House Tour: Suzanne and Joshua Prepare and Renovate!

House Tour: Suzanne and Joshua Prepare and Renovate!

Jill Slater
Jan 21, 2009

Name: Suzanne and Joshua
Location: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Size: 810 sqft. condo brownstone
Years lived in: 3 years


Suzanne and Joshua are serious fans of AT. In fact, we first learned about them from their House Call. Since they bought this place together, they have been inhaling Apartment Therapy, Brownstoner and Design Sponge. Without a contractor, but with ample help from these blogs, Suzanne and Joshua transformed a banal brownstone apartment into greatness.

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The first thing a visitor notices, upon arriving at the newly renovated home of Suzanne and Joshua is the boldness of their wall color palette. The second thing is how well the colors work! It's clear that Joshua and Suzanne wanted to retain the traditional qualities of their brownstone apartment but to introduce a modern component as well.

The colors do most of the work towards bridging the two worlds. Many of the materials, such as original hardwood floors, vintage or vintage copied chandeliers, retro wallpaper, and hickory kitchen cabinetry evoke an era more in line with the age of the brownstone. And yet, because all of the woodwork (floorboards and door frames) was redone, the bathrooms have very modern fixtures, and the kitchen countertop is black Caesarstone — the apartment feels very current.

Suzanne and Joshua are amazingly organized people. Their tactic for taking on a full apartment renovation on a limited budget was to spend up to 6 months each of the 3 years researching, buying and amassing all the materials necessary for the job. Then they would demolish (with their own two hands) the room to be renovated, store the refuse somewhere, bring the bags down to the front garbage a few at a time (within the rules for the building), then bring in a professional to do whatever work was necessary. The great thing about this approach is that when the carpenter or tiler was finally called in, the job was not slowed down waiting for an essential element to arrive. After the foundation of the work was completed, Joshua and Suzanne would finish off the job by doing all the staining, painting and minor additions themselves. This is how the project succeeded without a contractor. This, and having a carpenter Suzanne and Joshua trusted.

In case there is any uncertainty on the subject, demo is NOT for the faint of heart. Do not try this at home unless you are prepared to do a lot of hauling. According to Joshua, the bathroom demo yielded 90 bags of trash!

Joshua and Suzanne's were very pleased with the results of the renovation — they knew what they wanted every step of the way. And they made it happen through their own physical perseverance, great forethought, and a willingness to take risks. They had no way of knowing whether the wall colors would work or if the wallpaper in the bedroom would pain them every night. But their adventurous spirit paid off and as a result they couldn't be happier to share their home.

AT Survey
Style: Modern / eclectic
Inspiration: Clean/uncluttered
Favorite Element: Light

Kitchen cabinets and sink: Park Slope Kitchen and Bath
Carpenter: T & A Carpentry
Shower Door: ABC Shower Doors


We've had amazing response to our Apartment Therapy House Tour Submission Form that we launched last month. While we will work with homeowners of our favorite homes to feature full tours, we will also share the best as House Calls — short, quick tours of readers' homes. Submit your home here.

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