It’s been quite a while since I last updated this space and a lot has happened with our brownstone restoration and renovation.We’ve accomplished quite a bit (and learned quite a bit, too!) in the past year and a half and I’m excited to finally have some time to share a few bits and pieces of our progress.
I shared a few photos (way back when!) of our progress early on in the restoration, so now I’d love to get you up to speed and share a few posts on how our home looks currently. Room by room, I’ll show how things looked before we started and how it’s looking today. We’re still miles from the finish line with an ever growing to-do list, but I’m excited to show our progress so far! These beautiful old buildings sure know how to keep their owners busy!
First up on the docket is not a finished room, just yet, but a look at how far our woodwork has come. This home’s incredible woodwork was one of the first things that caught our eye but, admittedly, we needed a bit of imagination to see its potential.
Here’s how it looked before, during, and after!
The first floor, also known as the parlor floor, was painted from floor to ceiling in complimentary shades of pink. But once Charlie and his team painstakingly stripped each door, window casing, baseboard, etc., we realized the parlor was covered in either a beautiful mahogany or walnut wood. The jury’s still out on what wood it actually is and we’ve asked everyone who’s walked through the door for their opinion. We’re leaning more towards walnut, but if anyone knows definitively, we’d love to hear!
And in the photos below, you’ll see how the woodwork looks now.
On the second and third floors, the woodwork is both a different design and a different type of wood. The molding is a very light pine and we spent hours debating the right stain to use, in hope of matching it to the parlor. While it isn’t an exact match, we’re happy with the outcome.
On a side note, not every room had its original doors, so we had to find a few replacements. Because we wanted to keep with the original design of the building and maintain historical accuracy, this meant tracking down doors with the same number of panels in relatively the same shape, like you see above. No small feat, it turns out. We struck gold at Zaborski’s Emporium in Kingston, NY, where they have an entire basement devoted to salvaged doors.
These built-in pocket shutters are one of my favorite features. You can fold them up to let in all the natural light or close them for privacy. And it eliminates the need for drapes or blinds, which is genius! Those late 19th century architects and builders were really ahead of their time with these space-saving ideas!
For the stairs leading up to the third floor, the wood itself was not in the best shape and we weren’t sure a stain would work well, so we decided to use a complimentary shade of green which, I think, adds a nice pop of color against all the dark woodwork.
We’re really fortunate to have found a brownstone with such great bones. We were so thrilled to find none of the shutters missing and almost all of the wood floors and molding intact. Even a majority of the old hardware was still here! The revitalized and restored woodwork is something that Charlie and I both really admire and value. I still get a jolt of excitement and awe every time I walk through the doors. I’m so glad we didn’t paint over all of the molding and, instead, took the time to bring back the original beauty. There’s nothing quite like it!