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Ceiling Joists and Attic Access. 

   The ceiling joists of the retail room (left) are better finished than those of the merchant's counting room (top right half). As a public space, the retail room ceiling was visible to Thomas James's customers, which explains the carefully planed joists and ceiling boards. By contrast, the joists in the merchant's office show hewn and pit-sawn marks, and the ceiling boards are rough. More commonly, the superior room was the merchantís, often finished in lathe and lime plaster. Thomas James would not have wasted time or money for labor to plane and finish timbers and boards if the room was to be plastered. But there is no trace it ever was.
   At the center of the photo is the framed panel to access the attic (from the counting room). It is unclear if one gained access by stairs or a simple ladder. No evidence suggests that the attic ever served as a bedchamberóoften the case in similar period stores.