Monday, January 10, 2011

Renovate Brooklyn- Day One!

And so it begins! We are just starting our renovation project in Williamsburg, and I have made an oath to document our progress each day, here on our new blog:  
After-Dinner Design.

I can see already that we will encounter a great deal of adversity-- my desire to throw my computer out the window as I set up this blog makes me realize that tearing down walls will be considerably easier than setting up and maintaining the After-Dinner Design blog. I guess there is a silver lining there, right?!

John, preparing to tackle the task at hand...
About us: We are John Moskowitz and Christina Salway. We are a young couple (29, 28 respectively) living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We were married in 2009, have been together since 2002, and have lived in Williamsburg since John transferred to NYU in 2003. John works in television, currently working on the show Blue Bloods (back on the air Jan. 19th, Wednesday nights at 10:00 on CBS for those who are interested) and Christina works as an interior designer in Williamsburg, for the company ElevenTwoEleven Design ( Both of us work full-time schedules Monday through Friday, and tend to spend our weekends in upstate New York where we have a little country cottage called Fox Ridge.

(The cottage was featured in the NY Times Home & Garden Section, and was also shown on The Nate Berkus Show. Check out the links here to see more about Fox Ridge: and

We have just signed a five-year lease on the railroad apartment where we live in Williamsburg, and are hoping to buy the apartment from our landlord at some point this year. We have been living in this apartment since 2004, and realized that if we were planning to stay for at least another five years, it was time to make some serious changes!* However, like most 28-29 year olds, we don't have a surplus of either money or time, so we've decided to do this renovation project ourselves, every evening after work. In case it still isn't obvious, it is from this decision that we created the name for our blog: After-Dinner Design...

Just how much can two people accomplish between 8:00-12:00 each night, getting enough done that the project moves forward, but without making such a racket that they tick off their neighbors downstairs?

Only time will tell!

Below-left, you can see our existing floor plan- a basic railroad apartment with windows on each end. It consists of many small rooms that get very little natural light and don't make a great use of the amount of space in the apartment. The floor plan below-right shows our dream floor plan for this apartment, which would involve removing two of the partition walls (that created the guest room and narrow hallway) opening what was once the living room, guest room, and hallway into one bigger room that will serve as both living room and home office.

That is really the most ambitious part of our plan-- but then there are lots of steps to follow... Building a new wall to create a guest room, removing the existing loft storage in the office and moving our bedroom into the room with windows (and light!), taking down the existing wall of closets in the living room and building new closets closer to the bedrooms... Oy! Starting this list is making my head spin... it goes on and on! And it is only Day-One here at After-Dinner Design... Bleak!

    *For all those concerned, we do have permission from our landlord to make these changes to the apartment...


  1. Good luck! I pledge a dollar toward this endeavor.

  2. I say the same thing as the commenter above, and he's DOING the work with you! LOL!
    GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!! My apt. in Greenpoint was railroad rooms too, so I understand your endeavor in wanting to 'rearrange' the rooms, and I can appreciate the hard work it will be.
    My best to you both,

  3. You CANNOT create a bedroom of any kind without the necessary light & ventilation. again this is why there are rules & codes to be followed. the money you spend now to follow them, will save you money that you will need pay when you get a violation for work without a permit.

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