Dean & Steve's Rustic Railroad

Dean & Steve's Rustic Railroad

Geoff Bentz
Nov 2, 2009

Name: Dean Sawyer & Steve Drum
Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Size: about 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: ½
Who else lives here? A mouse (seen once)

Stepping into Dean and Steve's sparse yet comfortable apartment there's a strong desire to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and skim through a well-worn copy of Moby Dick.

The couple moved in just six months ago and it's amazing how quickly they've transformed a few rooms with wall-to-wall carpeting into a provincial bungalow on a tree-lined street in Brooklyn. Proof that if doesn't take dollars to make a home, most of the renovations were done using found materials and plenty of ingenuity. You can see many of the Before pictures in the House Tour Gallery.

One of the biggest improvements has to be the kitchen. Although a rental, Dean and Steve didn't hesitate to rip out the existing infrastructure and toss it to the curb (to be found and repurposed by another homeowner, no doubt). Everything went — the floors, cabinets, counters, even the back-splash. One of the only original parts remaining is a small batch of M.C Esher-like tile under the stove. And even that was uncovered after scraping away many layers and many patterns of vinyl tile.

The home is still a work in progress. There's talk of pulling out the shower to "see what's behind that wall." After that, who knows? Maybe a skylight.

Steve Drum is an actor and writer and Dean Sawyer specializes in interior architecture and decorating.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Style: Victorian Modern

Inspiration: Farm house, beach house, mid-'70s SoHo loft

Favorite Element: Space and light

Biggest Challenge: The renovation and cleaning before moving in was the challenge.

What Friends Say: They can't believe how big it feels and they can't believe how much work they did.

Biggest Embarrassment: The curtain standing in for our bathroom door is a little short.

Biggest Indulgence: Turning one small bedroom into our walk-in closet.

Best advice: We offered to do the improvements ourselves and got a deal on the rent for 2 years.


Furniture: We scouted the neighborhood on big trash night.

Lighting: DIY

Window Treatments: Fabric remnants

Artwork: Friends and antique shows

Flooring: 5-gallon drum of Glidden floor paint. Great price, great paint.

Thanks, Dean & Steve!

Images: Geoff Bentz, Dean Sawyer

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