As you may have read in our last post, we’re adding a clerestory to our current upstate project. And those of you who read that last post may have been left wondering—what in the world is a clerestory? The definition is pretty simple, and while you may not have known the word ever existed, you’ve probably encountered more than one clerestory (or clearstory, clearstory, or overstorey) in your day.
The clerestory at Rokeby Mansion designed and built by Stanford White
Our project upstate is bustling along. In spite of the recent snow, we’re managing to still make progress. Materials that will be used in the house (like Waterworks bath fixtures and beautiful new porcelain tiles) are being dropped off daily, and the project is in that phase where it’s just on the brink of gelling: windows are about to be installed, rooms are about to emerge from the tangle of 2x4s, and the second floor clerestory is thisclose to giving Rokeby Mansion a run for its money (more on the clerestory story in a later post!)
Top: Before the paneling went up in the master bedroom. Bottom: After the installation of some of the pieces of Cherry paneling.
As anyone who has every renovated a home (or who just watches a lot of HGTV) knows, you gotta whip everything up into a great big mess before you can make it pretty again. We’re currently in the thick of this backwards-to-go-forwards demo stage at one of the projects we currently have chugging along in the Hudson Valley: the walls no longer exist, and the ceilings are being peeled back. Piles of wooden beams lay like fallen soldiers on the demo battlefield. Old cabinets, bookcases and vanities are huddled together in the middle of what used to be a room (you know, when there were actually walls) like refugees trying to escape. Intense.
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.
Why would anyone paint their driveway this color, let alone their 18th century Federal?
…or: What to do when the stairs in your brownstone are falling off the wall!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: stairs in older homes always seem to have the same problems. This staircase we encountered on our latest project managed to go above and beyond the normal range of issues.
Not only did we have to stabilize it, repair delicate railings and fix broken spindles, but we had to literally tear the whole thing out and start from scratch. Continue reading →
Our very good friend and partner Nora Johnson recently completed a stunning scenic mural of the Colorado landscape, and we can’t wait to show it to you! The 8′ x 50′ mural was presented at the 2012 Denver Home Show, but was then donated to Brent’s Place, which is a non-profit home for families with children with cancer in Aurora, Colorado. Such a beautiful mural, and an even more beautiful gesture. Oh Nora, how do we love you? Let me count the ways… Continue reading →