional sofa and a dining room table to bring the scale to something approaching normal.
3 Or instead of an office, a second bedroom. Big Frog had a roommate the first summer he was there; that worked out really well, actually.
4 And what a kitchen it was! Yellow with dark brown trim. An ugly, super shiny corrugated metal backsplash behind the stove that ran clear up to the ceiling. An island which was topped with two back-to-back pieces of laminate countertop with molding, which created an enormous bump in the middle.

So needless to say, it needed a lot of work to take it from workable5 to actually looking good! In our walk-by we were only on the outside looking at the cosmetic changes, but there's a lot to be said for curb appeal. For example, I don't remember the detailing on the roofline even being there, but it's so beautiful! I'm going to assume that either 1) it wasn't there before or 2) it was so obscured by the slowly-chipping paint that I never saw it.

5 Pretty low standards on that "workable". We were two college kids who were staying a year and did nothing for the place.

The exterior of the place was wood carved to make it look like enormous blocks of stone. The PNC Bank at the market square is authentically built of stone and is dated 1926.

source: Google Street View

Well, Gaude was the looks-like-it version in wood. But over time, the paint peeled and chipped away. When we moved there in 2000, it still looked like stone unless you looked closely. By the time Google Maps got around to photographing it in 2009, it looked exactly like what it was: horribly weather-beaten wood.

source: Google Street View

We were surprised at what a simple application of paint did for the visual!

Kudos to you, upstairs neighbor! Best wishes with Gaude.

No comments:

Post a Comment