Catching up with the small projects


      Back Door

      One of the big reasons I was able to convince my husband to buy a house and leave our comfortable condo in Clinton Hill’s Graham Home – where we had one of those two giant balconies – was because our house would have a backyard. But thanks to our stalled renovation, we really couldn’t access it for almost two years. As part of the normal course of things, the old door was removed and a new doorframe built. It was covered with a piece of plywood, screwed in with about a dozen giant screws. It was a pain to take this wood on and off, but we’d only have to put up with this until we got our new door. Which would be soon. Right?

      That’s not how things turned out, of course. When we finally did have some money to get some things done, my husband almost died when he found out how much our Marvin door would cost. I really pushed for it though. Cheap doors and just obvious and terrible. This is a solid, heavy, good-looking door. And then we had a security gate put on as well, with a screen attached. Money well spent. Once he had easy access to the backyard, he immediately started digging up the soil and sifting it through a giant sieve he made from wood, a roll of mesh, and an old bathtub. It’s been painstakingly slow, but I’m hoping he gets it finished this spring. He’s already sifted out bags and bags of metal and glass. He’s going down about two feet – I hope that’s enough.

      He’s already unearthed an entire toilet.


      We had a lot of trouble with the new floors on our top two floors, due to some old/bad matte polyurethane. So we went this time with the more popular and harder to mess-up satin finish, and the floors turned out absolutely gorgeous (the first two pictures are pre-poly).




      Part of the floor actually had to be torn out and re-done after we decided we wanted to move the location of the radiator from between the windows to the side of the room. That seems to be our m.o. Is there really any question at this point why we ran into money trouble with this renovation?

      Choosing the kitchen tile was perhaps the quickest and easiest decision my husband and I made during this entire multi-year process, and we’re thrilled with our choice. We went with a ceramic tile that looks like slate. It was installed beautifully. I can’t imagine what the installers went through to get the tile set so close and so flush – this kind of installation doesn’t really leave any room for error. There was one tile that seemed to be installed a little unevenly, but it will be completely covered by cabinets some day so I don’t care.



      We couldn’t seem to get our act together to choose a tile for the bathroom, so just ended up going with the same tile there as well, but smaller.


      We used extra tile in the half bath for the baseboards, and have this funky metal trim that still has to go on it to finish the top edge – I forgot what it’s called, something German.

      So, we’re thrilled with the floors on the garden level. Of course, they’re also the ones that get beat up on the most, since we track dirt and mud and sand over them all day. But so far so good, they’re holding up great.

      Up next: Tough Kitchen Choices

      Amy also blogs at Selfish Mom and Filming in Brooklyn.


      1. bfarwell: Bwahahaha!

        A friend of ours around the corner dug up three hot water tanks, burried right in a row like bodies.

      2. Hi bedstuy11216, they’re Brazilian cherry with a satin polyurethane. We’ve got them on three floors and are very happy with them. They’ve contracted just a little bit over the winter where they meet the tile.

      3. Thanks for a great post. I’ve been following your progress for the last three years (almost) and learnt a lot from you, especially at the beginning. Your recommendation for Nemo tile was much appreciated.
        Your security door looks, well, secure, and I wonder what kind of lock you used and who was your locksmith. We need to do something similar because although we have a gate, its locking mechanism is very flimsy. Any info you share would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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