Month: April 2016

Unfinished projects – a visual guide of procrastination

Starting a project is always fun. The excitement of change, the endless possibilities… which end up simply turning into endless projects. Yep, we have a few of those.

Some projects stall because of weather. Other because of time and finally a great many because of moroseness.

Rear top floor fireplace:

I’ve been working on this on and off for… a few years. Yeah, lame I know.


What I learned: My old favorite, PeelAway6,  was replaced with SmartStrip, which is not as effective – in my humble opinion. I switched to Zip Strip, which is super toxic, but very fast and effective. Reason for stalling: got sidetracked by other projects, switched stripping methods and it’s too cold outside to ventilate properly.

Front parlor fireplace summer cover: I truly hate the brass monstrosity that is currently serving as our fireplace cove. Think suburban house, circa 1985. Yeah. that bad.


What I learned: in this case, I also switched stripping methods, from PeelAway 1 to Zip Strip. Reason for stalling: There is so much detail. And the tiny ridges of texture. Ugh. Also ,it’s been cold outside, so I can’t zip strip with abandon. Did I mention there is SO. MUCH. TINY. DETAIL!

The many plastering projects:

We live in the house of crack. Our plaster is cracked EVERYWHERE! It had been poorly patched by the previous owner before he put the house on the market, and now all the cracks are coming back. I’m currently working (ish) on the front parlor, rear parlor, garden vestibule and dining room. Have I finished any of the rooms? Nope. Have I learned better technique? Absolutely.

Reason for stalling: It’s a slow process and I think I got bored with it. In the instances where  Plaster Weld is needed, I prefer to be able to ventilate – not because I have to, but because I don’t like the way the stuff smells.

Stoop resurfacing. If you look around, you will see very few stoops that are still original. Most of them (ours included), have been resurfaced over the years.

Stoop in progress

This still needs one more coat of the cement/brownstone mixture.

Reason for stalling: winter. We had a torrential downpour the night when most of the steps got done, so I don’t think they dried properly. We had some breakage and hat to patch with off color mixture. It will get fixed as soon as the weather warms. Consolation: the yahoos who did the stoop next-door, presumably professionals, had the same problem and had to patch up missing bits.


Old houses & old house friends

Not that long ago, I had the chance to contribute my 2 cents to an article about the historic row houses of Bed Stuy (and the wholesale modernization that is landing irreplaceable woodwork into dumpsters). You can read it here.

Row Houses

If you are in Bed Stuy, I highly recommend taking one of Morgan’s walking tours. You can check the Municipal Arts Society’s website to find out when the next Bed Stuy tour is. Last but not least, if you would like to see a drool-worthy Victorian brownstone, look no further.