One bold step

Our brownstone is pink. Well, at the moment it’s mostly pink, as the paint is peeling in large chunks.


Yep, it’s starting to look really bad. Not only does it look bad, but paint is also bad for the brownstone itself. It traps moisture and causes the stone to basically turn into sand. Not good. Not good at all.

We want to return the façade to its original non-painted stage. As you can tell by the photo above, this task is being helped by the elements.  Living in the sad looking house is starting to make us feel sad. So we decided it’s time to find someone to strip the paint and patch up any damaged spots. Easy right?

Wrong! Contractor #1 seemed to be on the right track, but has yet to provide an estimate (it’s been a month!). Contractor #2 declared the façade strong, but also stated that he will chip it all away and rebuild it with tinted cement, as it won’t withstand power washing. Um – what kind of an idiot would dream of power washing brownstone (which is a form of sandstone)? I mean, duh!

I have been looking at brownstone façades and I can always tell when they have been chipped away and redone, because the material used tends to have a flower-pot quality to it. Sure, sometimes the stone is too far gone and needs to be patched or replaced. But to just start off removing the very thing that makes the house special? No, thank you. Turns out we’re quite protective of our brownstone.

So what to do? Would it be crazy to tackle this ourselves? The pink latex paint is coming off is big pieces. How hard can this possibly be? Somehow I have a feeling I’m abut to find out.



Spring has sprung

I’m ridiculously excited that winter is officially over. In about 2 days, the tree in front of the house went from this…

… to this:

and delicious squirrel food apparently…

And because no post is gratuitous fun, this is also a reminder that I need to prune a few branches of the tree that are up against the wall (and ripping the window screens). Because? Really? The to-do list never ends!


We closed on the house on the 15th of December. The week leading up to it as well as pretty much every day thereafter have been full of house-related activity. Because of this,  Christmas and all of its accouterments was  the farthest thing from our minds. Yes, we are bad people.

As the bad Christmas people that we are, this has turned out to be quite a great week, as far as unexpected gifts go:

Beautiful (and free) French doors for the Garden apartment

The view through the ceiling of the original dumb waiter pulley system still in our attic. Always fun to discover something unique about the house (more on this in a later post)

A test to see if we can strip the pain off the original wood floors. Yes we can!

Hello there

Meet the Pink Lady. She is a 2-family brownstone in Brooklyn and she is also our new home.

We have been wanting a house for a very very long time. We started looking in earnest this past summer when it seemed as the confluence of super low interest rates and lower property prices was just simply too good to pass up. I have to admit that when we were looking I never actually thought that we would come out of this process with a house. I figured surely something would go wrong along the way and we would fall in love with a house just to see it go away.  See, buying a home in Brooklyn is like having your wisdom teeth pulled: everyone you speak with has a horror story to tell. To help us wade through the process, we got ourselves some professional help. Erin Douglass was our broker and she very patiently paraded us around the neighborhood showing us different options – from fully renovated houses to total disasters. Of course, we were just naturally drawn to holes in the floor and falling plaster. What is not to love?

While The Pink Lady is not an unmitigated disaster like some of the places we’ve seen, she does require a fair amount of work. A lot of the original details remain intact under gobs and gobs of paint, but some of the “improvement” choices that were made over the years really need to be addressed. In other words, there is no shortage of projects in our future. Since we’re on a budget, so we’re tackling the bulk of the work and bringing in professionals where needed (plumbing, electric, anything that could cause an Earth shattering ka-boom).

In a way not to annoy our Facebook friends with constant posts about our house, we created this blog for those of you who are interested in seeing what we are doing (and why we are never around to do anything fun ever again ).  If you’ve been through a reno project and want to share, by all means, go to town in the comments section.

So this is it. Let the insanity fun begin!