The Morningside apartment began this past week. Well…it actually started a while ago, however I waited to put anything about it online. Some projects I work on really grip me and I become very invested. It doesn’t have to do with the budget, it doesn’t have to do with the scope, it’s a feeling.
Just a little bit about the renovation so that you’re up to speed. This is a small two bedroom apartment in the Morningside Heights neighborhood in Manhattan. Now…since I moved here in 2011 I haven’t ventured further north than 110th…and even then, that was only last November.
The neighborhood is next to Columbia and the neighborhood has a very different vibe than most I encounter in Manhattan. Very hip, very young and very…college town-esque? I don’t know how to describe it. Anyway, I’m not describing the neighborhood…you can read more about it on Wikipedia, if you really want.
Built in 1914, this apartment is OLD. The oldest I’ve really worked on to date. Not the oldest building, you may remember the loft project from last year (no? check out my portfolio to get a feel) but THIS apartment hasn’t had any past lives than as a two bedroom apartment. It’s always had the same foot print and hasn’t had any past incarnations.
It hasn’t been untouched. Years of changes, trends and updates have been made…some good, most bad. Bad enough that this guy needed a gut remodel. When we got a hold of it, I was surprised to see what did remain…original woodwork, soaring ceilings and fantastic hardware immediately stood out, and then was trumped by the dated kitchen, 70s lighting and 80s bathroom…
We couldn’t work around it all, so we went in with a plan..and hammers swinging. Plans include:
- New and extended kitchen
- Updated appliances, cabinetry, and layout
- New Walls
- New Floors (now…I LOVE old wood floors, and believe me, if these were salvageable ..I would’ve been first in line. However the beautiful [I’m assuming] original floors were covered in parquet, then vinyl, then carpeting…too much to strip down. Don’t talk to me about it, I’m depressed, still.)
- New Walls
- New Bathroom
- New Electric, data and phone lines
- New Ceiling
- New lighting plan
- Basically, if you can think it, we are doing it.
Now…I have a love/hate relationship walking into old buildings that have no allusions to their past. We fought, and won, to keep the original red oak woodwork, that miraculously hasn’t been painted in 100 years. Who am I to rip that out? It’s a fighter, and so am I. We also kept the original doors, transoms and other vintage details.
Some places I walk into and get that feeling. I can’t and won’t ever be able to write it out, but I’ll try. I come from the West (Wyoming, represent!) and while we have some old buildings they pale in comparison, numbers, grandeur and just about everything to the buildings out here in NYC. These buildings have seen history…people have lived out their lives in them…and I never take that for granted. It hit me with this apartment, maybe because it hasn’t ever been anything other than this? It’s always been a single family residence…and there was just a connection there. It has good energy, light, space, and, even though I love all my projects, this one has been neglected and run down through the years…I’m happy to be the person to breathe new life into it for, hopefully, another 100 years of life.
Ramble, ramble. That’s it! Follow along! I’ll tag all of these as “Morningside” for quick reference…for now.
*The picture is of the 125th street bridge for the 1,2,3 Lines. Which is literally right out of the door. Amazing. I could dedicate an entire post to things like this, but I won’t.