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.
Out with the old, in with the new! The hideous old paint job (left) gets replaced with beautiful new paint (right)
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).
…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 →
As you can imagine, we here at HHF have been following the Partners in Preservation contest pretty closely. For those unaware of Partners in Preservation, it is a community-based initiative program that began in 2006. Each year they focus on a different city and select a list of local historic sites to receive grant money to fund restoration projects. And then this is where the fun begins: the list is handed over to the public who then votes for their favorite site to receive funding.
In 2012, 40 historic places throughout the five boroughs of New York City were chosen, the public voted for a month, and now we finally know who the winners are!
While I personally voted for the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx (because I’m creepy like that), I’m still pretty jazzed about this year’s winners:
Look at these amazing doors on the Brooklyn Public Library! (Source)
Ever walk around NYC (or anywhere for that matter) and notice those old, dilapidated brick walls? The ones that seem to be disintegrating before your eyes? Ever wonder why it is that something supposedly so strong not even a big, bad wolf could blow it down now seems to be crumbling like a cookie? The answer is usually Portland cement. Continue reading →