Friday, April 30, 2010

That was cool, but scary

The other day, I mentioned that Cville Weekly sent a photographer here to take pictures for a little feature in their Abode magazine. Well yesterday was a follow visit that included *gulp* a video camera.

Caite White, the online editor of Cville Weekly, came by after work to do a little video shoot. I thought we'd do a question and answer session or something similar to what blogger friend Ed Warwick did for Abode last month. The goal was to do a mini-tour of my place, but I was to give a running commentary on the spaces.

I was terrified. I speak in front of very large groups at work and feel quite at home doing it, but there's something freaky about staring at a lens and talking to it. As a result, I babbled. A lot. Here are some highlights that come to mind:

  • I rattled off stores that sell dining chairs just like mine, but pointed out that I foolishly had my custom made
  • I found a spider web on the chandelier over the dining table (before the camera was on, thankfully)
  • Revealed that my bedroom lamps are from Target, but the shades (from The Shade Shop) cost more than the lamps
  • Dished on two local stores, one that is only open from 9-5 on Monday-Friday (thus I can't shop there) and another whose prices on something were higher than Neiman Marcus/Horchow's. That wasn't very nice.
  • I touched the marble chair rail the bathroom room and swept a big, ol' dust bunny off it. This was followed by me flustering and searching for words.
  • While I was sitting in the bedroom talking, Baxter started licking my foot, which was tucked under my other leg. It probably looks like his face is buried in my lap and we don't have that sort of relationship.
  • I forgot to mention where my sofa and pillows are from and both were bought at local businesses, Quince and Pillow Mint. Darn it.
I'm sure there were plenty more horrific moments that the editors at Cville Weekly will enjoy laughing over as they try to salvage a few usable seconds of footage.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Before & After in the City: The Living Room

Geez, this apartment is big, isn't it? When my aunt sent me pictures of the Manhattan co-op she and my uncle renovated recently, I figured it would take two or three days to share all of the pictures. Here we are a week later!

My commentary has revealed my personal thoughts about their designer. Hearing about some of the things he did annoyed me a lot and I thought it would be interesting to share some of those little details (and there are more to come). Rest assured, my aunt and uncle are really pleased with their place!

On to the living room! Here are the before and during pictures...

Cute uncle alert!

I've personally always loved that little bureau with the mirror over it.

This sofa has traveled with my aunt to three different apartments.

There's some space lost to the sectional.

The lost space, some Baccarat, and a peek at the patio.

During the renovation, my aunt and uncle moved into a short term apartment in New Jersey. My aunt had been the only one of her siblings to stay living in the city for her whole life, but she joined the bridge and tunnel crowd for a few months! One thing she appreciated was how neat and tidy the contractor kept the space during the project.

Something that stuck me was how the room felt warmer, even without any furniture in it, when the pink paint went away.

You can see some paint being tested on the right.

Once the major work was done, they had the walls skimmed to remove 52 years of imperfections.
Then the paint could go up.

Afters are coming!
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

That was cool

Photographer Ashley Twiggs was just here to take pictures for the May issue of Cville Weekly's Abode magazine. Not being a very good photographer, I snapped these pictures with the most useless setting on my whole camera. I totally forgot to check the settings.

I can't wait to see the results. Even Baxter got into the shoot.

They're coming tomorrow to do a video. Yikes!
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Before & After in the City: The Dining Room, Part 2

The Manhattan series continues with the after pictures of the dining room!

The new dining room table is more compact, but has two built in leaves that pop out when extended. Amazingly, the designer told my aunt and uncle that such tables didn't exist, but my uncle had one at some point when he lived abroad. The old table was beautiful, but it took up a lot of room, even without leaves in it.

The new built ins are a nice improvement, as are the marble slabs (which match the marble used in the built ins in the foyer).

The steps to the patio used to be narrow, wood steps that were slippery and awkward. The new ones are a little more substantial.

That's one of my uncle's artifacts from his time abroad...maybe it was used to grind coffee beans?

I think the dining room came out beautifully...I'm just surprised the designer didn't tie in the stained glass a little more. The panel was made to provide privacy while not compromising light. I think he could have put a little blue in the room to make the window fold into the over scheme of the room. What do you think?
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Before & After in the City: The Dining Room

The co-op reveal continues! Today, we move into the dining room. Something to note is that this room has windows facing the East River, but also facing another side of my aunt and uncle's building that is full of their neighbor's windows.

The window treatments and stained glass are on the wall where dozens of neighbors could peek in.

I can't remember where my aunt got this baker's rack, but I remember her telling me the story of carrying it many blocks up 2nd Avenue with a friend years ago to get it to her old apartment building. Can you imagine?

The build in units that covered the HVAC looked nice, but my aunt said the pieces slowly broke over time. Here, you can see that one panel was completely off the unit.

Here's a picture taken from the dining room during the renovation work. Did I mention that my aunt and uncle moved out during this? They moved into a short term apartment in New Jersey.

Here's a little sneak peek at what was done. The window treatments were ripped out, new cabinets were built, and the floors were scraped and refinished.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Before & After in the City: The Kitchen, Part 2

Time for some after pictures from my aunt and uncle's Manhattan co-op. I hope you've been enjoying this series!

The goal here wasn't to do a total renovation, but to do a freshening up. At the end of the project, my aunt says they stood in the kitchen and felt like they had a whole new room.

Everyone things the window area came out amazingly better than planned. The contractor, NOT the designer, came up with the idea to do this area this way. This is where the designer also pulled a switch in their tile. Not cool.

The floors are a huge improvement, too. I think they're marble.

The new soffit lighting and molding works looks like it was meant to be there all along.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Before & After in the City: The Kitchen

The peek into my aunt and uncle's co-op renovation continues with the kitchen. My aunt said the kitchen wasn't slated for a major overhaul, but the before and after pictures show some pretty significant changes.

First up, the before pictures. For some reason, the doors of their custom cabinets actually shrunk after several years of use. The new cabinets would have the same frames, but new doors and hardware. They decided to replace all of their appliances and the tile work, too.

The pantry also got an overhaul. Remember the door on the right side of the foyer? That was on one side of the pantry and a door in the kitchen was on the other. They decided to put up a wall and create two, distinct spaces: a pantry for the kitchen and an extra closet off the foyer. If I'm counting correctly, they have seven or eight closets in their home!

Now for a few in progress pictures.

Below, you'll see waterproofing, but also something a little different: a shut off switch for the dishwasher. After they had a flood from a broken dishwater in a place above theirs, they decided to install this so they could shut down their dishwasher if anything ever happened to it.

By the way, just as with my flood, the person who caused theirs was home when the water started pouring down. What a gem, huh?

They had a bit of a surprise with the tile work. Their designer wound up substituting hand made tiles for the machine made ones they approved. Obviously, the budget took a jump with that decision and the lines of the tiles weren't as perfect as the ones they had originally picked out. Hm.

One of the contractors actually had the idea to use granite on the window sills to match the countertops.

After pictures are coming in the morning!
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Before & After in the City: The Foyer, Part 2

Yesterday afternoon, I showed you the before and during pictures from my aunt and uncle's foyer. Today, I'm sharing the after pictures of the foyer and in a little while, I'll share some before and during pictures of their kitchen.

One of my favorite things about the foyer is the light fixture. The crystal fixture that had been there now lives in the guest bedroom.

More about the door on the right in the next post.

The lower cabinets on the right were built to handle hanging files and a printer. For some reason, NYC code now forbids an outlet inside such cabinets, so there's a cut out in the marble shelf to allow a cord to come up to an outlet that is behind some of the picture frames.

The cabinets on the left are the new bar.

No bar carts here.

Up above are some of the artifacts and trophies my uncle has collected during years of living abroad.

Now it's time for you to play designer a little bit. My aunt and uncle are still looking for a nicely scaled desk and chair to go on the right wall. Got any suggestions?

Needless to say, the 50+ year old apartment wasn't wired for all of today's needs, so they updated the electrical system and added internet wiring during the renovation.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Before & After in the City: The Foyer

As promised, here's the first in a series of posts about the renovation work my aunt and uncle did in their Manhattan apartment (co-op, to be specific). I'm going to hold the final "after" pictures until the end. There are still a few pieces left to be bought and I think they would enjoy reading some reader opinions about a few things.

Let's start with the foyer. There's actually an entrance hallway at the front door, which leads to the guest bedroom, guest bath, and the foyer. I showed a picture from the entrance hall back in December. Here's that picture again (my nephew is coming into the hall from the foyer):

The common areas were all pink before. Yes, pink. It was actually a nice, petal pink and was a huge improvement from the black paint that was there before..and we aren't talking cool, modern space black. We're talking 70s disco style black. A change was definitely in order.

My aunt described the foyer as a big, lost space. They had a large bar that took up a lot of the room and a built in bookcase for display. The doors on the left lead into the hallway outside the master bedroom and bathroom.

This bar was given to a friend with a large enough place for this thing.

They worked with a cabinet maker my aunt heard about years ago. She kept the name tucked away until she could do this project. Apparently, his work is so well known that people can spot it based in the style.

That's my cute uncle on the left at the cabinet maker's workshop in Queens.

Add all that wood work to the sad space above and you get this:

Beautiful, huh? If you want to see how this space ultimately turned out, come back tomorrow! The finishing touches are really fantastic!
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