Diving In!

After a hellish 12 hour move from Brooklyn to Newburgh we started working the very next day. We were (and still are for the most part) living like squatters in the top floor of the house. For the first 5 days we didnt have power or gas in our apartment. We woke up with the sun and fell asleep at dark, unable to keep our eyes open after the days work. Even still, for the first few moments before I’d drift off I had this tremendous weight on my chest, feeling overwhelmed by the size of the house and its endless list of things to be done. Luckily, I have very supportive and handy parents who live in Albany and they stayed with us the first two days as we worked on getting the then vacant apartment cleaned, painted, and updated.

We also cleaned and painted the entryway. Technically, the house has two entrances…45 Henry and 45 1/2. The 45 entrance is for a two units and the 45 1/2 side is for the remaining 5 units, ours included. Total its about 300 sq ft, with a 30 foot staircase leading to the second and third floors. After four days of work we sanded and repaired the ceiling and walls and did two coats of paint. entry_before and afterThe painting itself went so quickly thanks to using a paint sprayer – the Wagner Flexio 590. This isnt a plug for them, but I think it was probably the best $100 we’ve spent on a single tool. I was able to paint a 30 foot hallway in TWENTY minutes. My new best friend. That’s actually a lie – all power tools are my best friends.

At the same time I’ve also gotten to start working on restoring the floors in the entryway. What I thought would be a simple project (NOTE: this is the hardest lesson to learn with an old house – nothing is simple..) has ended up being more grueling than I anticipated. Underneath the nasty green carpeting covering the stairs and hallways on the first and second floors is the original hardwood….its just trapped underneath a layer of carpet pad, carpet glue, old vinyl tile, and tar paper.

It took two solid days on my hands and knees to expose a whole 8 square feet. I thought there must be another way but even with mineral spirits, denatured alcohol, Turpenoid Natural, Sentinel 747, KrudKutter, Goof Off, and boiling water. Then I tried a heat gun and a wallpaper steamer. Day 2 just ended a huge mess, a few more inches of dirty floor and a general feeling of impossibility. After a few days of research I’ve hit on this special removal blade that fits on a floor buffer that I plan to try sometime in the next week. It’s my last hope. Stay tuned for that! In the meantime here are some shots of the changes.
45 Henry Blog - 0645 Henry Blog - 05n the right you can see an orange strip  of floor – we think this is the original stain and plan to recreate that! Super exciting – despite all the tar in my immediate future. I’ve also started uncovering the stairs here. Hopefully by next week I’ll have something more impressive to share!

Since then (cant believe it’s been two weeks nearly) we’ve signed a lease with a tennant and have been repainting the kitchen floor before he moves in. Before it was a single sheet of old cruddy vinyl with adhesive and a plywood subfloor. Instead of retiling or laying new vinyl, we opted to sand the original plywood and paint a checked pattern on the floor. Here is the subfloor exposed, drying out and ready to be primed. IF you look carefully you’ll also see a new stove (that I proudly hooked up) and cabinets we brought back to life with a white coat of paint.
2N floor

I n other recent news, we also finally got a working fridge! We were living out of a mini fridge (the old one stank) and just like everything else in the house, its two steps forward, one back. The fridge was great – but it didnt fit up the stairs! Not a problem, thanks to the sawzall! In half an hour I took our the entire railing, banisters, newel posts and door frame! One more thing to fix but SO worth it for a fridge! But at least now we get a bigger doorway and a chance to redesign/fix the staircase. Redesign/fix is quickly becoming Standard Operating Procedure around here.

doorTomorrow my parents come back – we plan to check out Stanz Salvage Yard in Kingston and check out a Thermatek restaurant range for our kitchen too! Hoping that with my Dad’s help we can wire our newly vacated garage for power and lights! That’s for tomorrow.

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  1. My family is from Newburgh and on a trip home this weekend my dad and I drove past your beautiful property. I live in Brooklyn and I never thought i’d be coming back home to Newburgh until recently 🙂 Keep it up!

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