Could it possibly be finished… so soon?

It’s been 16 months, no, maybe longer.  Really, David and I stopped counting somewhere along the time of the home equity loan… but we’re so excited and pleased with the results.  Sure, we still have a few small things to take care of, but who thought we would ever start bringing furniture into the basement?

VIRTUAL TOUR!  Let’s start by walking down the staircase from the main entry to our house…

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Which brings us into the new apartment…

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The bedroom is to the left of this entrance…

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which has next to the exposed brick a large closet for clothes (and eventually a washer/dryer, hence the hook-up)…

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…as well as a utility closet…

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Which is next to the exterior door which takes you to the street, which is next to the next two utility closets, the first for the hose hook-up and the electrical panels, as well as the first sump-pump which is connected to the French drain which protects the perimeter of the building…

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…and the larger utility closet for the boiler and the hot water heater…

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But who wants to see those?  Let’s keep those doors closed…

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We wouldn’t want to distract from the beautiful bathroom next to it (just opposite the door you came in from as you entered from the central stairs, for those playing the home game)…

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…with the fantastic tile work in the shower…

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..and coming out you’re faced with that door again up the central stairs, and two more closets down the hall space…

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The first is another clothes closet…

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…the second, an elaborate pantry we designed with U-shaped shelves to allow maximum visibility for the storage…

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A nice pantry for a nice kitchenette, just opposite…

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…with the marble counter and the glass tile back splash…

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…and those adorable small appliances, the dishwasher…

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…and the four burner gas stove…

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…which transitions us into the living space next to the old cast iron stove we reclaimed and have now refinished (thanks, Steph, for giving us the head’s up about it at a garage sale years ago.  It’s been sitting waiting for its debut all this time, and was well worth the hernia-inducing process of toting it fifteen blocks, and then carrying it down to the basement!)

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…which we thought originally would live in the fireplace, but when we redid the tiling, we just couldn’t bear to cover it up (plus we have an electrical outlet inside the fireplace in case we ever install a flat screen inside, as well as for some subtle accent lighting)…

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The fireplace is all cleaned up now, and someday could be made functional again (look up inside it, so clean!)

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But right to the side of the fireplace is the bar area, with the leaded glass doors we designed…

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And the shelf designed to store the wine refrigerator and the wheeled bar table with stools for an intimate eating nook…

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And note the long-needed full-sized window we had installed.  A real boon (along with the retractable screen doors in the front and back of the building, a real life-saver for cross breeze).

Outside through the back door…

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…to see the barbecue area with the railing and gas hook-up on the deck…

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But back inside, okay, for the living area…

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with a huge storage area underneath the stairs behind that pocket door…

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That’s the apartment, or the summer kitchen as we think of it.  And a lovely home for some of our Mission furniture…

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We’ll have a bed put in soon, and then you’re all welcome to stay!

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Published in: on June 18, 2009 at 1:40 am  Comments (1)  

Inspector says handrails, we put in handrails!

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We had the first inspection and they require handrails in both the front and back of the house.  At first I wasn’t pleased, but seeing them now and using them, okay, I’m a convert.  We’re still going to have a bilco covering the front against storms and such, but in such a way that light will still come through the windows at the top.  We also had the gate reversed so it swings outward into the street, which makes it much easier to use.  The handrail is removable in case we bring in wide furniture.

In the back, we had to build a bit of railing as well for protection, according to the inspector.  Again, not in the original plan, but the contractor did a great job with it to match the rest of the work done years ago.  There will be a wooden gate on this as well in case we need to access the utilities at the wall…

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The closets are being built now, the shelving inside them, that is.  All finishing touches.  It feels finished to a large degree, which is a thrill, though we’re still dealing with the contractor daily, so one can’t exactly forget.

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 5:29 am  Leave a Comment  

So close we can smell it…

We’re really in the final stretch now!  We have had the door from the street painted, and both the marble sill and overhead light installed (we’re still designing the bilco cover and the handrail)…

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We’ve had the exposed brick sealed, and all of the closets painted, now that we’ve corrected the door issues we had (the closet systems have been designed but still need to be built/installed)…

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The utility closets are finished and even have the heat detectors in place…

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The marble sill to the bathroom is in place and the tiles in both areas have been finished off and grouted…

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And in the bathroom we have the shower finished off including the fixtures (finally)…

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And the sink, towel bar, medicine cabinet, light and toilet are installed and fully functional…

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And in the kitchen area we have the backsplash, the microwave/fume hood, the new cabinets with hardware, the sink, the marble counter (we still need another hole drilled into the counter for the soap dispenser)…

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Across from which the pantry and hall closet and main entry way are completed (though again the closet interiors need to be built)…

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We’ve had the antique cast iron stove refinished…

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Which will live next to the fireplace, now that the brownstone has been cleaned…

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Let’s take a close look at the beautiful mosaic again, now that it, too, is grouted, shall we?

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We’ve had the bar area correctly sized for the wine refrigerator and rolling bar/stool set to fit below, and the stained glass doors we designed ourselves are finished and waiting to be installed…

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The new back door and window are in, and the pipes have been moved so that they don’t obscure the view too much…

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Again, all of the exposed brick has been sealed…

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All the way into the new storage area underneath the internal staircase…

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We’re almost there!

Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 1:43 am  Comments (1)  

Water Works, to go with Electric Company

See what I meant about the color of the doors making a huge difference?

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And the shower has been installed…

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Published in: on February 16, 2009 at 5:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Color and light!

Well, it’s true.  Color changes everything.  The wall color we chose ties the room together, but look at the difference between where we have the brown trim finished and where we don’t yet…

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And we had the doors up for a bit, though they are down now, and when painted, they make a HUGE difference…

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Here’s a shot of the hallway, without the painted doors, but with the mission-style light we have now installed (all the remaining lights are black-trimmed dimming 4″ high hats.

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For details, the kitchen faucet is in, though the matching soap dish will have to wait until the marble can be drilled one last time…

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And let’s take another look at the progress in the bathroom.  The blue paint is up, as are the black-trimmed medicine cabinet and the vanity light…

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We’re getting there!  We designed the stained glass doors for the bar area overhead cabinets this weekend.  I think the only thing we’ll have to choose from here on out is the bilco door hatch that will cover the front external entrance!

Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 1:18 pm  Comments (2)  

The bathroom is coming together nicely…

A few more shots of the tile, now that the charcoal grout is in place.   Not much development from last time, but I definitely wanted to get a good shot before the shower itself is installed and I can’t get a clean shot…

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A reminder that all of the pieces in the bath will be black (sink, medicine cabinet, toilet) and the walls will be Canyon Blue (Ralph Lauren VM139).  We even have a beautiful black marble saddle, up against the red clay tile which also has the charcoal grouting…

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There’s a good chance that the rest of the apartment’s tile flooring will be grouted tomorrow (with a nutmeg grout), and then the walls will be painted.  We’re getting there!

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 3:25 am  Leave a Comment  

You’d never think I was a potter…

So here we are making tile choices for the basement, and what does this good ceramicist do?  Does he go for ceramic tile?  No.  How about good old tumbled stone?  Nope.  Glass tiles.  Yup, glass.  There’s the accent tiles we used in the black shower surround (now corrected from the version I posted earlier this week)…

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I hear tell that the grouting and the painting will be done tomorrow.  Is that even possible?  Wasn’t it a week ago we were just putting doors on the walls?

We certainly weren’t putting up glass tile back-splash…

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We’re going to swap out the cabinet over the stove for a smaller unit like over the fridge area so that the microwave fume hood will be higher, but here’s  a before picture for you…

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And the  is carried over on the other side of the fireplace, in what we’re referring to as “the bar area.”  We still have to swap out the cabinet doors for the leaded glass ones with the blue colored glass inserts, so consider this a “before picture” too.  I have to create drama and suspense somehow, don’t I?

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Published in: on January 31, 2009 at 4:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Design elements at last!

Our imported Italian marble counter top has arrived, and is now installed and we’re very happy (especially considering I chose it on Monday)…

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We’ve used the same marble for the shelf on the other side of the fireplace as well (the wine refrigerator and the rolling table I constructed are designed to fit underneath it for storage).

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Here’s the marble, close-up…

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And then there’s the tile for the shower.  This was a hail Mary on my part.  We knew we wanted something more than the black tiles, and we had limited choices for accents.  Thanks to everyone who suffered through me asking their opinion, shoving my schematics in their face.  There is one misplaced accent tile (the topmost blue glass piece on the left wall) which will be repositioned where there is a missing tile on the right hand wall, and in its place will be a quartet of the blue crackle glass pieces.  Hopefully you can get a sense of this.  There will be more photos when the shower is in, of course.

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The grout will be charcoal black, and you can see where the shower head and temperature handle will go on the left hand wall.  And yes, the tiles will be finished on the top right wall.

Published in: on January 29, 2009 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  

It’s not all about walls…

Let’s hear it for doors, shall we? Doors and cabinets?  Anyone?  C’mon… this it the exciting stuff.  And yesterday David and I went and picked tiles for the shower, paint for the entire project, knobs, handles… even grout colors.  It is a wild final race to the finish line all of a sudden.  Aesthetic decisions being made left and right.  Just as a preview, you can look forward to the day when you say, “I remember when these walls were white.”  You know us.  Think color on the rich side.  Not necessarily dark, but deep and hopefully saturated.  Just a teaser.

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Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

The walls… it’s like they’re CLOSING IN ON ME!

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Ok, no need to feel claustrophobic.  It isn’t just you, the walls really ARE closing in.  At long last, we have walls, actual walls, not just studs and exposed wiring.  Maybe this will give a better sense of what the final space will look like.

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Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 4:38 pm  Comments (1)