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About Brooklyn December 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Architect Fees


We are about to embark on a home renovation and will be meeting with architects next month. We know some charge a percentage and some charge a set fee+hourly. Is one preferable to another in your experience (as a client)? I can see pros and cons in both — just wondering about people’s actual experiences.


Landlord December 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Average Rent for a 1BR

We have a two family house and our rental unit is currently a 2 BR. We are thinking of taking over one of the bedrooms for our own use but we’re not sure if we’re able to that financially. I’ve tried looking at real estate websites and Craig’s List to get an idea of the average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment but they’re all over the place. Is there some sort of price/square foot that is used to determine rent? If not, does anyone know what the average rent would be for a 700 square foot, 1 BR, garden level (separate entrance), new (but small) kitchen with dishwasher, new bath, wood floors, a/c on a nice block in Gowanus near trains? Thanks for any info.

Renovation December 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Bathroom Renovations – What do you wish you knew before you started?

We are thinking about renovating one of the bathrooms in my condo in Cobble Hill. The building was built in 1988, so it’s looking a little dated. We’re not talking about expanding the size or relocating the plumbing in any significant way. My wife would love to remove the tub and replace it with large shower. I’d like to add storage space. Any helpful hints, suggestions of where to start, websites to check out, etc. would be really helpful.

Electricians December 19, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Electrician – tip for service?

I’m about to wrap up an approx 8 day job where an electrician is installing some new receptacles, switches, lights, etc in my 1908 PLG brownstone. 2 guys, one lead and one helper.

I’m pleased with their work (8/10), so what’s the norm for a tip to tradespeople like this?

About Brooklyn December 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Pettite Clawfoot Tub for sale

Hello, I am looking to sell a pettite clawfoot tub (house built in 1910). The tub measures 48″, 28″, 18″. Looking to get $350. Contact me at tubforsale @ gmail.


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For Sale December 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Antique mahogany desk panels. FREE in BedStuy

Consider it a kit with a lot of parts missing.
I have numerous pieces of an old mahogany roll top desk, i.e., the paneled sides and back. Not the tambour, not the drawers, and not the pigeonholes, and not the desktop. It’s all solid mahogany and I hate to trash it, so if somebody could use it, please come and take it all.
Attaching a pic of the pieces.
I’m also attaching a screengrab of a similar desk just to illustrate what this item is, but IT’S NOT A PIC OF THIS DESK.

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About Brooklyn December 17, 2014 at 8:18 am

Sugar Hill Partners buys 4103 7th Ave for $4,159,000

Sugar Hill Partners buys 4103 7th Ave in Sunset Park for $4,159,000
You heard it here first.

Heating and Air Conditioning December 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm

HVAC recommendation needed

Can anyone recommend an HVAC company that they have worked with and trust. We have a year plus old whole house, 3 zone HVAC system and the installer is clearly not interested in servicing it. Maybe it’s because we put Nest thermostats on, and a humidifier for each zone, and he couldn’t understand the Nest because ‘it was like a computer’ and was really frustrated at having to be bothered with humidifiers – but probably because the warranty is up. One humidifier leaks, one is not raising the humidity, and as time goes on I have more and more questions about the quality about the work that he did – long story short – I’m done with this guy and I need someone I can trust to go through this and make it work properly. I’m afraid that if I just call a random HVAC company they’ll take advantage in my hour of need, so I turn to the forum for advice. Who’s your go to HVAC person?

Fire December 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Electric work post-fire

I’m hoping I can get clarification on what a “point” is and what it costs to fix each point. We had a fire and our insurance settlement is allotting approx $100 per “point.” A contractor we interviewed, who suggested we hire his insured electrician directly, said the electrician charges between $160-$180 per point.

The electricity is not working in our kitchen (among other rooms). Of course, there are numerous outlets and light switches. What does it entail to fix the electric and how does that translate into “points” and prices? Is $100 per point realistic? We want to make sure we’re not getting low-balled by the insurance company’s builder. Thank you.

About Brooklyn December 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Filing for reconfiguring electrical service

We have a three story building that was previously lower duplex and now is an upper duplex. We have put in all new electrical wiring. Con Ed still still has the accounts listed as Garden/Parlor and 3rd floor. Our electrician says that the service has to be filed to reflect the changes but this was not part of his scope of work. Does anyone know how this service change filed? Thanks.

About Brooklyn December 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm

there's a really good roofer after all–FLAT ROOF DOCTOR!

our less-than-a-year-old roof sprung multiple leaks (7? 8?), and after our GC couldn’t, and didn’t have time to, figure it out (we are mid-renovation), i called a roofer–bring in the specialists! he (no names here) suggested a couple options, one of which was simple enough that our GC could do–he said it didn’t have to be a roofer per se. the other suggestion was to add another layer to the roof, which seemed wasteful, when the roofing material itself was deemed good, and is only 11 months old–it’s just that it hadn’t been applied correctly. so, i researched roof repairs and found myself in a youtube rabbithole, looking at videos from a really impressive company called “flat roof doctor”. the videos show knowledgable guys who are determined to explain and fix roof issues, and willing to generously share their observations (and some methods) on youtube. pretty awesome, i think–a lot of roofers wouldn’t want to share that information. they are in connecticut so i figured they were too far away but called to bounce the ideas off them of the solutions from our roofer here (in ft. greene). they said his simple fix was a very bad idea, explained why, and then gave notes on what the right way to approach it would be. i hung up, thought about it, spent some more time researching, then realized these guys totally know what they’re doing, and that i really wanted them to do the job. i called them back and tried to convince them to schlep all the way here–which they finally agreed to do, after seeing pics of the roof and getting some sense of the problem. for $3500 they fixed every single seam, added more material where needed, and gave an unheard-of-around-here 20-year, whole roof guarantee. that “entire roof guarantee” might not be the case for every job, but it made sense for us since they were addressing the whole roof. it only took a couple hours, which made me a little nervous, but there were four of them and they do NOT mess around, they just got right down to business as soon as they arrived. i could also see how exacting they’d been–and the guarantee put me at ease. i wasn’t thrilled about paying $3500 to fix an almost-new roof, but i’m TOTALLY thrilled that these are the guys who did it! i mean, they are called FLAT ROOF DOCTOR, for god’s sake–how could we go wrong? and really, in this sea of flat roofs, they truly are a much-needed resource, considering how many people have leaks, and aren’t happy with their roofer. the guy’s name is naas ferreira, and he showed up with his three smart, nice sons (they’re in the videos), and like a well-oiled machine, they just went straight up to the roof and started checking every inch of material, brought up all their supplies and left no stone unturned. (i also think it’s cool that they’re a true family business). well, if all else goes to shit with our renovation, at least we have a good roof!

About Brooklyn December 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Street Tree Planting Redux

On Nov. 6th I wrote a forum post asking about private street tree planting, since I didn’t want to wait the year and a half the City tends to take to replace the huge (probably >100 year old) silver maple that was being taken down that day ( at our request, because it was hollow and quite dangerous):

One reader, “Arkady”, suggested that I contact James Kaechel, of the NY Tree Trust (THANK YOU Arkady!):

I’m really impressed that they were able to plant a new tree the same season. The old stump was ground the week before last and the new “Skyline” honey locust (our choice) was planted this morning. It took a little longer than originally promised, but I’m sure the Tree Trust’s contractor was delayed by the recent bad weather. When they ground the stump they told me that they planned to have all their trees planted by the end of this week.

The $1,800 we paid was pretty much the same as what a private arborist had quoted (there was some looseness in their estimate because they had an hourly charge for stump grinding); I don’t know if this was a set charge or if the donation reflected the very large size of the stump that had to be ground.I chose the Tree Trust because the private arborist thought they’d have trouble getting a permit for this fall; not a problem for the Tree Trust, which operates out of the Dept. of Parks Flushing Meadow Park office.

Here’s the NY Tree Trust’s URL:

I couldn’t recommend them more highly!

Roofers December 15, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Cost and recs to replace iron waste pipe

We have cracks in a four foot section of the iron waste pipe. It’s the horizontal section that is located at the base of the stack to the upper floors that is in the ceiling of the basement. Has anyone had similar work done? We’re looking for a recommendation of plumber that does this work regularly and approxiate cost.
If anyone knows the ballpark cost for replacing the entire stack, that would helpful to know too.
Thanks in advance!

For Sale December 13, 2014 at 4:12 pm

White ceramic 4 by 16 subway tile

Hi – I have 100 sq ft of surplus white ceramic 4 by 16 subway tiles from a bathroom renovation. Bought for $3.50/sqft, yours for $1 / sq ft — unopened in original packaging, Carroll Gardens pickup. Call Daniel 646 732 9787 if interested

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Landmarks December 13, 2014 at 9:11 am

Fence restrictions. Landmarks? Height? Material?

There is just too much relevant information here for Brownstoners not to discuss.

As of yet, no comment from Landmarks (maybe they are considering allowing white plastic fences across the front of homes now). I’m pretty sure the height is a violation. Is there a code for proper footings? And what about fire code? Is the height tied to fire code?

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