Friday, 29 October 2010

Inspiration for our unit's newel posts

Despite the fact that we don't have the space for a grand entryway, I've always adored them. After all, they're the first impression you have of the interior of a building, so it's important to get off on the right foot. One of the challenges of the project for me has been to come up with ways to make entryway utterly spectacular within extremely tight space constraints. An elegant staircase is a big part of a knock-out entry. Since the overall shape of our staircases have to be straight because that's space-saving, I've been focusing my attention on dressing up the staircases unusual materials. In our unit, that means unique newel posts. When I saw the photos of this Manhattan apartment, I knew I'd found my muse.

I figured that the cheapest way to get this look without spending an arm and a leg was to buy stock posts in the right tapered shape and then apply stock carved ornaments to them. The selection seems to be very limited, especially because I'm need such short pieces (the newel posts are maybe 7" at the top and the design is symmetrical, so 3.5" is pretty much the max). I ordered some samples of the best stock ornaments I could find and was pretty disappointed with what arrived in the mail.

So last weekend I went to the Fine Furnishings show in Providence in search of woodcarvers and I found four. One bowed out because he's too busy to get to the job any time soon, another sent me a quote of major, major money (I blush to think of it!), and I'm still waiting to hear from the other two. It's been interesting to talk to them about the project and, from their questions, come to understand some of its complexities.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Framing the new roof

It's been raining here the past few days, which is annoying because our contractor is the process of framing the new roof and I hate seeing everything inside the building get wet, even though everyone assures me that the wood is treated and it's okay. Here's how the third floor and roof look now.

The box for our skylight has also been framed:

This morning while meeting at the building to pay our contractor and sign a contract with the company that's going to be doing the rough plumbing, our ironworker's crew showed up with the new fire escape. Fingers crossed that it doesn't look absolutely awful after installation. (We know it's going to be an eyesore but the fire code requires it...or else a second internal staircase, which we have absolutely no room for.) My biggest worry is that the cantilevered part might end up hanging too low, cutting significantly across the second floor windows.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

An opening for the balcony door

My boyfriend's nephew, who is a mason in Wisconsin, came out for the weekend to do some brickwork and turn a couple of windows into doors for us. This is the new opening he made in the front of the building for the balcony door:

He's coming out again in two weeks to cut the last door (the door onto the fire escape from the third floor master bedroom).

Notice anything different about these photos? Yup, they have new windows in them. We got rid of the horrible white vinyl one-over-ones and replaced them with two-over-two wood interior, black aluminum-clad exterior Marvins. We debated making this change for quite a while because the old ones were brand new and, since there are about 50 windows in the building, it was a very expensive proposition but I am so glad we went for it: the RBB looks a million times better.