We went into our renovation with a strong idea of what we wanted to do…and on a pretty tight budget. So we decided to act as our own designers. We do have some designer friends who are helping out with advice along the way, (and the power of Instagram!) but ultimately for better or worse it’s all us! We hope that we end up with something we can really be proud of because it will be a product of our own design. So while we juggle demo and construction decisions we are also steering things toward our desired end result and picking out finishes. As many novice designers do we’re using inspiration pictures and platforms like Pinterest. You might be able to relate!
Most of the overall design was done before demo started, although there are so many details to think about that we are only now getting to a point where the majority of the decisions are behind us. Much of our place doesn’t need us to get in the way of what is already there. We just need to bring back to life the 130 year old decorative design. We’re restoring the plaster moldings and stripping the many layers of paint from the woodwork. Although this isn’t requiring us to purchase anything new, it is expensive work to have done. Our overall reno budget, including many of the finishes is right around $250,000. Most of that is going to construction, so it really means we have a very tight budget for finishes.
For the kitchen and bathrooms we are basing our design on some inspiration photos we feel are very similar to our own vision. We found these through social platforms, finding designers that we like and following their projects, visiting other finished projects in the area, and popping into showrooms throughout the city. We are using these as a guide and finding more budget friendly products to achieve the look.
Through our blog and social accounts we‘ve also had some other opportunities to take things to the next level. We’ve met some great people and we’re able to go to some inspiring events. We were invited to the Architectural Design Show that was held at Pier 40 in Manhattan. There were over 400 brands snd vendors displaying everything from custom furniture to appliances, ceramics, art, and lighting. It was really amazing to see so much inspirational design in one place! We also met some new friends and ran into some old ones!
One of the designers that made a big impression on us was Stickbulb. They make beautiful light fixtures using salvaged wood, like some that was used in the water tower of the oldest skyscraper in Brooklyn. They mill the wood to it’s beautiful original luster with LED lighting to form what they call a Stickbulb. They can the be connected in various shapes and sizes creating a very unique and beautiful fixture. We really love how each one of their lights tells a story and is connected to a long history of the wood they were made with. Last week we had to privilege to get a private tour of their studio in Long Island City, beer in hand from the brewery next door.
We toured AJ Madison’s beautiful showroom in Brooklyn for appliance inspiration, we had a design consultation with our friends` from Brooklyn Tile and Design, and we have had the opportunity to tour dozens of other Brownstone’s in the area. The fact that the end result will be our own vision realized makes the process more fun and we’ll produce something that we will proud of. We can’t wait to see it!
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