Windsor Terrace Reno
Hmm..could it be that this is the final renovation update? Hard to believe. Have I missed anything you want to see? Of course, there is a lot more on my personal to-do list but putting the renovation part behind me seems almost surreal.
Unfortunately, I didn’t leave a very exciting one for last. You’ve already seen this room a few times in prior posts (save the tile, power of paint, flush me down, etc.). But just for completion sake, I figured I’d do a post dedicated to the upstairs/guest/hallway bathroom. (We haven’t really settled on what we call it yet)
This is the bathroom as we found it when we bought the house
The sink that got resprayed and reinstalled in its original location
And the tub that got moved downstairs, resprayed and painted silver for the parlor bath
Despite its state of neglect, I really loved this bathroom. It helped me see the whole house in the way it looked back in its heyday. If it were possible, I would have loved to keep most everything in here as is and just clean it up. But that wasn’t really an option as we had to replace all the plumbing and electrical. We did save as many of the wall tiles as we could and reused them in our kitchen backsplash. We were also able to keep the sink here and repurpose the clawfoot downstairs. I think we did the best we could in terms of re-using what we had in a practical way.
This bathroom is the smallest and will likely be the most abused in terms of future guests and children. So as a trade off to some of the splurges we made in the other bathrooms, we went with a low-key (read: cheap) plan in here. The wall tiles are the same stock ceramic subway tiles & trim we used in our master bathroom. The floor tiles are an unglazed ceramic black & white hex that seemed vintage without being expensive. (I had originally wanted to do a pattern that included square and hex tiles in a custom pattern for the little floor but after seeing some of the early issues we had with our contractors, I decided to keep it simple and get the black and white hex.) The toilet is a Toto Promenade, the faucet are Kohler Pillar Taps and the tub is a Kohler run of the mill cast iron.
As you might see from the photos below, we had to give up the window in here in exchange for a place for other ducts, vents, and piping. Sad to see it go but it was worth it to not have soffits in the kitchen and hallway.
The one thing we did in here that I would call a splurge was adding a skylight. Its a small thing really but it makes this very small room seem a lot more spacious when there is some natural light filtering in from above.
I don’t think Ill add much more in here except for a little care package when we have the random overnight guest. Honestly, I still don’t love the paint color but Im trying to make it work with the striped shower curtain from Target and keeping everything else pretty bare. That’s all she wrote for the Limestones bathrooms.
Just when we thought we were putting stressful renovation problems behind us, Mr. Limestone walked into the cellar last night to find this.
And this (viewer discretion strongly advised). Lets just say that ain’t just water!
Mr. L leaped into action to get it under control. He moved the boxes out of the way and manned the wet vac to keep the damage to a minimum while he got all necessary parties on the way to get it fixed. By the time I got home, he had done it all which is a very good thing because while I wouldn’t consider myself the type to be overwhelmed by house problems I call uncle when those problems involve human feces.
All the signs pointed to a sewage line collapse. Aside from the grossness factor, we were both pretty depressed at the thought of another huge bill as well as the major aggravation factor of ripping up sidewalks, getting more permits, etc..
I’m really happy to report that we were wrong! We had a sewage company come over with crew and camera. Evidently there was a blockage from rocks/bolts/other crap that must have come from the renovation debris. They snaked and sucked and water jetted the blockage until it was no more. We’re a little lighter in the wallet ($900) but it was no where near as bad as it could have been ($10K+).
To those who have been following along this year, you may remember what I like to call THE.MOST.DISGUISTING.ROOM.EVER.
I can’t seem to find the other photos of the original bathroom but lets just say it didn’t get any better from another angle. This bathroom was next to the rooms that became the kitchen/dining area. The original bathroom was pretty big so we took some of that space for the kitchen and made the bathroom area smaller.
A good deal of thought went into deciding if we should make this a half bathroom or leave it as a full. We didn’t really NEED a full bath on the main floor. Ultimately, we decided that the claw foot tub could live in here and we could leave it as a full. We figure the tub can come in handy for future dog/children baths. And even if we rarely use it for whats its intended for, at least we saved the original tub and its pretty too look at. Time will tell if its a practical decision or not.
The layout of this bathroom is one of those things I’d count as a major mistake on my part. As you can see from the photo, the door swings open right into the tub. How did I miss that detail? It was in all of the plans and I never even thought of it. I justify it to myself as having too many details to worry about at the time but really, it isn’t like me not to spot something so obvious. Oh well, I didn’t notice and it was too late to fix once I did. I suppose I could have the door switched to swing the other way at some point but I’ll live with it for now. I really am loathe to do another thing that requires power tools.
This bathroom is really tough to photograph. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but all the photos seem to come out with a weird greenish cast and make the room look poorly lit. In reality, the marble has a blue/grey tone and the wall has the tiniest bit of green and its quite bright in there. I like the color combo and the feel of the whole room. Anyway, I think it looks nicer in person so you’ll have to take my word for it.
Here are the specs in case you’re interested:
-tiles are carrera marble – hex on the floor, subway on the wall (purchased from Classic Tile and I’d recommend them)
-paint is Benjamin Moores “gray owl” (which actually looks a tiny bit green)
-the toilet is a Kohler Memoir (purchased from Park Slope Plumbing Supply – not wow’d by the service or help there at all)
-sink & faucet is Polished Nickel manufactered by Porcher (purchased online)
-Mirror, lights & shelf also Polished Nickel (purchased from pottery barn)
The walls look really bare in here so I definitely need something on the walls. For some reason, I think the marble tiles would look cool with some high contrast black and whites of the NYC subway or maybe grand central? I don’t really want to use the same photos Ive seen on a thousand postcards so maybe I can snap some of my own and see how that looks.
Until accessories are added, this is it. Another room done. Woo-hoo.
Doesn’t the word “vestibule” make you think of men smoking pipes and women in corsets? I’m not even sure what I have can be called a vestibule but thats what I call it.
Todays post is about the least touched “room” in the house – the parlor vestibule. Although this doesn’t really count as a room as much as a pass through, it got some renovation attention but mostly cosmetic touch ups.
As you can see, the ceiling had the most damage. It was a total mess. After the plaster was repaired, a single light was added. Somehow this became a recessed can when I really wanted a small hanging fixture. But once it was there, I sort of liked the drama that the single arch of light added and how the empty space overhead added to the open feeling. Its not like I’m going to be reading Proust in there so the recessed light worked out well.
Thankfully the detail on the walls wasn’t in terrible shape. It had a few cracks/chips but it was entirely intact. Our contractors did a nice job of touching up the ornate plaster work while smoothing out the rest of the wall.
The wood wainscoating got a few coats of bone white while the wall above got its due with the lovely Silver Fox. The light switches got push button switches and an aged brass plate.
Our contractor suggested doing a gold leaf treatment on the detail. At first I wasn’t too crazy about the idea but the concept has grown on me. Maybe I’ll give it a try once I have some free time?
Even though its not a space I spend much time in, the “frame” of the plaster feels like it needs something else. What have you brownstoners done in here?
In other weird mix up, the contractors put down a coat of white grout on the floor. Not sure why as we never asked them to and would never want to put white grout in the vestibule. Hey, they meant well. The floor still needs a good scrub down but that will have to wait until the winter is over.
Traveling back to before we started renovating, the very top floor of the house was a separate apartment while the lower two floors was the owners’ duplex. (I use these terms loosely as I have a hard time truly calling any space without working plumbing a duplex but I digress). The top floor apartment had what some might call a “kitchen” (again, using term loosely).
Since our plan was to reconfigure the space and make the top floor our bedrooms, the “kitchen” had to go. Before the construction really started, Mr. Limestone did some of his own “demo” by carefully removing the leaded glass doors and removing the disgustng floor to determine if there was hardwood underneath.
This room doesn’t have the same wow transformation as the kitchen or bathrooms but I think it came out pretty well. The things that were done in here: removed cabinets, wallpaper, old lino floors, new window, recessed lights, electrical outlets, crown molding, skim coat, floors sanded and poly, paint.
This floor had the most damage and wonky repairs. There are patches where its laid in a different direction and there is one larger black blob from what I presume is water damage. I considered painting it (I love a painted floor) but it turned out better than I expected so I think I’ll just leave it. It might get a rug if its lucky.
I think we are pretty much done right now short of a few boring touch ups. I plan on doing another couple of posts about how the bathrooms turned out but I think thats pretty much it. If anyone has any specific requests for a post topic, let me know. Otherwise Im very close to being over and out! Woo-hoo.
Love is probably the wrong word here but its the one that immediately comes to mind. Maybe I should say adore. I adore it so much I haven’t move my clothing out of their boxes (Ive been living out of these cardboard wardrobes for the past 5 months)because I don’t want to make it ugly with the addition of my rag tag wardrobe.
If you’ve been following along you may remember my angry rant about how these closets are a pain to put together. They absolutely are – no question about that. But now that its finished and all in working order, I’ve forgiven the Container Store.
This closet is not big by most outside NYC standards (approx 6 feet by 3 feet) but its quite big compared to my prior closet. Most importantly, it maxmizes the space and is pretty to look at.
I wish I could transport you into my closet so you could feel the serenity that comes over me when I walk into this little box. Until a blog to home transporter is invented, this frankenstein like photo merge of my closet will have to suffice.
What you are seeing is the left, back and right wall arranged into a flat panorama. Have no fear, my walls are not bowed like this nor are you on a weird home renovation acid trip.
I realize this isn’t strictly a home renovation post so Im sort of breaking my own rules here but I felt I had to share how happy I am with how they turned out after I complained about the system.
It feels like a long, long time ago that we visited the house and found this bathroom staring back at us.
From very early on, we knew we wanted to keep whatever was possible to save. The clawfoot and the sink made it on the save list pretty early on. I could pretend its my concern for being green or even my appreciation for the history of the home that drove that desire. While those two factors definitely counted, I think the biggest reason for keeping these items was that I liked them – they had personality and they fit the imaginery picture in my head of what the house would look like post-renovation.
We were originally going to keep it in the upstairs guest and/or potential limestoner offspring bathroom. After some thought, we realized a clawfoot tub isn’t the most ideal place for drunken guests or children to bathe so the tub got moved to the downstairs parlor bathroom off the kitchen. It won’t get used on a daily basis but will be handy for potential child/dog baths if the need should arise. The sink got reinstalled in the same place.
One of the first renovation foul ups we had in the demo days was that the clawfoot got thrown away accidently. Luckily, Mr. Limestone was making his rounds at the house that afternoon and spotted the tub peeking out of the dumpster! The tub got hauled out of the trash but had some signficant collateral damage.
And the sink was just a general mess from being abused for a 100 years.
After many months of waiting for its star treatment, we had the sink and tub re-surfaced this weekend. Sort of randomly, I found the website of Custom Spraying and Mr. L made the appointment. It was a pretty quick and painless process. They showed up on time, prepared the rooms by covering everything with brown paper and tape, did their spraying and were done in a few hours.
Ive never had this done before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The owner, Jimmy, was very honest about the process and what it would/would not do. It would make it look a thousand times better but its not perfect. It has to be treated slightly more delicately than you would treat something new. So no abrasive cleaners, no scraping the surface with metal, etc.. It seems pretty straightforward and easy to follow. He warned me that my sink had some pitting so I should be prepared for it. And while there is some tiny pits in the sink that I can feel with my fingers, I would never even have noticed if he didn’t mention it. I didn’t expect them to be like new, I just wanted them clean and useable and this did the trick.
They did a great job, were professional and knowledgeable. I would recommend them if you are looking for someone to do something similar.
I can’t believe I’m typing this but (with the exception of a lightbulb, glass shelves for the upper cabinets and a few other minor things) my kitchen is finished!!
You read that right: appliances installed, countertops oiled, fixtures operating, lights shining, backsplash gleaming.
I think I just saw a pig fly by my window!!
They don’t exactly jump out at you but the backsplash was done with the very same tiles that Mr. Limestone so painstakingly removed from the upstairs bathroom. The very same tiles we spent a good deal of time soaking and scrubbing and sorting. Hard to imagine but we barely had enough unscathed tiles to do even do this much backsplash after all that. (We had a lot of extras that have some minor damage) Its one of those things that no one but us will notice but Im happy we were able to use these.
Despite telling the crew we didn’t want them to oil the soapstone, they couldn’t resist. I loved how it looked gray and I love how it looks black. And lastly the shiny bridge faucet. This is one of those very rare things that the Mr. and I both agreed on from fairly early on. Im especially happy with how it doesn’t look out of place despite its central location.
I think I see the end of this renovation tunnel that has sapped all of our energy (and money!) for the last year. Could it be?
They have been mostly under wraps as the work continues around the kitchen but I had to pull back the brown paper and take a peak.
Its really such a beautiful stone. I like to touch it. Yes, Im a stone pervert.