Here’s an example of that whole making lemonade out of lemons thing. A mistake that turned out to be a blessing, if you will. Unless you think the door looks like crap. Which it might. I can’t decide. Maybe I’m just trying to tell myself it looks cool.
Anyway, I had some help at the house over the holiday weekend when I was away. They painted the stripped door without sanding first. If you’ve ever stripped a pine door, you’ll know that the wood is very soft and gets “shredded”, so it looked nasty. I started sanding away the lumps and bumps and thought “Ah, this could work. It’s shabby chic!”
So now I have a distressed door. Sweet.
posted @ 11:32 am Comments (0)
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)
With a tight budget and desire to recycle building materials, I actually wanted to keep the hollow Home Depot doors that came with the house. Only a handful of them are still in good enough shape, but I thought it would be nice to think of them as blank canvases and make each one into a work of art (or some kind of crafty process).
The closet door above was the first one to get all gussied up. The chipping paint revealed some beautiful turquoise that must have been there since the 40′s or 50′s. That was a keeper. What to do with that? I thought of those signs I found in the bathroom floor during demolition and decided to recreate that.
The paint was chipping off in big chunks, so scraping was a breeze.
DIY is pretty simple. Just get some tape and stencils. Oh, and paint.
As someone without patience, I didn’t use a straight edge or pencil lines. It’s recommended though. I also hand-held the stencil letters and went along to the next one without waiting for them to dry. Yeah, it smears. Don’t take DIY tips from me.
Didn’t have arrow stencil so the arrows were brought to you by the letter “I” and some tape for the point.
Funny story. This particular door faces East/West and the bay and beach are North/South, but I didn’t want to do up and down arrows.
posted @ 7:12 am Comments (2)
After having spent a couple of thou on molding for the entire house, my favorite trim was a result of righting a mistake and the cost was only 20 bucks.
This is the downstairs bathroom. Long story short, I had intended to do wainscoting on the lower wall and when I couldn’t find reclaimed I decided to do a faux effect instead (photo below). I don’t love it but that’s beside the point. Anyway, for some reason I was too lazy to continue the design all the way to the door, figuring that molding would cover it up.
Well, I don’t know what I was thinking. Your basic molding isn’t a foot wide. So, I’d either have to match the swirly design or get some wide ass molding.
I went with the wide ass molding. Found these side panels at Build it Green. Now the problem would be finding a top piece. After weeks of searching to no avail (You wonder why this reno is taking so long?), I had to put a piece of 2×6 in there and figure out how to make it look nice.
The horse was left over from my crafting days. The black horse didn’t pop on the dark colored molding so I added the copper “frame”. Still looked boring, so I added the stenciling on each side. Now the sides looked lost. Shit, I just want to finish this renovation but I’m a sucker for the details! Soooo, I had to embellish the panels with some copper too.
This door is currently my favorite part of the house. Probably because it’s the only thing I’ve actually finished (and not even…I still have to caulk).
posted @ 8:19 am Comments (0)
Attention! Checklist Home Services has posted a curb alert for a pink bathroom. Check out that fabulous double sink vanity including two pink sinks. But wait, that’s not all! If you act now, they will throw in that awesome pink toilet.
Alls ya need to do is comment as to why you want the pieces on the Checklist blog and it can be yours for free. And yes, you can even use their services to install.
Located in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. Good luck!
posted @ 9:13 am Comments (1)
On the road again. Looking to pick up the last of the building materials this week as Passover week is going to be a non-stop work fest bringing us closer to Renovation’s End.
Have ye ever been to United House Wrecking? If not, you shouldn’t be waiting. This is the kind of place that makes me so sad that I live in a silly little brownstone and not a mansion or huge loft. I mean, check out the carousel above. Who wouldn’t want a carousel in their living room?
UHW has some top of the line architectural salvage. Stained glass, mantels, newell posts, doors. They have been sifted through and all are in good shape. This is where you go when you don’t feel like spending hours restoring the inexpensive stuff. That’s not to say the prices are outrageous here. They are not shocking at all. I saw some decent sized stained glass windows for $150 and a really nice antique chandelier on sale for $500.
United House Wrecking isn’t just salvage. They do antique and reproduction furniture and design as well. Everything is staged so perfectly. A card table with a poker game already laid out, a bar, a child’s room, a mid-century living room that’s to die for. It’s kind of like ABC Carpet but without the cray-cray prices.
The Housatonic Habitat ReStore (Danbury) is 20 miles or so north of UHW. As with all restores, it’s hit or miss on what is needed that day. Yesterday I was in search of tiles because I remembered them having a bunch of awesome Waterworks ceramic. They did have the Waterworks and it was a lovely blue, except I need pink as I’m determined to keep the pink bathroom in the house as it was originally (well, when I bought it, anyway).
While I was there, an estate of some great Chinese furniture was coming in. Some real antique pieces mixed in with a few modern day made in China.
I loved this credenza that houses a stereo system. The side with closed door has room for a bar or record collection. The price was around $150 until the engineer comes around to get that system working and then it goes up.
Today I hit New Joisey.
posted @ 6:35 am Comments (1)
posted @ 8:40 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)
The metal medicine cabinet that I bought for thirty bucks stripped down nicely. Actually, it was a pain in the arse. I used heat to get the several layers of paint off, then cleaned it up with Rock Miracle. More cleaning was done with steel wool soaked in Mineral Spirits, which neutralizes the paint stripper. Finally, I sanded it all down and sealed it with an oil based polyurethane.
It still looks like an antique with all the dings and scratches but if I wanted new, I would have bought something at Restoration Hardware.
posted @ 7:01 am Comments (0)
It’s true. I have an addiction to light fixtures. I buy light fixtures like women buy shoes. They go with many designs, they are easy to carry and they won’t make you look fat. Plus, if it’s a bargain, who can resist?
Granted, I’m pretty sure I had enough lighting to cover the whole house, but I picked up three more fixtures yesterday at Vaccaro’s. Although the entire renovation is a potpourri of salvaged styles, the lighting is decidedly tole. I suppose I’m trying to achieve a kitsch bungalow look. I did buy some deco sconces and gothic chandeliers for good measure. Can’t be too consistent! It would get boring.
All lights need to be cleaned, painted and rewired. What fun would it be if I couldn’t work on them?
posted @ 6:52 am Comments (0)
Ah, it was only a few weeks ago that I was saying it wasn’t worth it to schlep for miles to shop for salvage. Well, then I lost a bunch of stuff due to the storm. Now that I have to shop all over again, I seem to have forgotten my own advice.
And so I was off to southern NJ and Philadelphia yesterday.
My first stop was Recycling the Past in Barnegat, NJ. The town is chock full of antique shops and when I pulled up to this particular architectural salvage oasis, it did not disappoint. It was like being a kid in a candy shop (see photos)! Only when I found out the prices I realized that mommy didn’t give me enough money to buy any candy. That’s not to say they are overpriced, but their prices are more on par with some of the larger Manhattan places rather than the salvage guys I’m used to in Brooklyn.
Light fixtures were in the $200′s-$1000′s. Some were really beautiful and well worth it, but when you’re working with a negative $15k budget, you ain’t buying thousand dollar light fixtures. Not that I do anyway because I am a bargain diva. Claw foot tubs in bad shape were $400. You can get one for half that at Vaccaro’s and even less at Eddie’s.
So why do I travel? Because those guys don’t have some of the newer crap that I need. Tiles and molding in semi decent shape. Kitchen cabinets. I have yet to luck out at Build it Green on those items. BTW, I’m not too impressed with BIG Gowanus prices, so I usually stick to Astoria.
In Philly, I went to a ReStore and the Urban Artifacts Warehouse which looked closed. I walked in and a couple of guys moving furniture said I probably shouldn’t be there. I didn’t argue since I realized it was one of the higher priced salvage shops anyway.
It was actually the Bucks County Restore where I hit the kitchen cabinet jackpot. Well, as much of a jackpot that I could fit into my Rav 4. So, all in all, I came back with 2 base cabinets for $55 and spent about $65 in gas and tolls.
You do the math. Yeah, I know.
posted @ 8:13 am Comments (4)
After having hit every Habitat Restore in the Tri-State area and beyond, I’ve come to a conclusion. Ready for it? They suck. No they don’t. But perhaps they aren’t worth the travel time and expense.
Here’s the thing. Local used building material shops are a great thing. You can hit them everyday and they may or may not have new inventory, but what have you got to lose? Traveling to multiple second hand shops miles away because you want to build green is the antithesis of green building.
Case in point. Yesterday I hit two Restores in Westchester. The Mount Vernon one was pretty good. The SOLD $600 fridge mocked me as I walked in the door. I so would have grabbed that. Also, check out the pinball machine that I wouldn’t have bought anyway. That was already sold too.
All that was left was crap. Meh. So, I hit the one in New Rochelle. That was just like a Salvation Army with clothing and small housewares. Determined not to let my shopping day end without a purchase, I set off to the Danbury shop. It was ok, but nothing for me. Well since I was up there, I went to Newburgh’s Restore where I found sconces for $5 that the woman didn’t want to take down for me. U Might Find It, a favorite antiques shop, didn’t have anything I needed either.
So, the day ended with an empty tank of gas and an empty car. I used a tank of gas in an attempt to salvage a few pieces of material. Doesn’t make sense.
Don’t get me wrong. Habitat Restores ARE a great resource for materials. If I was focused on the next project, I would be collecting electrical and plumbing supplies when I see them so I don’t have to purchase those new, but I’m not much of a multi-tasker. Restores are great for windows, doors and toilets, but the lovely antique details are more readily found at proper architectural salvage shops.
So my choice today is to buy inexpensive yucky Home Depot tile for the bathrooms or spend money I don’t have on nice tile. Decisions. Decisions.
posted @ 7:14 am Comments (0)
A few years ago when I lived upstate, I would take frequent salvage trips up to Albany. It was the motherload salvage. Three huge places in Albany proper plus some great shops in Ravena, Coxsackie and Troy.
Having some difficulty getting everything I need locally, I thought it would be worth the 3 hour drive to load up my car with some awesome inexpensive materials.
The first stop was Silver Fox, a massive building that you can get lost in. Not only does Silver Fox have salvage and antiques but they do a decent business making tables and furniture out of reclaimed wood, upcycling light fixtures and such.
Alas, because of my very tight budget, I only walked away with one light fixture. It IS perfect for a retro beachy house though.
Next up was the Re-Store. It looked like it had been picked clean. They had materials, but it was all cheesy stuff. Worth going if you need windows, electrical and plumbing or building as opposed to finishing materials.
Last stop in Albany was the Architectural Parts Warehouse, a place I remembered being completely fabulous. Oh, it was fabulous alright, but they didn’t have anything for me. And I could swear they raised their prices. I don’t know if everyone has raised their prices or it’s that everything seems so expensive to me now that my budget is crazy-tight.
The Ravena Barn Flea Market proved unsuccessful. If you need dishes, glasses or old adding machines, this is the place to go.
Finally, a bit of success at the Coxsackie Antiques Center where I picked up an English telephone faucet for 48 bucks. They had some great stuff and the prices were good but unfortunately, I was shopping for the renovation and not my own house.
With only two purchases and mega gas and toll expenses, I wanted to hightail it to Zaborski’s in Kingston. Guess what? That didn’t happen when I got pulled over for speeding.
So all in all, my day was fun but a negative drain on the finances.
posted @ 7:54 am Comments (1)
Wanna see what I’ve been buying with my tight, tight budget? This is shopping week as I’m banished from the house during floor week. Tuesday I stayed local in Brooklyn. Yesterday I hit New Jersey and today I’m trekking Upstate.
The marble bathroom countertop will fit a copper sink I have in the basement. I just need to find a base. Guarantee that the faucet will cost more than the entire set up. Marble piece purchased at Eddie’s for the sick low price of $25 when these things normally go for $80-$125. He has more, but I’m special, so don’t even THINK about getting it for that price.
The Jersey trip started out at Appliance Warehouse on Rt. 17 North in Paramus. Miles of used appliances and yet nothing for me. I’m beginning to think it only makes sense to buy used when it’s high end because that’s where the savings are. New low end appliances that look good aren’t that much more expensive than second hand.
I lucked out with my upstairs kitchen tile at the Habitat Re-Store in Wayne. They had some great stuff and I probably found my cabinets there also but will have to return for them as I couldn’t fit them in my car. We’re talking $30-$40 for a row of base cabinets. The tiles? I’ll be tiling my entire kitchen for $25.
I should also mention that I finally stopped by Green Demolitions. The place is massive and wildly impressive. Again, it’s out of my price range as this house has to be affordable for the buyer but if you are looking for your own home, it’s well worth the trip! They do carry mostly new materials and I’d say it’s about 80% high end with good deals to be had.
posted @ 6:02 am Comments (0)
Last week found me dismantling a house that was not my own. I spied a tear down on Craigslist while searching for salvaged materials. The entire 1920′s beauty has to come down to make way for a brand new monstrosity. Although most of the great stuff has been taken, there’s still plenty left.
My interest was the door and window trim. That can become pricey if buying new because you’re talking about an entire house priced per board ft. The antique salvaged molding usually needs quite a bit of stripping and repair. Plus, where are you gonna find an entire matching house? So, with a bit of extra work and a trip to Westchester, I’m getting my molding for a few bucks.
The over $2m house was renovated recently so there isn’t a ton of original details. What’s there is in perfect condition and it’s all high end, whether it’s new or old. The kitchen was being dismantled while I was there and I’d say it was definitely upwards of $75k. Who knows what the resale price was but I’m sure the buyer got a bargain.
I’m going back tomorrow for more molding and some doors.
So, what else is left? Doors with glass knobs are $75. There are some French doors and exterior left as well. Windows, crown molding, wainscoting (newer), maybe one built in is left, shingles, bannister, bathtub. Once the building starts coming down, there will be plenty of lumber. The wood floors throughout are in perfect shape. It’s a shame that they will be destroyed if pried up, but I wonder if sections were cut out, could they be placed together like tile? Just trying to think of a way to save them.
If you’re in need of any of this stuff, come have a look! It’s a tragedy that the house will be knocked down, but at least we can do our part to keep it alive elsewhere.
posted @ 6:31 am Comments (2)