Astoria Reno: Full Speed Ahead



Our Astoria Reno correspondent writes:

What a difference a week makes! At my last post, we were feeling at rock bottom — weeks with hardly any progress, waiting on the Department of Buildings for the final plumbing inspection, driving rains which emphasized that we HAD NO BACK WALL, and a general feeling of neglect and not moving forward.

I decided that I’d had enough. I laid down the law to our contractor: the knock-along effect we’d had for two years, from everyone involved, wouldn’t work anymore; we were moving in less than two months — non negotiable, as we had friends taking our rental space and they’d already given notice. I told him that once we had the plumbing signed off, I wanted to see a Cecil B. DeMille “Cast of Thousands” working on this house every day — including weekends — until we moved in!  I never recommend throwing a fit to achieving anything, but once we had that permit, I saw more guys on the site than ever before.




First up was insulation.  The combination of the color and texture made me feel like someone had skinned the Energizer Bunny and stuffed him between our studs.




Kill the Wabbit aside, the house is now quieter, warmer/cooler, and just feels more solid.  After a year of thin brick walls between us and the elements, it now feels like shelter.




“Hearth” touches a similarly primeval chord, even in the super-detailed and specific way the dear NYC-DOB requires for city-use-approved fireboxes. Routing the flues required more changes from the original plans; what worked on paper didn’t always work on site, but they’re in and we are very excited for next winter.




At last — hallelujah! — it was time for drywall.  It went up in a week, and with it the place went from feeling like a construction site to a comfortable house, albeit unfinished.






The library is turning out to be the harmoniously proportioned, sun-filled room I had hoped for. On the main floor, defining the spaces does not impede the feeling of them flowing into each other, or of light permeating the whole stretch from front to back — and even from the side, a rare plus in a row house.





The bathrooms are ready for tiling next week, another major step forward.  The rooms are nicely lit from the skylights — we probably won’t need lights during the day at all.  It will be even lighter when the white subway tile goes in, but Mr. A’s shower is looking enticing even in gray Permabase.


Lastly, we had our new staircase installed.  The lower rise is not just more gracious but so much more comfortable — we didn’t realize how bad the old one was until it was gone.  The stairs are also the first thing since the windows that are really finished to their final level — Mr. A’s comment was that they were made by a craftsman, not just a builder — and  we’re very excited to see the rest of the details start coming together.






Now we are excited when we visit the house, after a long time of being depressed. Thank God we turned that corner.  Hopefully changes will come fast and furious now: We’re barely a month out from our move-in date. The rental floor won’t be done, and the main floor will probably still require some tweaks, but we should be able to get in at the end of July.

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