September 3, 2017


The last thing I wrote on my last post, which was in April, was that I was going to post more often, lolzzz. It’s September! Usually when I stop posting it’s because we aren’t seeing progress but I am happy to report that this time it is quite the opposite.

So what have we been up to? I can’t believe I am typing this but we found some amazing general contractors. That’s right we fired a second contractor and hired a third. And I guess it’s true what they say, third time is the charm. Our new GC started work on March 28th and by June 1st we were living in the garden rental unit. On August 1st we moved upstairs into the main unit. We have seen unbelievable progress in the last 5 months and our contractor has hit EVERY.SINGLE.DEADLINE. After a year and half of terrible experiences I didn’t think it was possible. In about two weeks we should be complete with all construction. Bring on the punch list!

Here’s a little before and after of the exterior…

Still a few things to do outside but almost there ūüôā

Cheers, Hayley

April 19, 2017


Last week was pretty exciting at the house. ¬†Pella installed the french doors which lead from the kitchen out to the deck. They are wood doors with grilles (since I am grille obsessed). ¬†Pella only offers grilles on the outside of the window pane with wood doors, so that’s what we went with. ¬†We had the doors painted black to match the rest of the windows. Pictures below ūüôā


Should be seeing some real progress in the next coming weeks, so I am going to try and post more often.

Cheers, Hayley

January 12, 2017

Cheers to 2017

Well 2016 was a blur. ¬†It was an all around terrible year. ¬†I only posted here once. ¬†After March 2016 we had to regroup a little bit on the house. ¬†We hired a new GC and started work at the very end of August. We’ve made some progress and we’ve had some setbacks. ¬†I would just say overall this process still feels painfully slow. ¬†2016 looked a little something like this…

2016 Year in Review

January – Pushing to try and get the rental done so we can move in.

February РWe move into the rental even though there are no appliances or no heat. Perks: running water and electricity.  Lots of arguing with the contractor/subcontractors.

March – Lots more fighting with the contractors/subcontractors…. You’re fired!

April – We move out of the house. We meet with tons of GC’s

May – We meet with more GC’s.

June, July – Mostly a blur, more meetings with GC’s.

August – Hire a new GC. Secure funds to complete reno. Begin construction again!

September РHouse gets broken into, ugh. A very dark day. We immediately install ADT.  We now have ADT!

October РI lose my job when my position is relocated.  Bad for cash flow but great for now acting as construction foreman (#blessingindisguise).  We briefly consider selling and meet with our broker.

November РNew windows officially installed and the cornice is painted, yay!  Donald Trump is elected president, ugh.  I start my own business.

December – Floors go in on parlor and second level. I am not sure what else happened in December, it’s like the whole world flakes at the end of the year.

We sent away for the tax photos so here is a little timeline in facades.  The last picture shows how the house looks with the new windows.

NYC Tax Photo 1940’s

NYC Tax Photo 1980’s

March 2015 – after purchase

November 2016 – new windows, stained glass restored, cornice painted.

I am very thankful 2016 is over and I am looking forward to a positive 2017!

Cheers, Hayley

March 14, 2016

hello from the other side

It’s been just about three months since I have updated this blog. ¬†It’s always easy to post when everything is going great and you have exciting progress to share, and it’s even that much harder to write when things are going all wrong. ¬†It’s like documenting all your failures and greatest fears coming true. ¬†But when I started this blog I did so for the purpose of doing just that… documenting the ups and the downs the good and the bad.


Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

I’ll give you the good news first:

The rental unit (garden level) and cellar are mostly complete. ¬†We moved into the rental in mid February. ¬†It’s been really touch and go though. ¬†The first weekend we stayed here we had no heat or hot water but luckily it was unseasonably warm for February so we made do. ¬†We also went to the gym to shower. ¬†A few days later we had heat and hot water but then the hot water went. ¬†It took two days to get it working again. ¬†Then a few days later we had a huge leak from the bathtub into the ceiling of the cellar, so back to the gym for showers. ¬†Everything is covered in dust, the windows are installed wrong, the electricity is screwed up. ¬†Sorry I forgot this was supposed to be the good news! ¬†But all these things that are wrong and incomplete aside, the rental unit and cellar look complete, on the surface, for the most part. ¬†At least I can show you these photos below and you will think so.

IMG_6783 IMG_6781 IMG_6774 IMG_6769 IMG_6757

So here is the bad news:  The parlor floor, second floor, and backyard are not even close to being done.  They are a mess and our general contractor has basically bailed on us.  He was not paying his crew/subcontractors.  The architects we hired to manage the construction process and who recommended this contractor to us are not taking responsibility for the fact they mismanaged it completely.  Another subcontractor was brought in and we have yet to figure out his angle although I am sure he has one so we proceed with caution.  We will have to get a new general contractor, I know it is inevitable.

This has been one of the most challenging experiences of our lives. ¬†I don’t even know how to quite verbalize how difficult the last two months have been. ¬†I don’t understand why the construction industry is like this? ¬†Why does it have to be like this, so corrupt and backwards? ¬†And I don’t know why we were so naive to think we would be the exception to all the horror stories you hear about construction. ¬†We are certainly not. ¬†We are living out this nightmare each day and that is a difficult thing to blog about.

Today I met two neighbors on the street who live a few blocks down, Lauren and Justin.  I had never met them before but they are also going through a huge gut renovation of a brownstone.  They stopped me to say hi because they follow along on the blog.  We got to talking and quickly realized we have similar experiences and stories about this renovation process.  It was comforting to know that we are not the only ones who are going through this, but it was also sad to hear they had been through something so similar because we know how awful it is.

Since we are now living in the house we have gotten to know some of our other neighbors and they have been very kind to recommend other contractors to us.  I also called a woman who has been screwed over by the same GC, Franco Lucic of LMF Group, just as we have and she was so kind.  We agreed to stay in touch with any new developments.

I don’t know why so many general contractors are nothing short of liars, thieves and down right criminals. ¬†But after the last week I do know that if something like this has happened to you, you are certainly not alone. ¬†Everyone has their own horror story to tell.

I’d love to be posting beautiful pictures of my renovated house right now. ¬†The one that was promised to me by amateur architects and scumbag contractors. ¬†And instead I am writing about how most of my house is in shambles. ¬†But I think it is important to share because it is the truth. ¬†I know others have stories to share like this. ¬†I would love if you have a story to share for you to do so here! ¬†It’s amazing how when someone threatens your home/property it can so quickly ruin your life. ¬†And the worst part is it feels like these contractors just keep getting away with it! ¬†They then turn around and do it some one else! ¬†I have no way to change it but at the very least I can speak about it and share it with others.

Cheers, Hayley

December 16, 2015

The wood is looking good

Our contractor shared some pictures with us of the kitchen cabinets that are being made and the pocket doors that are being restored. ¬†Can’t wait to see everything in the house soon! ¬†Remember those doors were coated with layers of paint.

We are a little behind schedule. ¬†No dry wall has gone up yet. ¬†Unfortunately, it looks like we won’t be moving in until mid January.

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Cheers, Hayley

December 10, 2015

Entry way Inspiration

One of my favorite things about row houses are the entry ways. ¬†I love when they feel old and grand. ¬†I’ve been thinking about how we are going finish ours. ¬†None of the original tiles are intact and there is currently no pendant, so we are basically starting from scratch.

Our entryway space is similar in size to this image below.


                       Source: Houzz

I love this wallpaper from Rifle Paper Co. ¬†It’s perfect for an entry way because the¬†pineapple is a symbol of hospitality and welcome.

entry wall paper

                                      Rifle Paper Co.: Pineapple (Ebony) Wallpaper

I am leaning towards this tile pattern…

entry tiles

                              Source: The Oregonian

The hardest part is picking a pendant.  Do we go with 1.) Traditional 2.) Geometric/Modern  or 3.) Vintage?   I love them all!

1.) WayFair: Penn Station 3 Light Pendant

entry light 3


2.) Shades of Light: Clear Glass Prism Pentagon

entry light

3.) Shades of Light: Clear Seeded Glass Globe 

entry light 2

Cheers, Hayley

December 4, 2015

Almost ready for walls

The deck is up, the electric is run, and the plumbing is in.  Once everything is inspected we will be ready for dry wall!  Oh and some firefighters stopped by to get some tips from our contractor Franco, since most of the them moonlight as handyman/contractors a well.

Cheers, Hayley


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November 17, 2015

Construction Update: the Bay Window

Things are moving along on the house.  All the plumbing and electric has been run for the most part, there were some rotting beams in the basement that were replaced, and the cement base for the deck has been laid.  Hopefully in about  two weeks we will be ready to start putting drywall up.

HOWEVER, there has been a bit of surprise debacle with the bay window at the back of the house on the parlor floor. ¬†To jog your memory is used to look like this…


And now is currently looks like this…


When our contractor took up the fake flooring that had been laid over the original hardwoods he realized there had been some water damage and that the window which sticks out on the back of the house was sagging a bit.  We talked about it and decided he should fix it by propping it back up and replacing any damaged wood.  Well when they began the work they realized there was a piece of pipe running through the side of the window that was no longer connected to anything.  So for who knows how long water has been pouring into this window/corner of the house.  The trim and wainscoting has been salvaged and the window will be rebuilt, but the whole thing had to be taken down. Hence the giant whole in the back of the house.

Here is the evil pipe that was draining to no where…


The roof of the garden shed that was added on was also rotting. ¬†The bay window sat over this roof…


But fear not, everything is being fixed and there are lots of steel beams involved…

IMG_2478 IMG_2476 IMG_2474

I can’t wait to see this window when its restored to its original glory! ¬†We also may add some stained glass since we have to¬†replace the¬†window panes anyway (#treatyoself).

Lesson learned: Hiring a certified, professional plumber is important. Replacing a bay window is expensive.

Cheers, Hayley

October 26, 2015

The Upstairs Office

Now that all the rooms are framed out, we are starting to get a sense for the size and space. ¬†I am starting to think more about what furniture we will need in each room and how to lay it out. ¬†I love West Elm, and I recently discovered their Room Planner¬†and it’s my new favorite thing.

With the Room Planner I created the layout for the office below.  Since we only have three bedrooms (and one of them is our master) we want this room to be somewhat of a flex space that can be used as an office or a guest room in case we have a few people staying with us at one time.  office layout

I think we will paint the walls a light grey which will look nice with the wood trim, shutters, and walnut floor.

BM - Grey Owl

Benjamin Moore – Gray Owl

Originally we were going to do a wall of built in shelves but ultimately we have decided its better to buy some key furniture pieces which will allow the room to be easily changed up/rearranged in the future. ¬†This room doesn’t have a closet so I think adding an armoire makes a lot of sense. ¬†The over sized chair with be a pull out twin bed.

West Elm - Patchwork Armoire

CB - Karnes Cot Sleeper

bar cart West Elm - Mid-Century DeskPB -Nash Swivel Desk Chair

Target - Aztec Rug

I think it all has a fun Mad Men vibe!  Cheers, Hayley

West Elm: Patchwork Armoire // C&B: Karnes Cot Sleeper // CB2: Bar Cart // West Elm: Mid-Century Desk Acorn // PB: Nash Swivel Desk Chair // Target: Aztec Rug

October 16, 2015

Patterned Tiles in the Powder Room

We are currently finalizing all our tile selections for the three bathrooms and the kitchen. ¬†We are going to put a fun patterned tile on the wall behind the toilet in the powder room. ¬†Below are some options we are looking at…


I’d really like to paint the walls a rich navy blue…

Benjamin Moore Midnight Navy

          Benjamin Moore Midnight Navy

We will have a floating toilet and small console sink with thin white subway tiles behind the sink.

powder room

This is my inspiration for the mirror and lighting…

And a “Wash Closet” or “Toilette” sign on the outside of the door!wc signtoilette sign

Cheers, Hayley