Alex’s Sketchbook

You’ve all seen the sketchbook that I created for the Art House Co-op’s annual program to be catalogued in the Brooklyn Art Library. If you missed that project, you can see it here. The latest, more exciting news on this is that my very creative daughter, Alex, also created a sketchbook. She sent me a few images of it recently and I was blown away. It is stunning! Before I share the photos, here’s what Alex had to say about her inspiration for the piece. My inspiration started with some fantastic paper… Read More

Goodbye to Radiant Heat

Written June 13, 2012 by Joel Sauer When we purchased our “new” home earlier this year, it had sat empty for nearly five years.  Unfortunately one of the casualties of this vacancy was the hot-water radiator heaters.  Being made of cast iron and filled with water, when the house froze during the winters, the ice broke all the seals between the ribs.  Apparently you can’t fix these so we were left with a choice:  replace the old radiators with a modern hot-water system, or upgrade to a forced-air system that could include… Read More

The Basement

Written June 3, 2012 It’s a common question after we rattle on about the house with someone new. Almost everyone says, “What’s the basement like?” knowing full well that basements in 100-year-old homes are often a little sketchy. So for all of you out there wondering, here are a few pictures to give you an idea of why we won’t be finishing it off and putting a rec room down there. First, a picture of me during one of the early visits. Clearly it was almost a deal breaker for me until… Read More

Claw Foot Tubs

Written June 11, 2012 Somewhere along the line, I thought it would be fun to recreate my Taylor Street (Wisconsin) youth and get a claw foot tub for the master bathroom. I think it was when we realized that an initial design of the bathroom (remember this space used to be a bedroom so we’re starting from scratch) included a custom angled tub/shower unit. Have you priced those lately? We did. Then we went to plan B and decided to build a custom vanity in that angled space instead (MUCH more reasonable)… Read More

This and That

Written June 11, 2012 As I sort through pictures for other blogs, I’m stumbling across a few that are worth sharing, but not necessarily in their own blog. So here’s a mish mash of pictures for you to peruse. A few weeks ago, Drew was becoming increasingly skeptical that this house was ever going to be livable. In the early days, he had been quite the enthusiast with statements like, “This is going to be a beast of a house” and “It’s so cool you guys have the vision” and other awesome… Read More

Shiny Stuff

Written June 10, 2012 All of the following pictures could technically have been placed in one of the ‘Progress’ blogs, but I thought they deserved their own space. ‘Shiny’ presents an alarming contrast to the soot-covered, 100-year-old wall interiors. First, I promised to show you the furnace sometime. Here it is. And the rest of the shiny stuff.

More Progress

Written June 10, 2012 Perhaps to the naked eye things are still a serious mess, but the truth is, we’ve made some pretty dramatic progress these past couple of weeks. A few pictures to bring you up to speed… Remember the blue and red bedroom with two doors? The plan was to connect it to the master bedroom and make it into a closet and bath. Here are a few before and after pictures from different views. The first is a view from the door of the master bedroom looking at the… Read More

Multi Tasking the Likes of Which I’ve Never Known

Written June 10, 2012 From this day forward I will never underestimate the skill of a general contractor. “Sure,” Joel and I said, “we’ll be our own GCs and manage this restoration process.” It started out with what I now know as relatively basic, i.e. we had to find and hire the talented contractors who would do the skilled labor involved. As time went on, things got a little more complicated and the learning curve steepened. We decided where to put air returns and heating ducts, plumbing pipes, and electrical wires, negotiating… Read More

Surprises in the Walls

Written June 3, 2012 Joel was vacuuming the future master bathroom very thoroughly, meaning really getting into the open plaster areas to get out as much debris as possible. (Joel LOVES to vacuum!) He noticed something red in the wall – very uncommon amid our soot covered plaster – so he reached in and pulled out this: Still smiling after all these years!! When Leith was tearing down part of the upstairs bathroom, he opened the chase to find this petrified tube of caulking. Not quite as cute as the little guy… Read More

More Forensic Demolition

Written June 6, 2012 As Joel wrote in the previous blog, we spend a lot of time trying to sort out how the house was built initially as well as what was added when by whom and why. The other day after roughly five layers of kitchen flooring were removed (thanks to Taylor and Jonathon) we found this in the original floor: Here are a couple more pictures of it from a distance to give you perspective on its size.

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