For me, access to such private spaces is one of the pleasures of being a real estate agent, but not for the reasons you might think. I am not so much interested in what people have or even how they live, rather I am curious to see the inside of the structure; the architectural detail, the sense of history, the creative adaptation for a new use.
There are, of course, exceptions, such as the former site of Providence Tango.
The owner is an artist and it showed. No matter where my eye landed, I saw something pleasing and interesting. Not “decorated” and pretty, but honest and beautiful. A plain white curtain, fluttering in the breeze; simple ceramic dishes stacked in the kitchen; a giant, spiky houseplant—elements individually unremarkable, but lovely together. Even the bicycles leaning against the industrial bookshelves were perfect. (A bike is a beautiful machine. Why relegate it to a closet or garage?)
And to get to this lofty hide-away, we first walked through the exuberant dance studio below.
A wide open space with sky-high ceilings, the studio’s wooden floors were scuffed and scarred from years of dancers’ high heeled shoes. A variety of chairs were crowded into corners, still pushed aside from the prior night’s festivities. Bold colors and huge Matisse-like paintings covered the walls, and strings of Japanese paper lanterns dangled at random intervals across the huge windows.
In this case, the building’s nondescript exterior belied its fascinating interior. If not for my profession as a Realtor, I never would have seen what lay behind the plain façade.