Just some pics of the renovation process. Although the downstairs apartment is ready to show, I’ve decided to wait until upstairs is finished before inviting the public over to have a look. Now I’m pushing the date back to AFTER Memorial Day weekend. And no, I will not be working that 3 day weekend.
The door to the bathroom (above) was under $40 (maybe even $20?) and came with multiple layers of paint. I should have realized because of the weight of the thing that it was a decent wood, but I was delighted to find whatever-species-this-is when I stripped it down.
Please refer to the paint stripping post for DIY tips!
Antique marble was originally used for the baseboard in the upstairs bathroom. It didn’t really match the new tiles that were installed so I cut this piece down to use as a saddle for the downstairs bathroom.
Same downstairs bathroom. After months of keeping roisin paper on the window, I finally discovered frosted window film. What a concept!
Picked this up at a vintage shop in Newburgh for 25 bucks. Forgot the name of the place, but it’s owned by Barbara of Caffe Macchiato on Liberty Street.
The piece is currently undergoing transformation to make it into a sink vanity for the pink bathroom upstairs. This is 2 coats of paint. Will need one more at least.
This chunky old wood will be the countertop for the “Mexican” kitchen upstairs. That’s a before and after sanding shot, in case you haven’t guessed. Love the grain!
And that’s it. Can’t wait to show the finished pictures! All in good time, my friends. All in good time.
posted @ 6:54 am Comments (3)
Open living/dining/kitchen area.
One half of the two family Rockaway house will be liveable by June 1st! As in liveable for normal people, not someone like me who no longer notices lack of switchplates and doorknobs. The self imposed deadline was set for this weekend to take some pictures and start spreading the word. Although it’s ready for it’s close-up, it’s a few days from being ready to show. Show by next weekend? Yeah, probably!!
The entire house will be for sale or rent by the end of this month. I call it a two story bungalow. It’s a cozy (that means small in realtor speak) 2 BR over 1BR, just under 1000 square feet for the whole house. Gotta do some comps and math to come up with prices. The website will get started (but not finished) today.
I’m on a roll baby and it feels good!
Yeah, that toe kick needs to be painted and stove needs backsplash.
The old singer sewing machine base trick. A favorite of mine.
Long, narrow bedroom in the back of the house. I want to work a little magic on those plain, white doors if I get the time.
Kitchen area before.
Living room during demo.
posted @ 7:31 am Comments (5)
So, your floors are finished, sheetrock is up, you’ve painted and the molding is installed. Think you’re done? Think again. The finish work is one of the most tedious and time consuming parts of the job. It doesn’t really take much skill but it does take patience.
The above photo is my before caulking window casing shot. I don’t have an after because I didn’t finish. Spent the morning vacuuming and wet-wiping dust. Caulked some, filled nail holes. Didn’t get to paint it.
Unfortunately, I had to save those old vinyl windows because it wasn’t in my budget to replace them. After cleaning them up (I forget whether this is the before or after clean shot) it looks like I’ll have to paint them. That’s the thing about adding even one new element to a room. Then everything else looks horrendous next to it.
Anyhoo, a few rooms in the house are so close to being finished. So close and yet so far.
posted @ 6:40 am Comments (0)
Van Dyke’s Restorers is one of those go-to places when you can’t find original hardware. As with most restoration catalogs, they can get pricey. But here’s a tip. They always have great sales.
Case in point are the cabinet pulls above. The current sale is 80% off, bringing the price down to $4.99 for a set of six. The black and gold is the actual pull but while taking them apart to cut the screws which are too long for my cabinets, I discovered that I preferred the back side and they match the cabinets better too. So I reversed them. The “flower” you are seeing on the reverse is the area that wasn’t painted and glazed. I sealed it up so it should be fine. Hey, if not, I can always switch it to the correct side.
I also purchased the yellow ones for the upstairs kitchen which will be a bright Mexican theme.
For more antique reproduction hardware sources, check out the post from the year this blog was born.
posted @ 7:58 am Comments (1)
It takes skills or money to hire people with said skills to create a faux aged plaster effect on the walls. But lookey what I uncovered the other day. Yes, it’s the real deal well preserved under wallpaper and skimcoat.
Is it taking just as long to painstakingly scrap down the wall? Yes. But hear me out, man. Cost: Time. Materials: Just a clear polyurethane to seal up that toxic lead paint I’m releasing into the air.
This is just a single, small wall at the top of the stairs. Nobody will ever notice it but I’m taking great pleasure in the process anyway.
posted @ 8:23 am Comments (0)
Here’s how I know recycled building materials are more popular now than ever before. For the first time in my 19 years of renovations, I couldn’t find a free clawfoot tub. Our very first house, my husband got one from a work buddy who was renovating and another of his buddies, a firefighter, helped carry it in. That helpful firefighter later lost his life in 9/11. On other houses, we ended up with yet another friend’s tub after their renovation and a Craigslist free posting.
Fast forward to 2012 and the only free tub I could come up with was up three flights in a Victorian attic. I’m cheap but not that cheap. Those things are heavy!
I paid Brooklyn salvage king Eddie Hibbert $100 including delivery to Rockaway. When he took the tub out of the van, it was not the same one I chose at his shop but I didn’t have the heart to make him haul it back. Not after all the discounts he’s been giving me over the years.
So, it needed reglazing.
I’ve actually had someone reglaze a tub for me before and it didn’t work out so well. These were the days before social media. The internet existed but there was nowhere to complain about guys like this. The tub started peeling within a month and my only recourse was BBB which didn’t get me too far.
This time I went with Al and Dave whom have been in the business for 40 years and come highly recommended. Five hundred bucks including stripping and tax makes this the priciest tub I’ve ever bought. It looks good. Not perfect because the tub was in bad shape, but I don’t need perfection in an antique. The only thing that makes me nervous is that I do see drips, which makes me think it’s going to start peeling. I hear that these things never really last but I can’t imagine throwing away a cast iron tub because it’s impossible to restore.
The process took a bit over three hours to strip and paint. It was dry to the touch a few hours later but cannot be used for about three days. The painting room (bathroom) should be warm, well ventilated and dust free.
Fingers crossed it will last. If not, at least these guys can be held accountable unlike the first hack.
posted @ 9:46 am Comments (2)
Sadly, my Silent Paint Remover ended up under water during the flood. It’s possible that it survived but I’m scared to try it, so I’m waiting for The Husband to fiddle around with it. I’ll stand by to drive him to the emergency room if necessary because I’m a good wife.
Until he takes it apart, I’m stuck using chemical paint strippers. It’s bringing back some bad memories of stripping 5 marble fireplaces and a house full of wood molding with Rock Miracle. Don’t get me wrong, Rock Miracle is a great paint stripper, but since I discovered the SPR, I only use chemicals to smooth out the final (or rather, first) layer of paint instead of sanding.
The clawfoot tub I bought for $100 DELIVERED has at least eight coats of paint. It’s so thick that someone plastered in a patch where the paint had peeled. First I tried Peel Away for 36 hours. I spent half the day yesterday going through layer by layer with the Rock Miracle until I finally said “WTF am I doing? This is the side that’s going to be hidden against the wall.”
Is it nuts that I’m “doing the right thing” where nobody is gonna see it?
Anyway, if you don’t learn anything else from my DIY blog posts, listen to me now and hear me later. The Silent Paint Remover/Infrared Paint Stripper is the most friggin awesomest thing ever invented. It’s like 400 bucks, which is why I’m willing to send Hubby to the hospital rather than buy a new one, but it’s totally worth it! Multiple layers in a 12″x5″ area in one go. Saves tons of time and money spent on bullshit chemicals and make paint stripping a pleasure!
No, I’m not getting paid to say this. But then again, if the company wants to send me a new one, I would not turn it down.
I love you, Silent Paint Remover. And I miss you with all my heart.
posted @ 8:24 am Comments (2)
They all doubted me. The pine sub floor covered in paint, paper and tar could never be a finished floor, said they. Well, I had faith in Desmond the Floor Guy. Called him to look at it. “Sure, no problem.” said he. The day his guys came over and saw the work ahead of them, they screamed that I needed a new floor. Well, the distressed look may not be everyone’s taste and areas had to be patched but behold the beauty of my new/old floors!
Desmond Harmon has been installing and refinishing wood floors for over a quarter of a century. He’s been doing my floors for 18 of those years now. So long, that I still have a pager number for him. His cell is 917-642-2752.
Where unfinished floor meets finished
posted @ 7:45 am Comments (5)
Original deck was taken down.
There’s an old warning about home renovation that goes “Expect to pay twice as much and for it to take three times as long.” I’ve always found this to be true except this time I was prepared for the worst.
Case in point is the back deck. It’s not even so much a deck as steps with a landing. Whomever built this thing must have been on some hard drugs at the time. The stairs are cutting into the house and one landing leans on a roof without any other support. It’s a nightmare.
This is the final “big project” to tackle on the house. I left it for last because I knew it wouldn’t be simple. I’ll survive because my hubby is a structural engineer who has a penchant for removing rotting wood to add support. But I just want to warn others out there that this is what it’s all about. Opening up a can of worms. You remove a wall or a floor or a deck and chances are, what you see behind that won’t be pleasant.
As it’s been said on this blog a million times before, previous homeowners (in my experience anyway) tend to cover things up rather than correct them. The deck is over the basement. We are not only replacing the deck but the damage has spread to the side structures of the house and the basement.
I can’t imagine how much this would cost someone if they were paying a real contractor to do it. Then you have to consider that the contractor is doing the right thing because they sometimes like to cover things up also.
My point? I don’t know if I have one. Oh yeah, maybe it’s this: Expect to pay twice as much and for it to take three times as long.
At the end of the day, I’m gonna have me a nice new deck that will stand longer than the house itself.
Some rotted wood that was removed
Roof that supported the landing
Side of house once vinyl was taken off
posted @ 6:39 am Comments (0)
What do you think of when you think of Florida? Me? I think of those senior developments as seen on Seinfeld because that’s where my mother is. Or some other horrible developments. Or McMansions. But at least one woman in Miami has devoted herself to saving an old house.
Sally purchased a 1924 Spanish Colonial Revival in Coconut Grove that had been derelict for years. Her blog, “This Old Coconut Grove” has some incredible before and after shots. Love to see inspiration coming from this neck of the
Check out some of the “afters” and then shoot on over to her blog to find out where she obtained her salvaged pieces.
posted @ 6:44 am Comments (2)
I met Sal a few years ago as a fellow Brooklyn Flea vendor. We stayed in touch via the Interwebs and I kept meaning to visit his shop in Callicoon, NY. Sal is now in the process of moving Tin Can Trading Post to a multi-dealer store up the road. What finally got me up there to see the store was his massive moving sale.
Because I was focused on house materials, I only made out with three lights (four if you count the pair of sconces as two). But oh, how I wished I was there shopping for myself! Scary dolls and clown paintings, old wicker subway seats, a dessert cart from Grossingers. Grossingers!! It would make a fabulous kitchen island.
Sal closed up his shop for a bit to give us a tour of his home that’s on the market for $189k in nearby Cochecton. What a treat for an old home lover! The restoration reveals layers of history. Original wallpaper was cleaned with wonder bread. Did you know about that technique? I did not. The plaster in some areas was left unpainted. You know how much people pay to faux this look? Here, it’s the real deal.
Worth the trip up to Sullivan County. Check out the shop. Buy the house. Turn it into a B&B so I can stay there in the future.
posted @ 7:51 am Comments (1)
This is what happens when you don’t prime first.
This is my fifth major renovation and I’ve seen it EVERY. TIME. Why do people just cover up what needs to be repaired? Money issues? I don’t get that. Those band-aids aren’t cheap. Instead of fixing some holes in the plaster, is it really less expensive to drop the entire ceiling?
I found a piece of cardboard used to patch a hole in the wall the other day. Like, cut out from a box. That was nothing. I can fix that. What bothers me about this house is that there is a new roof and vinyl siding. Although that’s not bothersome in itself (well, the vinyl is), it worries me that there were no repairs made to the wood rotting beneath the new protection.
I was a bit torn. As an environmentally aware salvage freak, I wanted to keep materials out of the landfills. As someone on a tight a budget, I couldn’t afford to gut the entire house down to the studs. So, I fixed what I saw but I know that there are things I missed behind those walls I didn’t remove. And I kept and re-covered the holey ceiling plaster myself after removing the drop ceiling.
I’m not completely concerned because, as I stated in a previous post, most of the rot seemed to be under each window and I did take those areas down to the studs.
But what about crazy plumbing fixes….or just letting pipes leak? So much damage from leaky pipes! And gas leaks? And electrical issues? Is it better to save a few bucks and risk your life and the life of the house?
Here’s the deal. You don’t have enough money for repairs? Fine. Nobody can fault you for that. But how’s about you learn some DIY skills and fix this stuff yourself? Seriously, if you would cover the gaping floor hole from your leaky toilet with sheetrock rather than just fix the damn toilet, you shouldn’t own a house. Apartment buildings with supers are wonderful things. I know. That’s the way I grew up. Call this a rebellion against my parents.
It’s not going to repair itself on it’s own, whether you cover it up or not.
Just do the right thing. For you. For the house. For the next owner.
posted @ 6:03 am Comments (2)
Of course I don’t really believe that recycling old building materials can ever go out of style. It’s just that….I’m having difficulty finding my own materials this time around!
I’ve been hitting up the usual suspects religiously and have come up with bupkas. Build it Green’s inventory in both Brooklyn and Queens is low. Shite, in fact. Vaccaro’s has some decent stuff, but none of it worked for me in regards to this reno. I only found some louver doors at Eddie’s to make a wall out of. He told me that a lot of new restaurants and bars come by to shop.
Which brings me to the point that every new restaurant opening in Brooklyn is decorated with salvaged materials.
Enough already! Leave some for me.
Oh, even Upstate was a bust. Hoffman’s Barn was packed when I was there on Saturday. No lie. Totally Hipsterville. WTF?
I used to do well on Craigslist too. Now? Nah.
The good news is that I’ll be exploring new places to shop this week or next. I’ll head over to CT, NJ and PA.
So take that, people stealing my reclaimed thunder!
posted @ 6:06 am Comments (0)
Head’s up! Anyone looking for an inexpensive (relatively speaking) brownstone in an up and coming area of Brooklyn? Before I tell you about the house that’s available, check out Reno Dakota’s (yes, like the song) full Victorian restoration (above). Yes, someone actually lives like that.
Envious? Me too. But what does that ever solve? Do something about it! The house right next door is for sale for a mere $675k, listed with Urban View and hopefully still on the market. It’s got every bit the detail that Reno and Kei’s house has.
My husband said “Let’s sell our house and move there.” I’m tempted but I like my part of southwest Bed Stuy, plus I can’t keep moving every few years. The part of Bed Stuy this home is located in is “Stuyvesant Heights East” near Ocean Hill. It’s clean, quiet and has lovely tree lined streets, but it’s closer to the Bushwick border than Clinton Hill…not that there’s anything wrong with that. The price reflects the eastern location. Homes in the western part of Bed Stuy have been hitting the million mark, so a gorgeous house like this seems like a steal. Plus, it’s getting tougher to find a place with so much detail. Seems like the flippers have gotten to many of them first and ripped out all the beauty.
Personally, if I was in the market for a house in Bed Stuy, I would check this one out ASAP!
posted @ 7:18 am Comments (1)
Can’t wait to find out what’s under those drop ceilings in the new home! My guess is a bunch of moldy, crumbling plaster. Ever work on a ceiling before? It’s a pain in the neck. Literally. So, I’ve been looking for alternatives to plain old plastering or sheetrocking. If I’m going to have to go through that, it might as well look fabulous.
I was standing at the Museum of Natural History over the weekend when I looked up and saw the gawgeous paneled ceiling above. Lots of work, for sure. Worth it? Of course! Especially if you can paint the molding before it goes up. I even found a place called Fantastic Finish where I can cheat and order pre-assembled kits. Not that I would do that of course, because budget, budget, budget!
Who doesn’t love an antique tin ceiling? Personally, I’m loving the chippy paint look but I don’t think I’d be able to get away with it in a new renovation. Perhaps a small section of the house…a bathroom, mayyyybe. But it would have to be sealed anyway, because as we all know, any paint prior to 1978 contains lead.
Here’s a modern take on the traditional tin ceiling. For me, it’s going to come down to whatever I can find at the salvage shops.
Reclaimed wood ceilings may look a bit dark around the entire house but they can always be painted to brighten them up. The photo above is actually weathered plywood cut into strips. That stroke of genius is from Burlap and Denim.
Drop ceilings have come a long way since the 1970′s. The tile above is from a company that does PVC drop ceiling tiles. They aren’t cheap and you’ve gotta have lots of time on your hands to paint each tile to look like that, but I’m just throwin’ around ideas here.
posted @ 6:51 am Comments (0)