By Eddie Lee
Welcome to what is a "hopefully" entertaining chronicle of what happens when an interior designer becomes his own client and has some fun along the way. First off, by way of background, I'd been looking for an apartment for all of a single day when I found the one I eventually bought. I walked into the Open House and instantly fell in love. Tall ceilings? Check. Fireplace? Check. Two bedrooms? Check. Fun, hip neighborhood? Check. In my budget? Score! And when I found out I could raise the ceilings to 12 feet and expose the brick behind the living room sheetrock walls I was sold! I put in an offer the next day.
And as a good-karma aside–totally unbeknownst to me–it was the apartment of one of my friends' best friends! What are the chances? Only in New York City. So when I finally had keys in hand (after the uniquely New York process of Board approvals), I gave the plan to my contractor to start work!
Let me add, by way of full disclosure, this is not a do-it-yourself project. If I were to try and renovate this myself the NYC Department of Buildings would slap me with so many fines, well, I'd go broke...(that is, if the chunks of plaster crashing into my head and the live wires falling into my shower hadn't killed me first).
The apartment was in pretty good shape so the idea was to freshen up the kitchen and bathroom, raise the ceilings, expose the brick, and build some new cabinetry. No big deal, right? Stay tuned for the next chapter.
Well, as anyone who has renovated before knows, one thing leads to another and before I knew it...
The thing is, there's that voice in your head that says, "I'm only doing this once, so I'd better get all the mess out of the way upfront". Plus, I know from 20 years in design that when you close up the walls and the paint is dry is when you'll be wishing you installed that through-the-wall sound system, or made the shower bigger, or replaced those 1980's recessed lights, So, my advice is, if it's not needlessly extravagant (unless you can afford it, then nothing's extravagant!) and it's something you see yourself wanting in 5 years or so - DO IT! It will cost much more to do it after the fact, not to mention the stress and mess.
So, now that it's all torn up - the next step is to put it all back together again. I'm off to choose tile, appliances, bath fittings, cabinetry, lighting, etc. etc. etc. and would love to take you along for the ride. I'll be meeting with some of the best in the industry who will share their expertise with me - and you! Stay tuned.