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Author Topic: Weird features spotted while house hunting  (Read 185217 times)

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Dindrane

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #345 on: November 09, 2011, 08:32:29 AM »
In this day of wireless high-speed internet being so easily accessible to most people, I would agree that having spots hard-wired for internet connectivity in out-of-the-way spots is definitely a good thing.  What I imagine can be weird about it all, though, is that what seems like a fantastic spot to one person might be the weirdest most frustrating thing to another. :)

And speaking of hard-wired connectivity, I remembered one somewhat odd feature in my own apartment.  My apartment itself is actually a little bizarre.  The weirdest feature is that all the light switches are a good 6 inches lower than you'd typically expect them -- they're about level with your average doorknob.  Since I'm on the first floor, it could be to make the apartment accessible...except for the fact that the bathroom and bedroom doorways are quite a bit narrower than standard doors, and certainly not wide enough for a wheelchair.

But the connectivity thing that is really weird is the cable jack in the living room.  The living room itself is just a big square that looks kind of like this:

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|                                                     |
|                                                     |
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|                                                     |
|                                                     |
|                                                     
|                                                     
-------------------------------------------

The narrow gap on the left is an opening that leads to a teensy hallway thing where the bedroom and bathroom doors are.  The large gap at the top is an opening that leads to the kitchen.  The gap on the bottom right is the front door to the apartment.  So the walls themselves are basically two "L"s -- the short side of the shorter one is only about 3 feet across.  There are also two distinct pathways that can't really have much in the way of furniture -- from the front door to the kitchen and from the kitchen to the bedroom/bathroom.

Whoever built this apartment decided that the best place for a cable jack would be right in the corner of the small L.  So it's on a wall that is 3 feet away from a natural and necessary pathway to the bedroom/bathroom.  If I were to put a tv in that spot, I'd have the tv on one wall, and the only place to put the couch would be on the other side of the room (15 feet away).  If I tried to put the tv anywhere else in the apartment at all, I'd have a cable cord across a walkway.

Fortunately, I don't pay for cable so I don't need the jack, but it's still an odd placement.  I suppose I might be the weird one for putting a desk and a bunch of bookshelves in the living room along with my couch and television, but the room is 15 feet square -- it's really quite large.  Plus, I have a 20 inch non-flat-screen tv that I would not be able to see very well if it were across the room, and this apartment complex was built in the early 90s.  Cable television certainly existed then, but affordable large televisions (or any sort of flat-screen) certainly did not.


camlan

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #346 on: November 09, 2011, 08:38:56 AM »
In this day of wireless high-speed internet being so easily accessible to most people, I would agree that having spots hard-wired for internet connectivity in out-of-the-way spots is definitely a good thing.  What I imagine can be weird about it all, though, is that what seems like a fantastic spot to one person might be the weirdest most frustrating thing to another. :)

And speaking of hard-wired connectivity, I remembered one somewhat odd feature in my own apartment.  My apartment itself is actually a little bizarre.  The weirdest feature is that all the light switches are a good 6 inches lower than you'd typically expect them -- they're about level with your average doorknob.  Since I'm on the first floor, it could be to make the apartment accessible...except for the fact that the bathroom and bedroom doorways are quite a bit narrower than standard doors, and certainly not wide enough for a wheelchair.

But the connectivity thing that is really weird is the cable jack in the living room.  The living room itself is just a big square that looks kind of like this:

----------------------------                  |
|                                                     |
|                                                     |
                                                      |
                                                      |
|                                                     |
|                                                     |
|                                                     |
|                                                     
|                                                     
-------------------------------------------

The narrow gap on the left is an opening that leads to a teensy hallway thing where the bedroom and bathroom doors are.  The large gap at the top is an opening that leads to the kitchen.  The gap on the bottom right is the front door to the apartment.  So the walls themselves are basically two "L"s -- the short side of the shorter one is only about 3 feet across.  There are also two distinct pathways that can't really have much in the way of furniture -- from the front door to the kitchen and from the kitchen to the bedroom/bathroom.

Whoever built this apartment decided that the best place for a cable jack would be right in the corner of the small L.  So it's on a wall that is 3 feet away from a natural and necessary pathway to the bedroom/bathroom.  If I were to put a tv in that spot, I'd have the tv on one wall, and the only place to put the couch would be on the other side of the room (15 feet away).  If I tried to put the tv anywhere else in the apartment at all, I'd have a cable cord across a walkway.

Fortunately, I don't pay for cable so I don't need the jack, but it's still an odd placement.  I suppose I might be the weird one for putting a desk and a bunch of bookshelves in the living room along with my couch and television, but the room is 15 feet square -- it's really quite large.  Plus, I have a 20 inch non-flat-screen tv that I would not be able to see very well if it were across the room, and this apartment complex was built in the early 90s.  Cable television certainly existed then, but affordable large televisions (or any sort of flat-screen) certainly did not.

I always figure weird placements like that are the fault of the installer finding the easiest place to do the install, and somehow convincing the homeowners it's a good thing. In the days before cordless phones, I had an apartment with phone jacks placed like your cable jack--tucked way into the corners of the living room and bedroom, on short walls where you couldn't put a bed or a table or a chair. Until I found longer phone cords, I had to stand or sit on the floor every time I was on the phone.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Dindrane

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #347 on: November 09, 2011, 09:09:33 AM »
I always figure weird placements like that are the fault of the installer finding the easiest place to do the install, and somehow convincing the homeowners it's a good thing. In the days before cordless phones, I had an apartment with phone jacks placed like your cable jack--tucked way into the corners of the living room and bedroom, on short walls where you couldn't put a bed or a table or a chair. Until I found longer phone cords, I had to stand or sit on the floor every time I was on the phone.

I agree. :)  Sometimes weird placements can be directly related to the age of the building, too.  I have a phone jack in the kitchen with no outlets anywhere nearby -- the two closest are on the other side of the refrigerator and across the walkway.  So not only is a cordless phone in the kitchen pretty much out of the question, we also have a really odd set-up to make our DSL work.  Either the power cord or the phone cord has to snake around a wall.  But, since this apartment was built before high-speed internet even existed, and I think even before cordless phones were common, it's understandable that nobody would have thought an outlet near the phone jack was necessary.  It does mean that I have to talk on the phone in the kitchen while blocking the doorway, though, since the phone is attached to the wall.

I also tend to have an issue with outlets in general.  Any apartment is going to have outlets in not-the-most-convenient places because they tend to just be scattered evenly throughout the rooms rather than placed in any sort of specific plan.  But because this apartment is older, I don't have anywhere near enough outlets.  People didn't used to have three computers, two cell phones, and a couple of iPods in addition to general household things (tv, fans, lamps, etc.) all in one 2-person household. :P


VorFemme

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #348 on: November 09, 2011, 09:18:04 AM »
We built a home in 1998 and the phone line installer was told to pre-wire for TWO lines and use the insulated wiring so that that there wouldn't be "cross-talk" when both lines were in use (DSL modem or two different phone conversations).  He didn't think that would be a problem...........and so we ended up getting a cable modem and cutting back to ONE phone line a bit later...............we also had outlets for phone & cable in the sewing/laundry room, two places in the master bedroom (office "alcove" extension off the square bedroom), but no phone line in the living room (ran line through a "window" into the kitchen), and TWO hot water heaters (still miss that feature).  No hot water had to run from one end of the house to the other because the two bedrooms at one end of the house had their own, smaller hot water heater for that bathroom.  The larger one over the master bedroom also heated the water for laundry and kitchen. 

There were several places where our needs were not communicated clearly between VorGuy and the builder/various trades.............but dual hot water heaters cut down a lot of fussing in the morning!  The kids and the grownups didn't use the same water heater.............

Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?

magicdomino

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #349 on: November 09, 2011, 09:38:07 AM »
But because this apartment is older, I don't have anywhere near enough outlets.  People didn't used to have three computers, two cell phones, and a couple of iPods in addition to general household things (tv, fans, lamps, etc.) all in one 2-person household. :P

Yup.  My 1950's house has one outlet per wall.  Maybe.  Almost all of them are connected to at least one extention cord of one sort or another.  Whenever I have done any new construction, whether remodeling the kitchen, rebuilding the basement walls, or adding the master suite, I insist on lots of outlets.  The walk-in closet has two sets of four for recharging stuff.  The electrician gave me a funny look, but I explained about a friend's master bathroom outlet with a 6 outlet extender, all with something plugged in.   There is no such thing as too many outlets. 

Black Delphinium

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #350 on: November 09, 2011, 09:46:19 AM »
There is no such thing as too many outlets.
Well, as long as you have the circuit breakers to handle them. :)
When angels go bad, they go worse than anyone. Remember, Lucifer was an angel. ~The Marquis De Carabas

camlan

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #351 on: November 09, 2011, 09:56:19 AM »
But because this apartment is older, I don't have anywhere near enough outlets.  People didn't used to have three computers, two cell phones, and a couple of iPods in addition to general household things (tv, fans, lamps, etc.) all in one 2-person household. :P

Yup.  My 1950's house has one outlet per wall.  Maybe.  Almost all of them are connected to at least one extention cord of one sort or another.  Whenever I have done any new construction, whether remodeling the kitchen, rebuilding the basement walls, or adding the master suite, I insist on lots of outlets.  The walk-in closet has two sets of four for recharging stuff.  The electrician gave me a funny look, but I explained about a friend's master bathroom outlet with a 6 outlet extender, all with something plugged in.   There is no such thing as too many outlets.

Age of the house has a lot to do with it. I rented one house built in 1920. Two outlets per room. Ceiling lights with pull cords, not wall switches.

My current place is 110 years old--originally it had gas lighting. Fortunately, a previous owner had the entire place rewired, and most rooms have at least one outlet per wall. They didn't run the wires through the walls (old plaster walls), so there's a lot of those wire duct covers running along baseboards and even a few ceilings, but that's nothing to the joy of having enough outlets.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Dindrane

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #352 on: November 09, 2011, 09:58:29 AM »
There is no such thing as too many outlets.
Well, as long as you have the circuit breakers to handle them. :)

Yes. :)  I discovered in an unpleasant way recently that my coffee maker, electric kettle, and toaster are more than the breaker they're all on can handle.  It is no fun to have half your kitchen outlets suddenly stop working when you haven't even had your coffee, much less your breakfast!


Xallanthia

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #353 on: November 09, 2011, 10:43:40 AM »
There is no such thing as too many outlets.
Well, as long as you have the circuit breakers to handle them. :)

Yes. :)  I discovered in an unpleasant way recently that my coffee maker, electric kettle, and toaster are more than the breaker they're all on can handle.  It is no fun to have half your kitchen outlets suddenly stop working when you haven't even had your coffee, much less your breakfast!

When I blew the fuse running a dehumidifier and a massive floor-drying fan (my apartment flooded during a hurricane, I was drying out), I discovered that the entire house is wired to one circuit... except the kitchen.  This is excellent for the kitchen but with two computers on the main apartment circuit the lights flicker when we use the printer  :-\

Sterling

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #354 on: November 09, 2011, 11:02:24 AM »
My fiance and I are remodeling our house which was built in 1902.  The bathroom use be a small bedroom.  There is no good light in there for putting on makeup and no outlets at all.  So when we redid the walls (plaster to dry wall) we added 2 outlets per wall.  And it is on its on circuit so we can actually use a hairdryer and a curling iron at the same time.  I can do my hair at the sink or let Leo use the sink and I can do my hair on the other side of the room.

It looks like overkill but finally I can use my bathroom to get ready instead of the dining room.
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magicdomino

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #355 on: November 09, 2011, 02:55:50 PM »
One of the advantages of living in your childhood home is that you know why certain pecular things once made sense.  For example, the built-in ironing board in the dining room.  First, of course, you have to figure out what that funny-shaped padded board is.   ;)  Once you figure out that it is indeed an ironing board, and that the little closet also holds a little shelf for the iron and spray starch, and even an outlet for the iron, you wonder, "But why is it set so low that you have to bend over it?"
And why the dining room?  Did they iron that many tablecloths? 

Nope, I think my mother had only one tablecloth, and I'm not sure if it was used even at holiday dinners, much less every day.  The reason that the ironing board is in the dining room, is that if you sat on one side, you could see the TV in the living room.  In the days before permanent press and dryers, a wife could spend at least a couple of hours ironing.  So, my parents designed the ironing board so that my mother could comfortably sit and watch TV while she ironed.  The dining table held freshly pressed clothing until they were taken to the bedrooms.

I have since rearranged the living room and moved the antenna outlet, leaving the TV no longer visible from the dining room.  That's okay because I avoid ironing like the proverbial plague, but it leaves no clue as to the original arrangement.

Ruelz

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #356 on: November 09, 2011, 03:04:37 PM »
Makes perfect sense to me!  ;D

Speaking of outlets, our house, build in 1976 - has lots (which is lovely) - but they're all installed upside down (the third prong is opposite to what it should be).  Not a big deal, but you have to turn anything you plug in upside down, and with some heavier electrical cords, they just don't want to turn that way...
"The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions." Ellen Glasgow

magicdomino

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #357 on: November 09, 2011, 03:09:27 PM »
Makes perfect sense to me!  ;D

Speaking of outlets, our house, build in 1976 - has lots (which is lovely) - but they're all installed upside down (the third prong is opposite to what it should be).  Not a big deal, but you have to turn anything you plug in upside down, and with some heavier electrical cords, they just don't want to turn that way...

 ;D Basement outlets.  And the wires aren't quite long enough to turn them upright when I replace them. 

Luci

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #358 on: November 09, 2011, 05:51:16 PM »
When we bought a new kitchen, we totally rearranged everything except the sink and dishwasher. We ended up with an outlet where the new pantry closet went and the guys putting the cabinets in just couldn't let us disconnect it and have the pantry cover it. So, I have a live outlet in my pantry which I will never use.

I wonder what any new buyers may think of that in 20 years. I don't know what to think of it.

JenJay

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Re: Weird features spotted while house hunting
« Reply #359 on: November 09, 2011, 06:56:03 PM »
When we bought a new kitchen, we totally rearranged everything except the sink and dishwasher. We ended up with an outlet where the new pantry closet went and the guys putting the cabinets in just couldn't let us disconnect it and have the pantry cover it. So, I have a live outlet in my pantry which I will never use.

I wonder what any new buyers may think of that in 20 years. I don't know what to think of it.

I could see that being handy for rechargeable batteries and such.