The canal houses are typified by striking gables with hooks at the top to hoist goods and furniture to upper floors, since the stairways inside are narrow, steep and twisted. Historically, many of the buildings housed a business on the ground floor and residences on the top. Goods were often stored above the first floor to keep them dry in the event of rising waters.
Property was very expensive, so most canal houses are very narrow. Only the wealthiest could afford a double wide home.
The building below was probably constructed later than many of the houses, and was not directly on a canal. It was for sale. Do you see the men on the balcony? They have glasses in hand. I wonder if they are sealing a deal with a toast? And, what about the fellow in the upper window? A ghost of some long-ago merchant or well-to-do sailor? Just think of the stories we could create!
The proprietors have shoehorned 4 bedrooms and baths on the top two floors, and the entry, a kitchen, dining area and a storage area in the area just below street level. The second floor has a living room/office for the owners. Guests are invited to relax there while waiting, if there is an overflow crowd for breakfast. And, if you factor in the size of this dining area with the scrumptious food served in several courses, as well as the witty stories Carlos (one of the owners) shares, it is easy to see how a delay in being seated can occur!