Today’s vestibule renovation submission comes from a family that lived in the lower duplex for six years before embarking on a three-year renovation of the entire house.

We did a lot of work to our vestibule in the course of taking our four family down to a two family. The work on the vestibule was not cheap, but we saved on what we could, and we sourced everything directly, but asked our contractor to put it all together. When we bought the house the parlor vestibule was shared by all the tenants, with an inner door for the owner’s duplex (parlor and ground floors). The vestibule had a grimy stone floor which never came clean; shiny hardware and no molding around door to exterior; safety glass in window with chicken wire embedded; and a decorative shelf left by a previous owner. It wasn’t all bad though: There were nice old exterior doors (interior doors were so-so but not in desperate need of replacing) and there was some original baseboard molding.

So what did we do? Stripped doors, repainted, installed new curved molding for exterior doors by a lovely carpenter in Massachusetts, put new glass in windows, added old encaustic tile (durable, nice old patina) as well as new hardware by Baldwin, new saddles, salvaged pine floors, purple/grey paint to match tiles. It was not all smooth sailing though: The exterior doors had no framing and were hanging from a few nails like a loose tooth. Every time the door slammed shut the wall wobbled. One theory is that originally the entrance was a rectangular door, and at some point an owner installed a non-matching arched pair salvaged from another house. They still do not line up, but it’s not that noticeable. Other bad news was that the tile installer, on his first pass, cut crude arcs in the tile, going around the casings instead of putting the tile under them. We were able to source a few more, thanks to a quick email to olde good things and their diligent searching of the Scranton warehouse.

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Renovation Focus: The Vestibule [Brownstoner]