ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Renovate A Townhouse In Brooklyn Volume 1 Edition 9

Updated on August 8, 2020

Are We Crazy Yet?

If you are like me and Hubbie and grew up in the 20th century, you may be familiar with an ancient human ritual known as Spring Cleaning. A tedious but necessary affair, Spring Cleaning was an annual rite in my childhood home. Spearheaded, planned and supervised by my indefatiguable mother what invariably started as the arduous but executable task of emptying and organizing our dressers, closets and cabinets, soon unraveled into a seemingly insurmountable pile of shoes and dishes, acrimony and regret.

"It always gets worse before it gets better," my mother would encourage us, never herself seeming discouraged by the piles of out-moded clothes that seemed destined to defeat us.

Funny how Mom still manages to be right so much of the time.

Three months into the renovation of our townhouse in Brooklyn, things were in a state of disarray far greater than what we had encountered when we first purchased the house. While the sticky surfaces and air fresheners were now a thing of the past, what emerged in their place is a structure filled with holes, dust and sharp objects that bears only a remote resemblance to anything that can rightly be called a house, much less a home. "Swiss cheese covered in dust," is how I liked to describe it to Hubby on days when I would visit the site without him. Meanwhile, our GC seemed undaunted by the list of unfinished items, or the piles of dust or by the numerous holes in the walls and ceilings. In fact, he seemed downright buoyed by the progress.

"Everything's moving along exactly the way it should," he commented during one winter day's walkthrough.

Gladly, the heating system still worked and the crew lacked all shyness about cranking the thermostat up to 80. They also lacked all shyness about putting holes into our walls. In fact, for a period of about four weeks it felt like making holes in the walls, or else tearing walls down completely, was pretty much all that the construction work amounted to.

This speaks directly to the fact that most of what makes a house functional is actually hidden from sight. The plumbing and electrical wiring that are the essence of a working home are generally buried in the walls, ceilings and floors and will remain forever unseen to the observing eye.

But getting that stuff into the walls, ceilings and floors of an existing house is another matter entirely. In fact, it is an indelicate process that involves punching, poking and wrecking countless holes to make room for what will ultimately be the guts and brains of our house.

Meanwhile, Hubbie and I worked on our list.

Even with all the labor and expense going into the actual house, there was still an enormous number of items to select and purchase in order to make the house function. This includes everything from toilets to countertops, from doors and knobs to kitchen sinks. In our case, Hubbie and I had borrowed the renovation funds as a part of our mortgage. We had the consultation of our architects to guide us as we made each and every decision about the fixtures, finishes, lighting, materials and appliances, but otherwise, we are on our own.

Hubbie and I had prior experience and a highly mortgaged budget to guide us as we scoured every possible retail outlet to acquire the needed goods. We found a pristine claw foot tub and drain from Long Island for an unbeatable price via Ebay, and made a repeat purchase at a retailer in Kentucky (who ships for FREE) for a second one. Ikea made it easy for our GC to pay for our reasonably priced kitchen cabinets via fax, and hours of late-night web-browsing revealed a cornucopia of goods just across the bridge in New Jersey, including marble floor tiles at a deep discount and a stone yard where we hand-picked the slab for our kitchen counters all while getting a savings on the premium rates.

Experience has shown time and again that there are bargains to be had for those who are assiduous, thrifty and willing to shop online. For me and Hubbie, doing our own legwork is always preferable to having someone do it for you especially if it means saving money in the long run. Each dollar that we save can be applied elsewhere or can just be a savings to us, which is always reassuring.

And then there's the odd renovation emergency.

Like the day when you visit the house on a Saturday morning to discover that an entire wall of 112-year old tile in the upstairs bathroom has been demolished and removed in spite of your instructions to the contrary.

If this should happen to you, refer back to Edition Number 8 and remain calm. Then call the GC and a raise holy you-know-what.

Something else my Mom taught me how to do.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)