I’ve been finally roused out of my long, post-less spell by the kiss of spring and the end of Mr. Albe’s six-day work week. The holidays, too — making ready for a series of family visits over Thanksgiving and Christmas — and the snow, the beautiful, exasperating snow — kept me away from my computer for long stretches. I busted out my homegrown NH shoveling skills all over that driveway.

It seems a fitting time to feature our guest room, as it’s gotten a nice workout the past few months. I’m the oldest of six kids, and regardless of our NYC digs, we’ve always managed to shoe-horn parents, siblings, partners, spouses and kids into whatever tight apartment situation we were in. Like most New Yorkers, we’ve not had a dedicated space for guests in our nearly 20 years in New York so it’s been a welcome change.

“Kitchen done yet?” This question is the renovation equivalent of the “Baby here yet?” phone calls I’d get my ninth month of pregnancy. For better or worse, I gave our kitchen a due date back in September by blithely announcing to anyone with earlobes that I’d be hosting Thanksgiving for 15 at the new place. So “Kitchen done yet?” has become a completely time appropriate question — and time is running out.

So how are we doing? I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking, with a wall-by-wall time lapse series showing our progress — upcoming posts will give more detail about the process.

The light fixtures that were included with the purchase of our house needed the same electric wiring upgrade to which the rest of the house was treated. The name that kept coming up when asking folks about who could rehab our twenty-plus ceiling fixtures and sconces was “Lamp Doctor.”


Against our plumber’s better judgement, we planned to take a gamble this winter and try to get by with a boiler on its last leg. Corrosion and rust were taking their toll – but we were hoping to eke out one more season. That plan (as well as the boiler) was scrapped when we factored in the additional burden our kitchen’s radiant heat floor would put on the system.

When we closed on our house in mid-October, choosing paint colors for the walls was about the furthest thing from my mind, bested only by the question of which would be the spice drawer in my non-existent kitchen. However, Intrepid Architect urged that it’s never too soon to be thinking about color, and one autumn afternoon she presented us with these fading hydrangea blooms from the front yard.



The gray, green, red palette really resonated with us and resembled the palette chosen by who-knows-who many years ago when s/he chose these vestibule tiles



the coincidental similarity of these two palettes led us to our final color choices for the first floor entry hall, parlors and dining room.

Opening up the walls of our house as part of its renovation was an inevitable inconvenience and expense since we knew we needed to replace the electrics and update plumbing. It was pointed out to us by Groovy Contractor and Intrepid Architect that having the walls open was a golden opportunity to consider air conditioning options. The house was loaded with lackluster, outdated window a/c units upon purchase. These poster-children for planned obsolescence were not only eyesores, but stressed out the house’s 1905 window frames to the max.

This extension was added to the back of our house in a 1959 renovation that moved the kitchen to the back stair hall, allowing the original kitchen area to be renovated into doctor’s exam rooms. The changes eliminated the back set of stairs to the second floor and basement in favor of room for cabinetry and appliances. The addition of the extension allowed for a more expansive kitchen area…

…and relocated interior access to the basement.

Our moving day arrived bearing a housewarming gift of 103 degree temperatures — technically 2 days of moving in triple digit heat.

After firming up the kitchen layout our adventures in cabinetry began. We didn’t shop around much when choosing a cabinet company. We wanted as much customization as possible when it came to the layout, and Intrepid Architect had a great experience with Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry when she did her own kitchen renovation a few years back.