Respect the home, respect the homeowner

Most of the time when we are called in to do a job, we’re the first on the scene and we begin the restoration from scratch. Sometimes, though, we’re asked to finish a job that another had started. Unfortunately, this usually means that the previous contractor abandoned the job and left a mess in their wake. We have seen some absurd messes in our day, from the mundane (like using Portland cement in masonry or the painting over of brownstone with moisture locking paint) to the just plain stupid (like coating a 1780 Federal style mansion in pink driveway paint). The point is, we’ve seen it all.

Pink paint
Why would anyone paint their driveway this color, let alone their 18th century Federal?

But one thing that really grinds our gears is when we encounter projects done by restoration imposters. We love the work we do, and the standards we keep for ourselves and those we choose to work with are extremely important to us. When we encounter a job that has been started poorly and then abandoned by a general contractor or other project manager, we feel the homeowner’s pain.

Hole in the wall   Hole in the wall
One example of poor GC-ing: No respect for the owner’s home

That is precisely what happened to our latest brownstone rescue in the beautiful Brooklyn neighborhood of Clinton Hill. The owners of this four story, four apartment brownstone hired a general contractor to renovate and repair much of the building in order for them to make a little extra income so they could pay for the care of their elderly aunt and uncle. Before getting even halfway through the job, the previous GC took the money and ran. What he left behind was a scarred interior, a flimsy front door, and a stop work order on the property. So when the owners approached us we rolled up our sleeves and dove right in. We have several things planned for this renovation.

Old door   New door
The old, shoddily installed doors on the left. The newly restored and installed doors on the right

The first major item we have planned for this house is to replace the shoddy door those thieves left the owners with. This thing is bad, and I mean bad. The quality of craftsmanship on this door is so bad that it is very possible to stick your hand inside, WHILE THE DOOR IS LOCKED! So, as you can see from the pictures above, we have already located some beautiful brownstone doors from the neighborhood that we will try to match, restore and install.

Bad GC   Bad GC
Parting gifts from our deadbeat predecessor

We’ve also decided on a completely new floor layout. The original layout had the kitchen in the back, down a narrow hallway. It was dusty, dark, and dank back there. We suggested that moving it to the front room would increase the space available in the bedroom for closets, while transforming the front room into a comfortable and cozy magnet for socializing and eating.

Old Boiler
Once we remove this old behemoth and install the much smaller high efficiency boiler, there’ll be enough room for the homeowners to dance the tango down here

To satisfy our commitment to the environment, we decided to install a high efficiency boiler. These things are amazing! Instead of the behemoths we are used to, these new ones use steam and can literally be installed by one person. Additionally, we are installing four separate wall mounted air conditioners, eliminating the need for the tenants to install energy sapping and building de-beautifying window units.

Keep an eye out for updated pictures and news on this job!

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