2013 Upper East Side Apartment Restoration

One of our favorite recent projects was restoring the pre-war plaster walls in a sweet apartment on the Upper East Side. Years ago, we’d worked with this homeowner on a full restoration of their house in Hudson, NY. But this job was different; the client needed to move in in a hurry. We had to work fast and within a very tight budget. We wound up developing a decorative plan that went along with the repairs.

The project started in the first week of December. After a two-week break for the holidays followed by some finishing touches, it’s finished and the client moved in in February, that’s a quick turnaround!

The biggest part of this project was to refinish the walls and ceiling with distressed colored plaster. But the condition of the walls and ceilings was rough, meaning we needed to correct the structural damage before we could apply any new plaster.

In order to meet our time and budget constraints we knew we would have to use far fewer coats than would normally be required for a venetian finish or a variation on specially plaster. To that end, I came up with a lime based mix that would cure quickly and handle heavier application, and tinted the plaster itself. We mixed it roughly, troweled on the top coat and then we burnished it.

The colors and finishes were a team effort. My crew and I collaborated to achieve a simple, fast, cost effective solution that made sense visually and got the job done.

Another large facet of the project was to hide the radiators and create some additional storage space. We achieved this by installing a cabinet that runs the length of the room under the windows. It also does a great job of hiding the television, cable boxes and sound equipment. I sourced the deco grates from a salvage vendor.

The floor treatment and curtains were the choice of the clients. Curtains hang from a black plumbing pipe which runs the length of the space.

The final puzzle piece was installing the client’s art collection to best effect.

In total, it was a two-month project covering both the structural and finish plaster applications. Cost effective and beautiful, we achieved just the right balance of raw and refined qualities. This is no longer a crumbling loft, it’s glamorous UES!

Summer/ Fall Resoration Project: Chelsea Townhome Facade Restoration

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This gallery contains 4 photos.

Hello all! Welcome back to another segment of our NYC townhome restoration. We hope everyone out there stayed safe before, during and after hurricane Sandy. Now that the storm has passed, work has resumed again this week on the most … Continue reading

Summer/ Fall Restoration Project: Chelsea Townhome Entry Door

Hello everyone! We’re back again with another post about our Chelsea restoration project. This time I’ll be discussing the entry door. The entry door is made of sturdy 5inch thick white oak wood. It has four trim encased openings for fenestration. The existing coating of varnish on the exterior of the door has deteriorated and we will be replacing it with a high quality application from Fine Paints of Europe paint company.


Two-toned doors will NOT be staying (bummer, I know): primed door on the right, final coat of paint on the left

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Summer/ Fall Restoration Project: Chelsea Townhome Parapet Restoration

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This gallery contains 20 photos.

Our project in Chelsea began with the demolition of the parapet wall at the roof level. The portion of the roof being replaced served as rainwater and snow catchment for the larger, slightly raised slopped roof. The owner was concerned … Continue reading

Fort Greene “Afters”

Remember this surreal restoration that threw a few surprises our way? We officially closed the book on it at the beginning of the summer, when the homeowners debuted their new digs with a Memorial Day BBQ. They shared some “after” pictures they took personally, but we just received some pro ones from our good friend Nelson Hancock (who also took some unbelievably gorgeous shots of this lobby restoration we did), and we just had to post them!
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Our Latest Summer/ Fall Restoration Project

For several weeks we have been rearranging and replacing a number of features for our current project. This historic townhome in the Chelsea area of NYC needed a few repairs and installments that would not only enhance its aesthetic qualities but also make it impervious to New York’s harsh weather conditions. The majority of the work has been on the exterior. The client was concerned about the weather resistance of the front door, the lower portion of the facade and the lower front windows. The main issue was at the roof level. The concern there was how the parapet delt with water drainage and accessibilty in the winter. One by one we are resolving these issues all while smoothly clearing the hurdles of inclimate weather and task coordination. More images will be available as the project nears completion.

Scratch(coat) another off the list!

Our latest project is complete! Yes, the brownstone with the ugly paint job and the dilapidated stoop has been restored and is ready for its world debut! While we did not end up replacing the old ironwork on the window grates, fences, and stoop, we did end up replacing everything else. The new brownstone stoop, foundation, lintels, and sills could not look more beautiful, nor could they match the new paint better.

     

Left: The finished brownstone facade. Right: The finished foundation.

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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?

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Perfection, thy name is silicate mineral paint

One of our many Summer 2012 jobs has some interesting challenges. Aside from the iron work involved in replacing the window grates, fencing, and below-stoop door, we were tasked with the repair and repaint of this brownstone (including the stoop and walls from foundation to cornice) in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Before   After

Out with the old, in with the new! The hideous old paint job (left) gets replaced with beautiful new paint (right)

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Falling down the rabbit hole in Fort Greene

You never know what you’re going to find when you start digging into the guts of an older home. Sometimes a project that presents itself as being straightforward ends up dropping you down a restoration rabbit hole. Our latest project had what you might call a… plot twist.

This brownstone was unique in the fact that it had an extra room on each of its lower floors, making it deeper than most brownstones we work on. To allow for these extra rooms, there was a wooden truss system supporting the rear brick wall. While we could see the wall was sagging slightly, we had no idea that the main beam of the truss system had completely sheared in half until we demoed the first floor. The wall was on the verge of collapse.

This surprise discovery meant we needed to take this wall down, brick by brick. Either that, or wait for the vengeful Brownstone Gods to take it down themselves in a much more dramatic fashion (and it probably would not have been a long wait, either).




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