Making Your Home Feel Bigger On a Budget: Our 5 Home Depot Hacks
Living in New York, we’re no strangers to tiny closets, narrow hallways, and “cozy” charm. But, no matter where you live, it can be a real challenge to figure out how to make the most of your home’s footprint. Whether your first home is a cute bungalow, a 50’s style ranch, a fixer-upper craftsman, or…
The Gates House – Reveal & House Tour!
We are so thrilled and proud to share the Gates House with you. It has the more restored original features than any of our projects to date! Many many painstaking hours have gone into fully restoring them. It all takes time! This project has been over a year in the making! BUT it was worth…
Vintage DIY Door(s)
Our favorite room in our home is our vintage inspired guest bathroom, and more specifically, our favorite feature in it is the vintage glass WC door. It’s a project we took on and we just can’t get enough of because we expanded our collection of them to 4 more with our recent speakeasy basement renovation….
One Room Challenge: Week 8, The Reveal
Welcome to the Speakeasy Werkroom for our One Room Challenge Spring 2021 makeover. As you know by now, we were selected amongst 20 featured designers to take on a challenge in 8 brutal weeks to transform a space. Its finally time to show you what we have been working on so hard on, and while…
One Room Challenge: Week 4, The Gathering of Materials
How are we already halfway through this Springs One Room Challenge!? While a lot of work has been done our list of to-do’s seems like it’s getting longer and longer. Last weekend was hot and your boys spent the entire time in the basement making sure framing was complete. The good news is that…
One Room Challenge: Week 2, All Things Design
It’s hard to believe we are already in week 2 of the One Room Challenge. If you caught the blog post last week you know that we are making over our cellar (basement) into The Werkroom! A speakeasy style work space (a la work from home dream). In the past week we put the finishing…
Spacekit- An Easy & Fun Way To Decorate Any Space
Spacekit has transformed our dull, dark hallway with a bright pop of color! A big battle in our home is color. Barry loves the grey’s while Jordan likes it bright & colorful! Our hallway leading to the coat nook has always been a dull, dead, and dark space. No more! (Jordan won ) . We…
Building Custom Shelves and Cabinets- A Year in the Making
Anyone who has gone through a major renovation might relate to having a project or 2 (…3 ♂️) saved after it’s finished. Our biggest saved project is the big empty blank wall across from our kitchen. We planned on installing cabinets on that wall but the old fireplace bump out complicates it. We didn’t want…
Trim & Mouldings: A Quick Guide to the Finishing Details
Trim and moulding isn’t just the icing on the cake it’s an important architectural feature of your home and can serve to protect the walls from damage. Mouldings can bring an unfinished renovation to an almost complete space. They can also do an important job of covering the guts of doors and windows after they…
Budget Kitchen Cabinets With A High-End Look
Kitchens are often the most expensive spaces to renovate. There are a lot of moving parts and pieces that add up quickly. Of those, often the biggest and most expensive is the cabinetry. There is a wide range of options and the sky’s the limit. Fortunately there are also ways to achieve a high-end look…
Extra Time on Your Hands at Home? Planning a Renovation or Home Makeover
We weren’t planning on writing this post today but the times call for a bit of flexibility in our schedules and lives. At first glance it can seem like we all have a lot of time on our hands at home. But with a little thought it can be a productive time as well. Whether…
Renovation Do’s and Don’ts
Now that Phase 1 is complete in our renovation, we can look back and wonder what we would have done a little differently. It also helps clarify a list of “do’s and don’ts” that can ensure a smooth renovation. Truthfully, since our brownstone was built in 1890 there will always be a project to work on….
A Mid-Century Modern Makeover on a Budget.
After we spent months renovating our home the last thing we wanted to do was move back in all of our old furniture. We have some great vintage pieces that will go anywhere we do, but much of the rest had seen better days. It’s a great time to refresh and renew to fully realize…
Budget Backyard Makeover
As we write this it is 55 degrees outside in February! In New York! Terrifying global warming concerns aside, it has us really looking forward to our upcoming backyard makeover. We want it be ready to go as soon as we have consistent nice weather so the time for planning is now! After just finishing…
How We Found The Perfect Kitchen Faucet
Our kitchen is one of our favorite spaces in our house. Although many people are moving toward traditional closed kitchens in a separate space to hide away any cooking mess, we are big fans of an open kitchen that allows for easy entertaining for the cooks! The center of our kitchen is a large island…
Top 5 Hacks For An Inexpensive Kitchen Renovation
Our budget was maxed out just on the construction expense for our renovation so we had to get creative when buying finishes. We managed to put together the look that we wanted on a much lower budget than anyone said we needed. The kitchen was an area where were able to save a lot so…
Is It A Good Idea To Build A Bedroom With No Window?
There are some givens in the design of a 19th century Brooklyn brownstone. With very few exceptions they are narrow and long. You will almost always open the door to a vestibule, then a foyer, and then a staircase going up the side wall. You’ll have 3 windows across the upper floors and on the…
Adding Character With A Custom DIY Coat Nook
For better or worse we opted not to carve up our floor space on the parlor floor with a coat closet. We didn’t move many walls on this floor so there just wasn’t a great place to build one. Every place we considered was obviously interjected into the space. But we still have coats! And…
Let’s get Lit- Blending Modern Lighting With 130 Year Old Details
In the 1880’s when our place was built it was most likely lit at night by kerosene lamps, candles, and possibly even gas lamps. We sometimes lose sight of that picture of what took place on these streets and between these walls so long ago: Roaring fires in the wood burning fireplaces, horse & carriages…
Closets- Organization & Storage options
Our brownstone is spot on with the usual measurements of 19’x 40’. In our duplex we have a living/kitchen/dining floor and then a bedroom floor. We chose to build 3 good size bedrooms rather than have one that is only big enough for a desk or a single bed. The compromise we made is that…
Stairway to Heaven – Finishing Off Our Staircase with a Runner
We faced some tough decisions early on in our renovation on what to restore, what to repair, and what to replace. Our place is 130 years old and has had several renovations over its lifetime. Each one no doubt chipped away more and more at the original charm. We wanted to restore as much as…
Closed Kitchen Comeback: Is An Open Kitchen Right For You?
When we set off on our renovation journey one of the things on the top of our list was an open kitchen. We love the look of having a show-stopper kitchen being seen from the living area and we really wanted the easy flow and entertainment quality of having an open space. Most of the…
Keep It Glassy! Shower & Tub Enclosures
If you are building a new bathroom, especially if you have a nice walk-in shower, you will probably want to have a glass enclosure. Ours was just installed and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it! So we thought we would talk a bit about the process, options, and pricing. A glass enclosure to a shower…
Sorting Through Kitchen Counters Options
The kitchen is the heart of the house, they say. For us (and many folks) our kitchen is a big feature of our renovation. We wanted it to be big and open. We even sacrificed a powder room to get it. We wanted something that would be seen as a major feature. We also wanted…
Deck Access Options: Replacing a window or adding a slider.
Over the past few weeks we have been really excited to see our deck being built. One of the things that we are looking forward to the most about our place is unwinding at the end of the day by lighting up the grill, having a glass of wine, and enjoying the outdoor space. Adding…
We kicked off our renovation in January 2019. Seven months later and we are weeks away of having some rooms finished. But don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere! There is plenty more work to do and more projects coming. For the past 10 months we’ve been living in the garden apartment. Fortunately it’s a completely…
The past 2 weeks have been all about the kitchen. We removed walls and had the space prepped months ago so it’s really nice to see the finishes going in. The Plan Our place had a a bathroom and bedroom across the back of the building where we wanted to put the kitchen. We removed…
Living In The Living Room
We’re in the last few weeks of our renovation, so in addition to scratching things off the very long list of construction items, we’re thinking about furniture placement. This has us revisiting the layout of the parlor floor and we’re combating a problem many Brownstone (and townhouse/row house) owners have: where to put the couch!…
Getting the Grout Right
We spent a lot of time picking out tile for the bathrooms. We visited several tile stores, saved lots of photos on Pinterest, and listened to advice of designer friends. We chose tiles that would compliment the place and each other as well as work toward the master design plan. But other than the hours…
When one door closes…
The first impression you get of a house is often the front door. It can be inviting and add to the curb appeal or it can detract. The same is true of each room in the house. The impact of having beautiful doors is often underestimated. They are one of the last things we’re ordering,…
New Life for our Hardwood Floors
The hardwood flooring is one of the things that is the most important for us to get right. It’s one of the largest surfaces in the house and it can really change the look of every room. The existing flooring was laid about 5 years ago. The original planks are under it, but they are…
Tiles, Counters, and Hardwood… Oh My!
In the past 5 months a lot of demo and building has been going on, but the next few weeks are going to show the biggest transformation so far! That’s because we are now working on the stuff that you’re going to be able to see when we’re done! Work is finally happening for the…
Deck Designing: Part One
One of the things we are the most excited about for our renovation project is adding the deck! Outdoor space is such a rare and precious benefit in New York and we can’t wait to have this as part of our space. We’re happy to say that as of this week it’s designed and currently…
Plaster Problems: Restoring Original Mouldings
For many of us when we step through the double front doors of a historic Brooklyn brownstone we feel a rush of excitement to see the charm and character of original features. The high ceilings and tall doors, the grand banister and woodwork, the huge windows with wooden shutters, and of course the sometimes ornate…
Decks! Costs and Considerations.
While walls are still coming down during our demolition process, we wanted to write about something we are the most excited for in the renovation- our new deck! When going through a renovation there’s a lot of things that take priority and there are things that are nice-to-haves. The kitchen is usually a big priority….
Battle of the Bathrooms- Old vs. New
Jordan and I are pretty aligned on most of our design choices. Picking out tile was a breeze. We are eyeing a few light fixtures and both have the same favorites. No arguments over furniture. We both love vintage charm as well, but other than restoring original features of our house, up until this point…
One Big Happy Family? Separating the owner’s duplex from the garden apartment.
Our building has a few interesting challenges that we need to solve as we complete the design. We’ve been working on one situation and we have some ideas but we haven‘t fully decided how to resolve it yet. Our building is configured as a garden level 1-bedroom rental and a parlor/topfloor duplex. The garden level…
Squeezing Our Dreams Into Our Budget
We’re in a holding pattern right now waiting for DOB approval to get the sledgehammer out. Our architect is doing a great job managing that, and our contractor is sidelined waiting for approval. So this downtime in physical work is a perfect opportunity for us to plan out our budget. Our renovation is especially exciting…
How much should an Architect cost?
With the closing behind us and our dream of owning a Brooklyn brownstone a reality, we’re ready to transform it into our home! Truth be told, I’ve spent a lot of time working on the floor plan myself the last 2 months while we were waiting to close. I used an app (Magicplan) for free…