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Display Name: ejf
Member Since: 7/13/10

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Sorry for the delay in writing. If those of you with questions are still reading this thread, here are a few answers:

Credit - somehow it didn't get in the writeup that the architectural design was a collaboration between Public Architecture Planning (San Diego) and myself. This project would not be at all what it is without them.

Kind words - thanks to all of you who cheered the house, and even to those of you who decried it. It's good to hear that it was successful in many of the design's key intentions, and it's good for me to be forced to re-examine some of my thinking.

Lath - Wow. If i knew exposed lath would arouse such passionate feelings, I would have told beth to send photos of the room with an entire ceiling of exposed lath and ruined plaster moulding.

Kitchen faucet - put together from readily available parts at your local plumbing supply

Exterior Doors - Pella architect series wood doors with aluminum-clad exterior, installed by Bob Frost, R. Frost Design Build

Not painting over the wood - I wish I had the choice to not paint over it! All the doors and moulding had the usual 4-8 coats of paint that had to be stripped first before we stained and shellac'd it

Building's age - around 110 years old

Kitchen triangle absence - we haven't minded it thusfar, and we cook a ton in this kitchen, in spite of people's apparent fears about potentially fatal lath dust. I actually really enjoy putting my head under the faucet and drinking from the tap, and I'll sanitize kushkush's glass thoroughly before offering a drink, that is if they were able to bear setting foot on our horrifically ugly and uncomfortable main floor.

Back to the kitchen - it's fairly easy to bring things out of the fridge across the island to the sink or the stove, and all these distances are small enough that you hardly notice that it's a kitchen triangle with a big stone rectangle smack in the middle. We've had 4 or 5 people working in the kitchen simultaneously without any disasters or hurt toes or feelings.

Closet absence - I can't even blame the house's age for it's lack of closets, since we removed the partitions on every floor and started from scratch in terms of layout. But, we deal my lack of foresight with a large-ish dresser in the bedroom, and, primarily, with the embattled Ikea closets in the guest bedroom, which functions as a dressing room when we don't have guests. Certainly not ideal, but we're still working on it..

Adaptive re-use/salvaged material furniture - Designed by me and fabricated by Hard Decor for steel work and Matthew Lamb for woodwork, both in Brooklyn. I can't say enough good things about both of these guys.

Kit. fireplace - was created from scratch on this floor, but ran the flue liner in an existing flue through the two floors above. The void below the counter-height fireplace is actually purely for wood storage. Draws beautifully, thanks to my mason Manny LaSalle, who saved my a#s during this project more times than I can count.

Ikea closets & 'dishonesty' - I plead renovation poverty and the fact that Jen threatened my life if I didn't give her some closet space, and pronto. Didn't plan on them showing up on the internet someday.

Either that or this was part of the 'we spent a lot of money to look poor' look that we apparently were shooting for. And I have in fact eaten lunch off the tables that the 'poor people hauling bricks' use, during the many workdays spent with my mason and his men, but I fail see the romance of using an overturned 5 gallon bucket as a coffee table, so no pretentious rustic tables for us I guess.

In all seriousness regarding honesty and appropriating poverty as high style, nearly all the materials and objects in the house are of quite ordinary, economical materials that Public and I tried to use in 'honest' ways. Even if lath was not used in the 1800s as a finished material, even if original floor joists were never intended to be exposed, please remember that what I started with was a half-ruined building, and I chose to leave pieces of that ruin as is or clean them up based on what I found interesting or beautiful or informative. It's unfortunate that was perceived as dishonest or pretentious, but I guess intent and perception are often far apart in architecture.

- Marble is honed carrera, from ABC stone in greenpoint. And very happy with the outcome, but it was maybe a bit easier to be happy because I don't have any qualms with the counter showing its use and age, as marble inevitably does as it gets stained. I used soapstone in the rental unit, also from ABC and shows its age in a different, but to my mind no less beautiful way.

Thanks again for all the comments, and best of luck to the rest of you in all phases of old rowhouse renovation - dreaming, planning, irrational exuberance, purgatory, hell, worse than hell, and, some years later, redemption.


Eli Jennifer's Brought Back to Life BrownstoneHouse Tour | Apartment Therapy New York
7/14/10 01:28 AM