Ring for service. 

In the center of the Dining Room floor, a small circle opening where a button once was. There are several of these around the house. The Living Room and Master Bedroom have the exact sized floor hole.

I asked every tradesperson and service provider who came to the house, no one knew. Our long time trusted electrician immediately said, bell system.  In the early 1900’s an interior bell system was used to summon the domestic help. The buttons were attached to wires that culminated in a central spot where those waiting to serve would be dispatched.

We’ve traced the wires to the basement where the summer kitchen was once in full use. In searching for more information I uncovered a detailed paper on the topic from the Clemson University Historic Preservation and Conservation Commons.  Sadly the buttons and panel were long ago removed, but the wiring is still in tact.

Try as I may, no one answers when I tap my foot over the spot, but it does make for interesting dinner conversation!

Pictured is the completed dining room. In the exact center of the room, an original electrical outlet and the hole where the button once was pushed to signal dinner service.  Imagine the Butler waiting in the pantry . . . now back to reality!

Design and details:

This Dining Room room furniture has served us in every one of our homes. A tight squeeze in our townhouse, these chairs have been reupholstered more than a half dozen times. Come to think of it, time for a refresh!


The window treatments were in the Living Room when we purchased. The Dining Room windows happen to be the exact size of those in the Living Room. Good bye cornice, the dupioni silk panels looked like new after a professional cleaning. The clincher, thanks to a talented local seamstress, some amazing new trim and incredible hardware- these drapes have a new identity!  Their “before” state and now.

Last, but certainly not least, we painted the hidden storage closet to be just that- hidden!

More completed rooms and interesting discoveries to come!



  1. Is the chandelier yours from previous homes or new?

    Maureen Culhane, RPA
    On-Site Management Executive
    150 West End Avenue Owners Corp. | 150 West End Avenue Condominium
    150 West End Avenue • New York • New York • 10023
    P 212-362-2028 • F 212-362-7619 • mculhane@akam.com

    Exceptional Management • Impeccable Reputation
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