Like a lot of the house minimal and sometimes strange maintenance decisions had been made in the house. The ground floor for example had been hand dabbed in uneven plaster to cover where the wallpaper had been damaged and the floor was covered in cheap 80s tile.
Here we can see the kind of surprise that we often find in this house. In this particular case it turns out the 80s tiles were not only hiding about 2 inches of raised floor but also a couple of these special moments where instead of fixing a hole in the floor a piece of wood had been hammered over it and then the entire tile section laid over the top.
We wanted to maintain access to the basement while also providing a transitional door between the rental and the main house so we enclosed the bottom of the stair well and placed a lockable door, while also providing a corridor to the basement.
Since we were replacing the original plaster with dry wall it was a good time to put insulation into all the walls. We found a great soundproofing insulation to help with both the temperature and the sound barriers for the rental property. Having pulled out all the cheap tile, removed all the filler concrete and put in a new underfloor we now had an even surface to work with. You can see in this picture the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor which represents the build up the previous owner had put in place with her cheap maintenance options.
With the extremes in New York whether it’s important to have a vestibule and double door systm. Unfortunately the antique doors hadn’t been respected, filled with lock holes and missing the original glass. The street entry for the rental unit had even been replaced with a cheap 1960s door that needed to go. Given that we were removing these doors entirely we were able to rebuild the door frame to a more standard door size and start a fresh.
Here we see the reframing finished, the fresh underfloor and fresh plasterboard on the walls.
Then it was time to put in new tile. I wanted to put back in patterned hall tiles as was common in Victorian houses; given that we had chosen a pattern that really popped in the rental kitchen we decided to add this back into the hall along with a neat border of black Subway tile. This turned out to be a striking but economic choice.
Tiling in action
Thankfully I have a good eye and caught this misalignment before the grout was set!
With the tile done we were able to paint and put the moulding back in. This also gave us a cheap way to reset the height of the door and the wall to make up for the removed concrete.
Then all the moulding was painted to match the same dark trim colours throughout the house.
Then it was time for new doors. Here we can see the external door of double glazed windows and mahogany. The window gives enough space to see through for deliveries and guests but the double glazing prevents cold transfer in the winter.
The internal door can weather a little more glass because the hot / cold air is trapped in the vestibule so I chose this French door style and moved the Mahogany hall tree down to the ground floor for use by the tenant.