Ask Brownstoner


Okay, folks, we’re shooting to move at the end of the month, even though there may still be some odds and ends to finish. We don’t have tons of stuff, but enough that we definitely need three men and a truck (not a van). We’ve used Noah’s Ark a couple of times with widely divergent results. We could really use some suggestions though.


In our ongoing effort to consolidate the most sought-after type of information in the Forum, today we want to know your picks (and pans) in the world of electricians. Please be so kind as to specify what size job you used him (or her) for, where it fell on the price spectrum, as well as any other relevant factors like promptness, cleanliness, politeness. (We’re still trying to squeeze some finishing touches out of ours, so we’re going to withhold comment for a little while longer.)


We would like to start assembling a more comprehensive library of service provider references than the ad hoc feedback that happens in the Forum. To that end, over the next several weeks, we will solicit your feedback on a variety of services that go into building, restoring and maintaining brownstones (and apartments for that matter). We want to hear the names of the companies/individuals you have used (you can stay anonymous), any contact info you have, how they performed, how were they priced, were they on time, pleasant to deal with? Finally, if you can rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the best), that would be great too. Hopefully all of this can ultimately result in a comprehensive resource that we can all benefit from.

So we’ll kick it off with General Contractors today. Who wants to go first?


Our kitchen cabinets were installed today, so we’re ready to have the counters cut. As some readers may recall, we bought two large slabs of 2-inch 1 1/2 thick marble that came out of an old theater in the West 40’s at Build It Green NYC a couple of months ago. So now we need a recommendation of someone who can come to the house to create the template, then go pick up the slabs in Queens and finally cut and finish them. Preferably this would all happen next week. Any ideas?


We can’t believe our collective good fortune in the salvage department. Today, a reader in Park Slope who is combining two apartments in a 1905 limestone walk-up building has no need for the extra built-in server/sideboard. In addition to period moldings, it also has built-in mirrored walls and (what looks like) a marble counter. This is an exceptional piece and if no one else takes him up on his offer to give it away to anyone willing to perform a careful extraction and removal, we may have to take it, even though we have no immediate use. Getting it out of there won’t be a trivial task, but if you can re-use it in your own space, man, will it be worth it!
1905 Server [Brownstoner Forum]


We got an email yesterday from someone who trying to decide whether to lay an new cement floor in her basement or to do something a little more ambitious that would require some excavation. She reminded us that there were two posts in the Forum in April on this subject and was curious to know how the two projects panned out. If either of the original posters are reading this, we’d love to hear an update.


We have a three new Forum posts this morning that could use your attention. One reader poses an interesting question about stripping the paint off lincrusta, another worries about tax hikes resulting from a C of O change and a third asks for advice on building a new backyard fence. On another note, we want to encourage people to use the forum to donate, sell, or trade building parts and architectural salvage. Send us a photo and description and we’ll post it for you.
Lincrusta, Taxes and Fences [Brownstoner Forum]