Merchant House MuseumI love having a good nosey around a stranger’s house – and I also love visiting old properties frozen in time, so that I can wander through the rooms, imagining myself as a former resident. Today I got to do both at the Merchant’s House Museum.

My friend Jade had suggested heading to this house on East 4th Street a few weeks ago, and I realized that I must have walked past it hundreds of times without ever noticing it was there. Which is ridiculous, because it doesn’t exactly fade in with its surroundings.P1140289

The house was built in 1832 and owned by a wealthy merchant, Seabury Tredwell, who lived there with his wife, six daughters and two sons. A couple of the daughters were married but the remaining four lived at the home for the rest of their lives. When the longest-living daughter passed away in the 1930s, the house was taken over by the city and has now be decorated exactly as the family had it during the 1850s.

It’s a skinny home but the rooms are open with high ceilings, lots of light and sturdy walls that block out any sound from the street. Ryan and I started with the basement floor – which housed the kitchen (complete with rats) and a study – before working our way up through the house.P1140281 P1140240 P1140241 P1140285 P1140282 P1140247 P1140249

On the ground floor, there were two parlors which could be joined or separated by a screen door in the middle. Right now it’s decorated for Christmas – with a table filled with snacks and a mini Christmas tree by the large windows overlooking 4th Street. Some of the furniture in this room looked a lot more recent to me than the 1850s, while other pieces seemed far more solid and ancient – showing the variety of tastes here in the home.P1140286 P1140250 P1140256 P1140258 P1140252 P1140253

Upstairs were two bedrooms divided by a walk-in wardrobe. The bedrooms were gorgeous – large, lofty beds and views over the snow-covered garden beneath.P1140260 P1140262 P1140263 P1140280 P1140268 P1140283

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a ton more to see – yet there were two more floors. The third floor, which would have housed more bedrooms, was entirely blocked off to visitors, while the top floor only had one room on show. This one had been for the four servants who lived here and the rooms were predictably sparse – but still, there were those gorgeous high ceilings that helped flood the room with light.P1140276 P1140277

The fam

The fam

After about half an hour – and $10 each – we headed back out into NoHo. I loved the intimate insight into social history and there was nothing inauthentic about the place. But it was a shame that one whole floor wasn’t on show at all. I’d say it’s beautiful and interesting enough to warrant a visit, but I warn you that, like me, you’ll leave probably wanting more.P1140287