Monday, February 28, 2011

Renovate Brooklyn! Day Twenty-Four, Part Two: Oops! The Other Stuff Too.

So I guess I got a little carried away with my triumph over the arm chair, and forgot to mention the other things we managed to tick off our list yesterday. (Sorry John!) 

Kitchen Ceiling Fan: INSTALLED!


 Bedroom Light Switch: REPLACED! 

(I know this is a silly thing, but really it's such an improvement! I stand behind the idea that attention to these little details are what separate a house from a home. One is just a box for your stuff.)

Living Room Ceiling Fan: ...Not Quite...

Evidently, John needed a metal bracket thing that we didn't have in order to install the fan above my office area in the living room, but alas- we didn't realize that until after the local hardware store was closed. Hopefully we'll tackle that tonight, but it was still a good day's work!

Still on the list for the next few weeks/months:
-Pull down the drop ceilings in the kitchen, guest room, and our bedroom. OH GOD. 
-Repair the existing ceilings in the kitchen, guest room, and our bedroom. Also OH GOD. 
-Salvage the ceiling medallion currently dangling precariously above our bedroom drop ceiling and install it in the living room above my giant lamp-shade light. 
-Repair walls once the drop ceilings are removed. 
-Install portrait moldings in the kitchen, guest bedroom, and our bedroom. 
-Paint guest room.
-Paint kitchen.
-Install new fan with brighter light in our bedroom and move our existing little ceiling fan into the guest room. 
-Possibly put up a partition in the guest room to create a walk-in closet separate from the sleeping area. 
-Install wood floors. 

Easy-pee-sy right? Just a couple of quick things to do and we'll be all finished. Oy. 

The deal with the drop-ceilings: This is obviously one of the biggest tasks ahead of us right now, and our initial temptation would be to leave the ceilings intact where they are and call it a day. But we are motivated by the knowledge that 12" above our existing drop ceilings, there are beautiful (though decrepit) tin ceilings in the kitchen and (equally decrepit) ornate plaster molding ceilings in the bedroom and guest room. There is also an enormous ceiling medallion that is hanging above our bedroom drop ceiling, which we're hoping to save and then reuse in the living room. How do we know all of this, you ask? Because a while ago, the electricity went out in the back half of our apartment and an electrician (of questionable competence) went from room to room cutting 18" X 18" holes in the ceilings to figure out where the short was happening.

I remain convinced that there has to have been a better way to do this, but it did give us the chance to look inside all of our ceilings. It still makes me roll my eyes when I think about it. Afterward, we went around and closed up all of the holes except for the one in the kitchen, which is pictured above with the tin peeking out above the dropped ceiling. I left that one open as a constant reminder -- and to fuel my motivation to one day take down the drop ceiling altogether. Hopefully that day is almost upon us, though I'm pretty sure it is going to be an unholy mess when we take them down.

Let the adventure continue! 


  1. If you don't mind my asking, do you OWN this apartment? If not, isn't you landlord getting a lot of free upgrades? Not to mention your time, materials, & labor?

  2. A really good question! Here's the low-down on the apartment:

    We've just signed a 10-year lease, which means that by the time the lease expires in 2021 (!) we will have lived here for 17 years. We are also currently in negotiations to buy the apartment, but the co-op is run by a band of old school fist-throwing Brooklyners who move as slow as molasses, so the purchasing process is taking FOREVER. That is why we insisted on the 10-year lease in the meantime, to make sure that we weren't investing all of this time and money into something that could be pulled out from under us.

    That said, I think we would probably do 75% of what we are doing even if we didn't have the long term lease. We can always take the light fixtures and fans with us, painting is ALWAYS, ALWAYS worth the time and money, and tearing down the ceiling in the kitchen is something I've been looking forward to doing. Maybe we'd hold off on pulling down the other drop ceilings and installing the flooring if we weren't sure we were in it for the long haul, but I think John is pretty dead set on installing the floors even if we don't buy the apartment soon.

    Maybe this is a very New York thing to do? We spend a lot of our lives in these tiny boxes so it definitely seems worth it to make it feel like it's our home and not just some anonymous place where we sleep.

  3. where are you PERMITS!!??

  4. You have a lovely kitchen! I like how the ceiling fan accentuated with the rest of the fixtures, furniture and decorations in the room. And the light attached to it added brighter atmosphere to the space. Well done with the renovation! Do you also have an exhaust fan there? ->Brooklyn Fan & Blower Sales Company