Brownstone Boys: Walking On New Ground

We successfully moved upstairs this past weekend. Our basement has seen better days. We have a lot of things stored down here until the reno finishes

Editor’s note: Welcome to the 42nd 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

Some things have been a long timing coming but are greatly anticipated. Even though they are relatively small developments they are a big step (pun intended) forward to completing the project. And we just plain feel good about getting them done.

brownstone boys

We’re restoring the stairs as best we can. We’re pleased with the progress

Refinishing Stairs
If you’ve read some of our other posts you probably know that we have been busy restoring the original banister and newel post. It all looks amazing, but this entire time there has been ugly old carpet layered on top of linoleum or some kind of vinyl on the stairs and risers. It has been something we looked at and sighed over almost everyday. Well, the carpet, vinyl, linoleum and the glue that held it all together is now off!

The stairs are original so they definitely don’t look new, but we’re happy with the shape they are in. Sure, they have holes where coverings have been installed, scars, a couple of gouges, and a charming squeak with every step that will definitely wake us up in the morning as we stumble downstairs for coffee. They’ve seen a lot over their 130-year-old lives! We’re going to extend it a little more and strip, sand and refinish them. We’ll take the squeaks and scars as a bit of character.

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The newly poured concrete deck surface

Deck Surface
So maybe this one isn’t such a small development. You probably know that one of the things we are most excited about (as we’re sure anyone else would be) is our new deck! Well, this week we can walk on it for the first time! The steel has been steadily going in over the past few weeks (with a minor setback to fix a footing) and now the deck surface and stairs are in! We need railings and a bit of finishing and then we will be 100 percent done with it.

We did something a little different for our deck surface. It’s common to pour cement and then lay tile on top. It’s not a bad solution because it gives you an outdoor room kind of feel. But our renovation is being done on a tight budget and tiling adds a chunk of money on top of what is already a big expense. We decided to pour the concrete all the way to the top and have a concrete surface at no additional cost. We plan on painting it with a concrete paint that will give it a clean and smooth (ish) finish.

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The deck is taking shape. Stairs and surface have been installed

These are small developments but big steps for us. They are still a work in progress so we’ll keep you updated.

[Photos via Brownstone Boys]

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