Daily Picture 22-Feb-10: Servants’ Quarter and Larder of Bucharest Grand House

The outbuildings that once served as the servants' quarter and loft larder of a Bucharest grand c19th "Little Paris" style house, Mantuleasa area. (©Valentin Mandache)

I was somehow surprised to find and photograph in Bucharest a quite well preserved servants’ quarter completed with a large loft larder, shown in the image above. It belonged to a grand town house built in late c19th in the then fashionable “Little Paris” style (what I call the French architectural styles provincially interpreted in Romania). This type of outbuildings within a grand house’s grounds are a relatively rare occurrence now in Romania’s capital. A majority of them were demolished in the course of time to make room for extensions, sold to pay off  debts and subsequently redeveloped or after the WWII given by the communist regime to their followers among the lumpen proletariat for habitation and still used for that purpose nowadays by the descendants of those individuals, etc. What I like in this particular example is the salvageable aspect of the living quarters, giving an idea how the Victorian era servants in Bucharest might have spent their private time, and also the excellent state of the loft larder, looking like a textbook example for this type of food preservation amenity used before the era of the freezer. The circular and vertical bar window air vents that helped to keep the food stuff fresh can be seen at regular intervals along the roof base, also the large access door to the loft, which once might have had a pulley to lift the packs from the ground level, is still present. Most probably the grand house’s kitchens were within the same buildings (I would be curious if any of the old kitchen equipment and installations is still surviving).

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.