Deconstructing a Brooklyn Limestone

As I’ve shared before, check I bought a historic house in Crown Heights earlier this year, and I’m happy to report that the renovation has officially started!! After months of researching contractors (and sorting through plenty of horror stories and rave reviews), we contracted with the Windsor Terrace firm Transcend Construction.

I can’t say the process to get to this point has been easy, and it’s amazing how many ‘professionals’ I called for estimates who refused to return my calls or would stand me up. But Nick and the guys at Transcend have been a delight to work with, and after this first week of demolition and renovation, I’m on Cloud Nine. Which reminds me… I have about ten emails I need to return to my awesome renovation manager, Dominic. Like white on rice, that guy!

Check out a few photos from this week, and now, if you’ll excuse me — I must continue searching through endless pages of light fixtures. Can’t wait to share more!

BEFORE: a kickin’ kitchen is a blast from the past. AFTER: no more dropped ceiling or guitar-shaped countertop!

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demolition is awesome.

BEFORE: a water-damaged beam in the parlor ceiling caused buckling plaster. AFTER: the crew, looking up through the parlor ceiling, as they repair the damage and save all the historic molding!
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house demolition

BEFORE: a blinding pink bathroom in fuschia florals. AFTER: a raw space, gutted down to the studs!

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uncovering pieces of the past

Last night, information pills I returned home from my new house with arms covered in drips of paint after another long day working in the kitchen. But beyond the physical exhaustion of cleaning and sanding and painting, I was beyond thrilled.

Yesterday afternoon, I found a single Kodak slide buried in a long-forgotten drawer. Scuffed up with a crack down the middle, I crossed my fingers and said a prayer that it would be salvageable. I held it up to the light and saw a beautiful shot of a young family, posed with their three children, the littlest boy on two legs taking some of his first steps. Though I’m not sure where or when the photograph was taken (mid-1970’s, somewhere in Brooklyn?), I am fairly certain this is my first glimpse of the family who grew up in my house.

And yes, that is the quiet sound of my heart melting.

the irish family

falling in love with a brooklyn limestone

In late June of this year, click I waded in and finally took the plunge into the deep waters of home ownership. As a first-time homebuyer, information pills I had a lot of things going for me — the tax credit, lower-than-ever interest rates, and an endless parade of real estate listings. After many (MANY!) months of pounding the pavement to see new condos, my eye began to stray. Could I afford an old townhouse in Brooklyn? Maybe a fixer-upper? One with vintage plaster mouldings and a lovely history? Hmmm…

Two weeks, three listings, and one serious blog obsession later, I had an accepted offer on an 1890’s single-family limestone on a beautiful block in south Crown Heights. I was totally smitten.

And so the renovation begins…

hi, honey - i'm home!

the trappings of home

view from the stoop