Before and After: a tale of a home renovation, part 1

We live in a beautiful, historic area of Brooklyn, full of stately rows of Brownstone homes with wrought iron gates and fences. The area of Park Slope is actually a national historic site and we live one block into the neighboring area of Windsor Terrace. These neighborhoods were built in the late 1800's, and the homes contain all of the detailing that you can imagine from that era.

Let's talk about dream fulfillment for a moment, Frank and I met in 2000 and as we talked about our goals, desires and dreams, Frank admitted that one of his dreams, since moving to New York, had always been to buy and renovate a Brownstone. I began to get excited about that idea with him. After we were married we still talked about doing that, but we were caught up in living our lives, making our art, and did not take any action.

In 2003 I had a late miscarriage with our first pregnancy. Sometimes it takes something like that to give you just the kick you need, it shakes the fear off of you, it wakes you up. A month after our loss Frank began looking at houses for sale, I was still in a state of sitting at home, but he would call me from the houses and tell me about them.

The day before Halloween he went to an open house, he called me while he was there and told me that I had to come see it that same day, he made an appointment for the realtor to show it to us that evening. As we walked through we could see the potential hidden behind years of neglect and dust. The house obviously needed a major renovation, but that put it within our price range, and we just knew what we could make that house into! We made an offer two days later, and it was accepted that week.

We closed on the house the 1st week of April 2004, so it will be 6 years in a couple of weeks, and oh have we come so far! I was pregnant with Jasper when we began the renovation that spring, so I wasn't much help to Frank who did almost all of the work himself. Above is what the house looked like the day we closed, it is the one painted beige with the strange awnings (I think we took those off that day). It is too bad that we don't have a picture of the way the outside of the house looked before the woman who lived there moved out. She had so many little decorations hanging and sitting on the front stoop, there was a Madonna in a half shell, many windmills, some gnomes and small stone animals...you name it and she had the lawn decoration on the steps. People on our block still joke about that with us.

Here is the outside of our house today, you can see that we painted the cornice my favorite color, Turquoise.
Here is another "Before"...
and another "After"...

So, I hope that you enjoyed part one of the tale of our home renovation. I will continue it with part two, in which I will invite you inside to see what we did with the Living Room, expect lots of "before and after" pictures!
Here is a picture of how it looks in summertime with all of our plants in bloom. I can't wait to show you the garden!

5 comments:

Sonja said...

I love the turquoise color, it makes it pop out which is great! I can't wait to see what the inside looks like!! <3 Sonja

Estelle said...

Ah, I love, love, love this post. Can you tell I'm a little enthusiastic? Thank you for sharing it. And love that you painted the cornice (that's a new word for me) turquoise. That is just great. If I lived on your street your brownstone would be my favorite. Can't wait for more before and after photos and stories.

Enrouge {karan karla} said...

Ooooh, you are going to get everyone excited and all fired up Faith about your promise of more before and after pics. Might be too much excitement for my wi-fi--hope I don't blow a fuse here. ; ) I loved this post . . how interesting to hear about how it all came about for you to buy a brownstone. When I scrolled down and saw that first photo with the bright turquoise molding on top, it just looked to me like you took your personalized stamp out of the drawer and stamped it with "Faith". I just smiled when I saw that. It is so you! It's beautiful, too, with all the plants spilling off the windowsills. Just beautiful. Can't wait to read on. . .

jacqueline said...

Oh faith i love this post lots and i am all excited about more before and after photos! :) It is soo interesting and inspring to hear your story about how it all come together for you to buy a Brownstone home. It's beautiful! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

Mandy Saile of Bijou's Whimsy said...

I dream of New York, someday I'll get there...I love seeing and hearing about your reno experience in the big city...how exciting, lovely and grand:D congrats...I love your blog...I'll be back:D Be Well. p.s. the Turquoise is beautiful.

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