Category Archives: thoughts

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

January 14, 2015

First Post

photo 1 (10)

My fiance and I are buying our first house together.  We have lived in Brooklyn the last three years, and we our now living in a small apartment in Bed-Stuy while we wait to (hopefully) purchase what is a 100-something year old traditional Brownstone.  The process so far has been extremely challenging.  We sold our condo in Williamsburg and are now in contract to purchase a three floor Brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant.  If the deal goes through we will embark on what will probably be one the most challenging processes of our life, a major renovation to a very old home that has been very much neglected.  It is exciting and scary.

We are working with architects and contractors since we do not have the time nor the skills to do something like this on our own.  We recently met with the architects to go over layouts and design options and it got me thinking…. here we are in our late twenties about to get married and buy a house. Most people venture on a similar path around this age and it seems the goal is often to go out and buy a house so they can start to just fill it up with stuff.  We have this amazing opportunity to design and restore a home.  I want it to be meaningful.  I want it to have purpose to our lives.  I dare say maybe I want it to be minimal.  I don’t mean I want all the walls to be bare and white and eat from only one bowl everyday.  But I don’t want to get caught up in this “creative” process by turning it into a “consumer” process.  I really do want it to be creative and meaningful to our lives.  I want the space to be both beautiful and functional.

I am going to use this blog space to document all the steps we take, the up the downs, the decision-making, and the progress with a few goals in mind… (1) to have a place to keep a record of building this first home together, (2) to keep us accountable for making all the decisions with purpose and sharing how minimalism fits in our lives, (3) to share the crazy trials and tribulations of buying a house in NYC and any useful information we come across, (4) to explore and share information about this new up and coming neighborhood of Brooklyn called Bed-Stuy, and (5) to allow our family, friends, and you to follow along in the process!