Editor’s note: Welcome to the third installment of It’s Just a Heights One-Bedroom, a reader renovation diary. We’re excited to publish Robert Schwartz‘s tale of buying and renovating an apartment in Brooklyn Heights. See the first one here.
Work on the apartment didn’t grind to a halt over the holidays as much as it slowed to a trickle. The building had rules, which were abided by. 1 Yet, so many big things actually were accomplished before, sporadically during, and just after New Year’s.
The kitchen cabinets arrived. It was 18 degrees and there were 135,000 boxes, one elevator and one late delivery. Woo hoo! That night, one of us 2 had the brilliant 3 idea to go to the apartment to visit the new cabinets, tear open the boxes and see what they look like…at 11:04 p.m.! 4 We went with solid maple slab doors and composite boxes. Evin was worried they wouldn’t complement the floors. 5 We even splurged for the pull-out drawers and toe-kick drawers, things people more sophisticated than us have. The cabinets are a great use of the space, and the kitchen felt designed. And it was, and by my wife. 6 And I probably haven’t said it nearly enough: every detail, meticulously well thought out. She did a great, great job here!
The bathroom has been tiled. The medicine cabinet from that Scandinavian big box store has been assembled. 7 The tub, toilet and shower door paid with AmEx points. We went simple with the subway tile. Then went crazy with the floor and accent tile, which gave the EZ Pass to New Jersey quite a workout. Finally, there was the inspired idea to create a cut-out in the bathroom wall for the litter box. 8 We’re really happy with the bathroom, which once again, is way more Evin than me. 9
After an aside to the contractor that we “might” want new closets, new doors and new radiator covers, we discovered the following Saturday afternoon that we now needed new closets, new doors and new radiator covers. He had demo’d it all, a blessing really. 10 New doors and closets were easy decisions, just one phone call really. 11 But the radiator covers needed to be custom and because I took on this project, they consumed me 24 hours a day for the entire holiday season. And there were a lot of choices: metal, MDF, solid wood — not to mention choices in style and finish. I wasn’t expecting to reach custom radiator fabricators over the holiday but I did. There was the little mill shop in Indiana, nice people, good price, 16 weeks. There were the hipster Brooklyn small business carpenters, who were twice the price of the others. 12 Finally, I found a small carpenter in upstate New York. A sweet woman named Shiela 13 answered the phone, explained what they do, we placed the order, and we’ll have them in four weeks. 14
What’s left: Paint, lighting and stone (stone!) over the next two weeks. 15
Thoughts and prayers are working!
Our lawyer suggested we include this.
2. It was stupid.
3. We fought the whole time.
4. I was never worried they would complement the floors.
5. I had something to do with this.
6. Again, late at night, on a Sunday even, again, a horrid idea. We clearly haven’t learned.
7. My idea.
8. I may be forced to use the bathroom in the gym.
9. Not really, only more expensive.
10. Okay, a few dozen.
11. Kombucha and mustache wax are expensive I guess.
12. Yes, she spells it this way.
13. I don’t get nearly enough credit for this.
14. And not a minute too soon. We. Are. Exhausted.
[Photos by Evin Lowe]
- It’s Just a Heights One-Bedroom Reader Renovation Diary: Endless Decisions
- It’s Just a Heights One-Bedroom Reader Renovation Diary: Can We Take Down That Wall?
- It’s Just a Heights One-Bedroom Reader Renovation Diary: We Pull the Trigger