Brownstone Boys: Moving Up

Took a trip to visit our marble counters. They are being fabricated this week!

Editor’s note: Welcome to the 38th installment of Brownstone Boys Reno, a reader renovation diary. We’re excited to publish their tale of buying and renovating a brownstone in Bed Stuy. See the first one here. They also blog at

We kicked off our renovation in January 2019. Seven months later and we are weeks away from finishing some rooms. But don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere! There is plenty more work to do and more projects coming.
For the past 10 months we’ve been living in the garden apartment. Fortunately it’s a completely separate space free of construction dust and from there we’ve been able to keep a close eye on the construction upstairs.

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Deep cleaning the master skylight in the top floor hallway

Not even a month in, we wrote about how to finish your renovation project on time…or close to it. Ordering materials on time, meeting with your contractor regularly, limiting mid-project changes, and making fast decisions were among some of the things we wrote about and tried our best to do. In these final weeks our communication and direction with our contractor is higher than ever.

With the major part of the renovation getting close to done, it’s time for us to start some projects in the garden rental and move upstairs. Fortunately the third-floor bedrooms and bathrooms are just about done. Our plan will be to move up to the 3rd floor while we are finishing up the parlor level. We would be the first to warn any renovators not to move into an unfinished space, but we are so close to being done! There won’t be any construction on the floor we will live on and we’ll be past the dusty stuff on the parlor level as well. To make this happen we will be working though a long list over the next few weeks. We are reviewing a list of items that we need completed at the start of each week with our contractor, and then meeting again at the end of the week to make sure it all got accomplished.

brownstone boys

Our master bathroom vanity was delivered. We love how it turned out!

There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the third floor so let’s take a look at where we are.

Guest Bath
The guest bath is about a day of work from being finished. The sink needs to be installed, claw foot tub shower curtain ring needs to go in, and a few bits and pieces need to be completed like grouting some tile that needed to be removed for the tub installation. We also need to install a vintage door and prep it for glass installation next week.

Front Bedroom
Once the walls were up in this room not much else needed to be done. Once the the closet door and trim are installed and the baseboards are completed we’ll be ready to paint.

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Experimenting with custom made baseboards to match the original

Middle Bedroom
The room with no window ironically is now the brightest room in the house with the 40-by-40-inch skylight installed and finished. We need a few pieces of baseboard installed and the closet door put in and we’re good to go!

Master Bedroom
This week there will be a lot going on in the master bedroom. We needed to replicate and replace sections of the plaster moulding in this room where walls were removed. We’re right in the middle of that. It’s a process and will take a few more days, but after that we’ll be ready to install the rest of the baseboards, closet doors, and trim to finish the room.

Master Bath
Truth be told we might be using the guest bath for the first week or two. There is a good bit of work to do and one of the reasons is because we didn’t follow our own advice! The beautiful tile in our master bath is hand made from Fireclay. We thought we ordered enough but we didn’t account for as many cuts as we needed and ran out. Ordering more had a long lead time since it’s handmade. So we have been at a standstill for five weeks. The tile is finally in and so we can finish it up next week! The custom vanity is on site and ready for sinks and stone. The shower and door saddle are measured and being cut. The last thing that will go in is the shower glass. It’s doubtful this will get installed before we move in, but it won’t be long after.

brownstone boys

Playing around with radiator covers. We think we will leave them exposed

Finally, we need to remove the ugly carpet that has been protecting the stairs through the renovation, sand, and refinish. We also plan on installing a runner. We’re not expecting the stairs to be in the best condition and we have an 80 pound lab that will slip and slide down the stairs without it.

It’s hard to believe we are crossing the last items off the list for the third floor. Timing is so crucial right now that it’s even more stressful than usual, but we are encouraged by the amount of progress we’re making every day.

brownstone boys

The farmhouse sink was installed. We are so in love!

[Photos via Brownstone Boys]

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