Brownstone Boys: Finishing Touches

Leveling the cabinet hardware, making sure it's perfect

Editor’s note: Welcome to the 47th 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

Whenever we talk about “finishing” our renovation project someone reminds us that it will never be completely finished. We’re almost to the 95 percent complete mark, which I guess is where it will always be. While that may be scary for some, we’re perfectly happy about it because…well, we love a project, and we’ll have plenty to write about.

brownstone boys

The saddle in the guest bathroom was on the punch list and is now complete. We think it looks great!

The most tediously frustrating parts of a reno project are the few weeks in the beginning and the few weeks at the end. In the beginning you can’t wait to start ripping things apart, but you have to sit idle waiting for permits. At the end you’re ready to start enjoying your space, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there are lots of little things still to do and you have to get through them before you can clean (so much cleaning) and make the space livable. That’s where we are now. Deep in the punch list weeds.

All major projects are done. The place looks great. But our list of little things is so long it’s hard to see the end. We thought we would give a few tips to help with finishing the list.

Don’t Be Shy
You should have a long punch list. Your contractor expects it and it’s important to make sure you not are having to do this after your project is “complete.” Our list consists of things from filling gaps to removing and replacing tiles. It’s all possible. Don’t ignore anything you won’t be happy with for the years you’ll live in the space.

brownstone boys reno

We had some configuring to do with the original master bathroom door but we think we found the solution

Save Some Time And Money
There are some things that don’t fall into the scope of what our contractor should be doing for us, but “the guys” are here and we’re taking advantage of it. We have some brick walls that are hard to drill into to hang mirrors, shelves and pictures so we are having them do it. I’m sure it’s saving us a few headaches, plus we will have plenty of things to keep us busy. The more we can have them cross off our list the better!

Check Everything
Make sure everything is in working condition. Run the AC, heat, dishwasher, washer/dryer, fridge/freezer, ice maker, all bath fixtures….you get the picture. Don’t find out something doesn’t work once they are out of the building. Sure they can come back, but it will be a lot easier to get it done while they are there.

brownstone boys

Admiring the recent unveiling of the kitchen island

There is a fine layer (and in some places quite a bit more than a fine layer) of dust on pretty much everything. We are very ready for a deep post-construction cleaning. We’ll have a crew come in and clean the place from top to bottom, but it’s useless to do that until we are done with the punch list. Some of it involves a bit of sanding and repainting that will create more dust.

Check It Twice
We’re getting through our punch list and when it’s done, we’re going through the list one more time. The second round won’t take nearly as long but we know we’ll find a few more things. Scuffs, gaps and mistakes will show that we missed the first time once the place is cleaned.

We’re really excited to be in the final few weeks of our larger reno and looking forward to moving on to some smaller projects and working on the design.

brownstone boys

Cabinet hardware from Buster + Punch has been installed, leveled and secured

[Photos via Brownstone Boys]

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