Stefanie & Luke’s Brooklyn Limestone

published Feb 24, 2010
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Name: Stefanie & Luke (Mr. & Mrs. Limestone)
Location: Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Size: 1,800 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years

You may be familiar with Brooklyn Limestone, the blog penned by Stefanie documenting her adventures in renovation and decoration. She has incredible picture tutorials of the crafty projects she does herself, and thorough photographic evidence of the complete transformation her home has made from beginning to end. We’ll show you the finished product, but you can mosey on over to Stefanie’s blog when you’re done here to see the condition in which she found this now-beautiful residence.

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The property was in complete disrepair when the couple purchased it back in early 2007. Since the interior needed a total overhaul to be habitable, they could have built everything back up in whatever style they wanted. Luckily for us, they always intended to stay true to the original period of the home, which dates back 100 years. Even though the layout of the house changed dramatically, Stefanie and Luke painstakingly restored every original detail they could when it would have been much easier to demo and start fresh. They boiled paint off hardware, cleaned and reused wall tiles, stripped layers of paint off intricate wood pieces. You name it, they saved it. And whatever truly needed replacing was selected to blend in seamlessly with the rest. After the renovation was complete, Stefanie chose to finish with modern appliances and decorative accessory pieces that have a vintage flair to them — and can easily be changed out when she decides it’s time for something else. But the permanent finishes in the home feel like they could have been there all along.

Take a look at the full House Tour for a floor plan. And be sure to check out the highly entertaining blog Brooklyn Limestone to get a peek inside the brilliant minds that revived this elegant old home to make it their own.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Style: As a result of never wanting to renovate again, we have tried to make decisions that we hope will be timeless without taking ourselves too seriously. So I guess I’d say our style is mixing old with new.

Inspiration: Helena Rubinstein, Grand Central Station, the sneak peaks of real people’s homes we get by looking through front windows.

Favorite Element: The first thing I loved about the house was the ornate doorknob on the vestibule door. It made me see that the house had real potential beauty lying under all its problems. Luke didn’t have quite the same instant love for it, but he was up for the challenge and believed in my vision.

Biggest Challenge: Aside from paying for it? I think dealing with the emotional stress a major project like this puts on your relationship is the biggest challenge we faced. We are both strong-willed and rarely agree so it wasn’t always easy. We weren’t expecting that particular hardship so it was a bit of a shock for us.

What Friends Say: At first they looked at the house and thought we were crazy. Not everyone appreciates the “charm” of an old home no matter what shape it’s in. And this house was in absolutely terrible shape so I can see why they were worried for us. Now they barely remember how it looked before.

Biggest Embarrassment: I’m sure there are many that I can’t think of right now but picking a chocolate brown color for the second floor bathroom was a pretty bad choice. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before that this particular shade of brown wasn’t the best color association in a bathroom. I took one look at it and I knew it had to be changed right away.

Proudest DIY: Spending a few days to salvage and painstakingly clean the vintage tile (later used for the kitchen backsplash) and boil the old paint off the doorknobs were definitely worth it. On a grander scale, I really enjoyed sourcing all the bits and pieces, colors, and finishes. It was like a puzzle to be solved.

Biggest Indulgence: Our kitchen cabinets. I really wanted inset cabinetry but overlays were so much cheaper. We went back and forth about getting a cheaper style for a long time but decided our kitchen was small enough that it was worth the splurge.

Best Advice: Either as a curse or a blessing, we didn’t really get much advice. Most of our friends had never renovated so much as a bathroom before so I don’t think they had much to add. But the best advice I’ve gotten as a general rule applies to home renovation: Plan for the worst but hope for the best.

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Resources: Blogs, magazines, and books for style inspiration. IKEA for anything cheap. Online comparison shopping for anything expensive.

Floors: Mostly original to the house. No clue what they are made of but we used a high gloss poly to make them extra shiny. Loads of people told me to do matte because it was more current but I’m so glad I didn’t listen. I love the shine!

Entryway: original floors, door, and plaster details, and a home portrait by the lovely PVE Design in a Target frame

Kitchen: cabinets by Plain & Fancy, Soapstone from M. Teixeira, backsplash made using tiles salvaged from the upstairs bathroom, GE Appliances, pendant lights made by Hinkley, and metal stools by Lyon (originally gray, spraypainted blue)

Living Room: sofa and chairs from Room&Board, coffee table from Bassett Furniture, chandelier is vintage purchased at Lamp Doctor on McDonald Avenue, round wood table near the windows was purchased secondhand in New Jersey, chairs from my father, console table from Pottery Barn circa 2001, frames snatched from the garbage outside an art gallery in SoHo, silhouette pillow made by me (tutorial on my blog), other pillows from Target, two damask cube ottomans from Target, wall color is Benjamin Moore Silver Fox.

Office: desk and sideboard from IKEA, lamp from Pottery Barn, zebra rug from Target, rattan shade from JC Penney, carousel card rack from Pottery Barn, large cork board from Ballard Designs, pegboard frame made by me from frames found in garbage, large scissors bought years ago at Christmas Tree Shoppes and painted gold, wall color is Benjamin Moore Waterfall.

Master Bedroom: nightstands and chair purchased second-hand, lamps from Cost Plus, blue dresser from FIND Home Furnishings in Brooklyn, collage artwork over the chairs made by me, painted art over the dresser by me, frames over the bed from IKEA with some fabric inside, quilt from Anthropologie, yellow blobby pillowcases made by me, solid gray pillow cases and yellow peony accent pillows from Target, headboard purchased on Craigslist from a bedding wholesaler showroom clearance, rug by Surya, window treatments and hardware from Linens ‘n Things, wall color Benjamin Moore Silver Marlin

Guest Bedroom: bed from JC Penney, rug from Target, bedding from Walmart, green and gray pillows from Target, window treatments were plain white roman shades that I embellished with some grosgrain ribbon, lamp from Target, prints, desk, side table, and chair all given to me, nightstand at right painted IKEA, chair painted and upholstered with fabric I designed, wall color is Benjamin Moore Saybrook Sage

Little Room: (not sure what to call this room but I refer to it as the box room since it used to be filled with boxes)
desk is made from an old door I found in the garbage and stripped down, frames were collected over the years, chair from IKEA, birdcage from FIND Home Furnishings, Brooklyn, wall color is Benjamin Moore Silver Marlin

Parlor Bathroom: clawfoot tub original to the house and re-purposed here, mirror and lighting from Pottery Barn, matte marble hex tiles on floor, matte marble subway tiles on walls, wall color Benjamin Moore Owl Gray

Master Bathroom: vanity, cabinets, and lighting from Restoration Hardware, marble basketweave ming dot on floor, white ceramic subway tile and trim on walls, wall color Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks Stefanie and Luke!

Images: Annie Werbler

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