Be Our Guest


      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.

      Here’s the guestroom under the previous administration

      a bright space thanks to this bay window

      Electric upgrades and adding central air ventilation meant poking holes in the walls so it was a good time to give the walls some TLC and freshen up the color. This pocket door leading to the adjoining bathroom was badly off its track, so that was another hole put in the wall to access the track and wheels



      Here it is, back on track


      Many old coats of paint were over a layer of wallpaper, so that all came off


      Microwave in the bay window? Check!


      Toilet in the middle of the room? Check!


      The conspicuous toilet is the result of a burst pipe in the guest bath, which gushed water down through the first floor wall, flooding the front vestibule. The timing was as good as it could have been though — the site for repair was behind a wall in the parlor — a room that we delayed work on to accommodate the shoot schedule of Boardwalk Empire.

      So opening up the wall below was already on the agenda to upgrade the electrics


      Once we were water tight, things really came together — here’s the wall-by-wall time lapse tour






      Another view







      and lastly




      The wall color is Benjamin Moore Wedgewood Gray which, as you can see evolves from pale gray to almost robin’s egg depending on the sunshine. The ceiling fixture was previously in the master bedroom and is as gaudy in person as it is in the pictures — but in small, 2-or-3-night-stay doses it’s fun to wake up to.


      This cabinet, picked up at the Brooklyn Flea, holds a guest library


      We didn’t do much to the adjoining bath, other than the mechanicals and a lick of new paint, Benjamin Moore Greenmount Silk. A sconce (dangerously) next to the shower was deleted in favor of a ceiling fixture, which we salvaged from elsewhere in the house and we switched out the fixture above the sink for a Schoolhouse Electric model.


      Any guesses about the era of this tile? 30’s 40’s 50’s? —



      It’s bold hue made us gasp at first, but now I’m really fond of it.

      Though many heads will dent the pillows in this guest room, I think of it as my Grammie’s room — here she is, nearly 90 years, mid-story, in the music room over Thanksgiving


      The room is hers, not only because she sleeps here whenever she visits, but also because of old treasures in the room she’s passed on to us. She gave me the wardrobe shown in the time lapse sequence above when I first moved to NYC in 1991 — my grandfather picked it up at a yard-sale years ago. I also managed to get my hands on a pair of her childhood shoes


      Grammie recently gave us her bedspread, which was on her bed for as long as I can remember. It was hand crocheted by her Grandmother — detail below


      I like that this house, that had so much history before we met it, is now a repository for our own family heirlooms for us and our guests to enjoy.


      1. Hi Albermarle,
        Beautiful house. I just bought the same corner sink as you got from OGT. Did you ever figure out the faucet situation and getting a center faucet? I would love to hear any info on it as I’m not sure I want separate cold and hot.

      2. Hi Albermarle,
        Beautiful house. I just bought the same corner sink as you got from OGT. Did you ever figure out the faucet situation and getting a center faucet? I would love to hear any info on it as I’m not sure I want separate cold and hot.

      3. I love 50’s tiles…alot of people hate them but if I can i always keep them. Love the renovation

      4. The room looks great in blue – it is very soothing. It also works well with the bathroom tiles, which I love.

      5. Great work, great story. The family history and connections are what top it, and make a house, albeit a fabulous historic pile on its own, truly YOUR family home. That’s what it’s about, not “real estate”, or money or investments and return on same. It’s about having a home. Thank you.

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