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May 5, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Balcony on house

HouseAbraham Martinez writes:

The only way to get to the small balcony on the right side of the house is to squeeze through the small window.


Maybe you have to climb out of the big window, get onto the roof, and then get onto the balcony. ::FIRST::

Posted by: SleeplessKid at May 5, 2006 12:12 AM

It's for birds. Very large birds.

Posted by: BlastYoBoots at May 5, 2006 12:25 AM

ha! that's hilarious! a secret balcony...

My house growing up has a balcony with a safety/storm door that always locked behind you, leaving you trapped out there with little recourse but to climb down or wait until someone noticed you were missing and let you back in. Man, I hated that door, except when I had friends over for the first time. ;)

Posted by: abcdario at May 5, 2006 12:26 AM

It's ninja friendly

Posted by: Darth Ninja at May 5, 2006 12:29 AM

It is probably there for symmetry

Posted by: Fuzzy Dunlap at May 5, 2006 12:32 AM

Perhaps the door hasen't been cut yet?

Posted by: Mike at May 5, 2006 12:44 AM

Maybe the builder got a two-for-one deal on those two-story balcony sets, seeing as there are two.

Posted by: John Russell at May 5, 2006 01:23 AM

at least is serves as a makshift awning for the patio below.

Posted by: BannanaSam at May 5, 2006 01:31 AM

Presumably brought to you by the same people who came up with those stupid decorative shutters that're permanently fixed to the wall on either side of the window. Which is fine, because if the shutters _could_ close, they wouldn't be wide enough to cover the whole window.

Posted by: Daniel Rutter at May 5, 2006 01:57 AM

It is there to break up that very large empty space on the front of the house, which is broken in and of itself because any architect that isn't on crack would know better than that...

Posted by: Horatio at May 5, 2006 02:01 AM

I'm going to venture a guess that this wasn't broken when the house was originally built. This appears to be an older building that has been renovated. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were once windows/doors leading to that balcony at one time, but they have been bricked over and the whole thing stuccoed and painted, leaving no trace of the erstwhile access.

A friend of mine lived in a house for 12 years until he found a staircase hidden behind an added closet that went to an upstairs room he had no idea existed. He had always assumed that the dormer window was purely decorative to provide symmetry on the outside, but it turned out to be an actual window into an actual room. Old houses sometimes have surprises that tell of hidden pasts.

Of course, if this was built last year...then definitely broken! :)

Posted by: Hoki at May 5, 2006 02:59 AM

That's awesome! I'm going to look for a secret staircase now. Maybe I'll find treasure!...or spiders...

Posted by: =David at May 5, 2006 04:27 AM

This appears to be the back of the house. If you look closely, the first floor patios are completely surrounded with railing. I think that most likely the area behind the balcony in question was renovated and turned into a bathroom (hence the small, high window). The balcony was left in place to provide some shade for the patio below. Even so, the balcony is narrow and probably does not provide a lot of shade. The dormers appear to have been added at a later date as well.

Posted by: eBob at May 5, 2006 08:40 AM

Not sure I agree with the Dormers being added at a later date, they fit with the style/age of the building (doubtful it was a single family dwelling, more likely council flats of some sort).

I do, however agree that the small window was probablly once a door, and another window or two were present and now bricked over (no stucco noticeable on this, it appears to be all brick)Perhaps a better angle shot would show a slight variation in colour of that space to show what had been done. is broken....

(and I too once owned an old home that was renevated to discover a spare room and hidden spiral stairs to it....No real treasures in the room but an old bedhead and another room to use.)

Posted by: Pumpkin Noggin at May 5, 2006 09:14 AM

It appears to me as though the window to the balcony was origionally a door like the one below it. Perhaps they turned that room into a child's room and turned the door into a window so that the child wouldn't walk out the door at night and fall off the balcony. Or maybe the balcony just became unsafe to use.

Posted by: Nanashi at May 5, 2006 09:16 AM


who said this was a two story building? From the piece of roof in the bottom right hand corner I would say that this picture was taken from the second story window of a building nearby.

I think Hoki is probably right about the lack of door. In reference to the hidden staircase, I have never understood how someone could not notice a hidden room. I can account for every square foot of my parents house and even tell you the approximate thickness of any given wall.

Posted by: Sean P at May 5, 2006 09:21 AM

Looks like maybe there was originally a doorway next to the small window - that was later bricked up and plastered over. But if they were going to all that trouble then they should have removed the balcony as it looks ODD. Symmetry schymmetry, I say. Who wants a defunct balcony?

If not then just a case of architects / builders not joining up their thinking... so broken, and a waste of metal

Posted by: higgser at May 5, 2006 10:07 AM

Eh? Small window in order to get to balcony? You'd have to be a 6 year old, then get the fire department to get you off. HA!!!

Posted by: Master Chef at May 5, 2006 10:47 AM

It might accessible by a trapdoor on the underside.

If not, that's what trampolines are for

Posted by: Ben at May 5, 2006 10:58 AM

There's a hidden door that's camouflaged into the wall...

Posted by: Fuzzy at May 5, 2006 11:28 AM

SeanP hit the nail.

This isn't even a 2 story house; it's 3 stories!

More importantly, that small window used to be a door, like the floor below it. It was turned into a window. Yes, probably a bathroom.

Note that the balcony below it also has a railing and ledge.

So, this upper balcony existed - and had a purpose - in the original design. What's more, to remove it would mean that the doorway below it would have no shelter from *rain* (never mind sun).

Posted by: DaveC426913 at May 5, 2006 11:55 AM

Still an ugly house.

Posted by: JAC at May 5, 2006 12:06 PM

Yes, you are correct, most people in the right minds WOULD notice a "hidden stair", and we did...that's when/why we started doing renovations...we realized that there was something there that didn't fit (intially were trying to find missing duct work to install an AC unit)....

The room the stair fit in was small enough to "hide" as a bump out for ducts or a chimney (Had one on the roof, but it went no where, so we thought it must've been to a now missing fireplace).

Once we found the stair, we followed up to a spare room off the back of what was then the Atic room (which we had access to from another stair at the other end of the house...but didn't know at the time there were supposed to be TWO rooms) The small "hiden" room was only about 6'x6' but had the "mising" fireplace in it...That upper room was once one large (16'x22') room....NO idea why they blocked off a 6'x6' section...

Posted by: Pumpkin Noggin at May 5, 2006 12:38 PM

Hoki is right.. "Old houses sometimes have surprises that tell of hidden pasts."

Someone died in his friend's house, in Noggin's room and on the balcony. They were all walled off so that the house could sell to new, unsuspecting owners.

Posted by: Colonel Mustard at May 5, 2006 02:20 PM

AH HA, Col. Mustard...that would explain the smell!


Posted by: Pumpkin Noggin at May 5, 2006 02:55 PM

Why is everyone trying to figure out why it’s broken?

All it needs is a little plastic explosive

Posted by: Darth Ninja at May 5, 2006 03:05 PM

Well, as dumb as this looks, it is not broken according to TIB- Something is broken if it creates a confusing or otherwise bad 'user experience'. Since this really only affects the owner of the house, it cannot really create any bad experience to anyone else. (a good laugh, maybe) but I say not broken on a technicality.

Posted by: American Idiot at May 5, 2006 03:30 PM

Seeing this is causing me a bad experience.

Posted by: Paul at May 5, 2006 07:56 PM

American Idiot, isn't the homeowner the user?

Posted by: Lomedhi at May 5, 2006 10:38 PM

The problem there is where having a balcony unreachable from the house actually detracts from the experience of living in the house.

Posted by: Fuzzy at May 5, 2006 10:59 PM

Maybe it's for the ultra-flexible, like Mr. Fantastic from the Fantastic 4, or Mrs. Incredible from The Incredibles. Or, maybe even for small people...the possibilities are virtually endless. Oh, and it makes a great place to hang stuff from.

Posted by: another guy named Alex B. at May 6, 2006 01:38 AM

Being from an old city where people have tried to modernize and even try to be futuristic with old buildings, I have seen everything. Hidden rooms, stairs, enterances, awkward additions, conversions to multiple units, etc. Even though I'm used to seeing it I still say "BROKEN".

Posted by: Timm at May 6, 2006 04:31 AM

lomedi, Yes the owner is THE user, and if THE owner did that, then it's his OWN experience. No one else is inconvenienced. I did say that it looked dumb though. Could be that this hous is still under renovations, and will make more sense later. So, I still say it is not really broken, just funny.

Posted by: American Idiot at May 6, 2006 04:50 PM

Why is the top part of the house blue?

Posted by: joe at May 6, 2006 07:03 PM

It's obviousley a bird poop collector. Or maybe a plot device in an action movie. The hero escapes out the tiny window to the balcony and alas! He is trapped there with his foes emerging from the miniscule window. He then has to hanglide from the balcony. *nod*

I agree with joe, that blue is kinda annoying :/

Posted by: RC at May 7, 2006 08:49 PM

"Well, as dumb as this looks, it is not broken according to TIB- Something is broken if it creates a confusing or otherwise bad 'user experience'. Since this really only affects the owner of the house, it cannot really create any bad experience to anyone else. (a good laugh, maybe) but I say not broken on a technicality."

If this house were software, it would be an application that offered a feature that is obvious, useful and desirable to the user, yet did not provide a control to activate the feature.

Posted by: DaveC426913 at May 8, 2006 04:32 PM

"If this house were software, it would be an application that offered a feature that is obvious, useful and desirable to the user, yet did not provide a control to activate the feature."

That is a stupid analogy. THIS IS A HOUSE! It is owned and occupied by one (or very few) families and who cares if they f*** it up?

Hey dave, if that house were an elephant I'd wonder why is this elephant yellow? (This whole thread doesn't belong in TIB anyway)

Posted by: Abu Singh at May 9, 2006 03:23 PM

Hi, i have a balcony on the 2nd floor and have a big hole with water damage, I already tear out the floor, but I don't know what is the step or material to use to put the new floor back? thank you so much.

Posted by: lu at May 11, 2006 03:00 AM


Posted by: Wu Jie-yin at May 11, 2006 05:35 AM

the house down the street from me is like that only there is one balcony on the top so you need to climb on the roof and hope you don't die on the steep incline to get to this 3 by 3 foot balcony that is fenced off so if you do make it up there, you wont fall

i have got to get a pic of that

they say the they never use the balconey, and have no idea why it is there. doesn't even look right

Posted by: ryan at May 14, 2006 01:21 PM


Posted by: Perhaps at May 25, 2006 02:35 PM

Brings to mind those silly little fences along the edges of rooftops...for squirrels, basketballs, snowbanks, etc. Long ago (however long that may have been) there were also architects, roaming free. There was also undiagnosed mental illness.

However...agree there must have been doorway, covered by a renovation. Done those very kinds of renovations, can't tell you how many (doors) I've entombed behind the sheetrock! :o)

Posted by: Melody at June 13, 2006 04:23 PM

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