Cobble Hill, Renovation

1st JAN 2016

Moving-in day is always a nice day. The team at Bolster is happy our clients are enjoying their new home, pooch included!  

We couldn't have hoped for a better renovation experience and thank Adam and Kat for being such amazing customers!

23 DEC 2015

It was a busy week on site in the lead up to Christmas because our clients wanted to enjoy their new home during the holidays.  Alas, they moved in on the 24th of December, right on time!  

To achieve the goal, work on site consisted of a lot of final touches. As you can see, the floor is now an elegant dark brown. The floor's treatment was carefully applied after sanding, and had to be left to set for a few days.  It's critical that no one steps on the floor whist it's setting, as any blemishes could be there to stay - or cost a fortune to remove. 

The final touches were added to the guest bathroom, such as the mirror and the shower door. Marble tiles give the walls and floor a very nice and clean texture.

The custom-made mantelpiece, floor and ceiling moldings were completed and done to a high quality standard. They will last a lifetime and they also pull the room together, giving it a classical Brownstone look.  

Last but not least, the permit for the master bathroom was approved by the DOB.  Finalizing the master bathroom will be the last stretch for the team. The apartment is tip top and nearing completion!

15 DEC 2015

This week the apartment saw all floors being sanded by the professionals at Sterling Floor Designs. Shortly three layers of clear satin water-based Indoor polyurethane will be applied. This typically takes one day to dry and another couple of days to "cure" (meaning you can walk on it).

Dia Dhuit! Introducing James Cullen. James is a painter by trade and, according to those in the know, is the son of one of the most skilled painters in New York. James works as both painter and apprentice under Master Carpenter and Job Captain Bob Wadell.

Also this week, a payment for progress happened. Now normally this involves a check having to be written with owners and contractors emailing an excel sheet back and forth. Not with Bolster, Owner's Adam and Kat have a live statement of account on their project dashboard showing at all times exactly what has been paid and what is due. For them, and their contractor, project payments are easy and handled with the support of our customer service team at HQ.


03 DEC 2015

The focus this week has been on getting all the hand-made moldings installed in the ceilings, down the hallway and in the living room. This is a laborious task that has to be carried out to perfection as moldings give a room a feeling of balance, scale and proportion.  

Besides the moldings, the team has also primed and filled the hallway walls. This is a process involves caulking, sanding, painting seeing how the walls look and if necessary repeating the process until the walls look perfect.

Quick introduction is in order. Meet the job captain for this project, Bob Wadell. Bob is both an excellent foreman and highly-skilled carpenter. He's also able to lift the spirits of everyone on site at the drop of a hard hat and makes every project run as smooth as a level-5 finish. 👏👏👏

Other progress includes grouting the bathroom floor, which is starting to get a 'finished' look. 


27 NOV 2015

Molding continues

This week the apartment has literally been molded into shape - we now have head and side casings around all the doors, crown along the ceiling and chair rail and shadow boxing (the decorative panels on the walls) all in place and the hallways painted.

Tiling to the second bathroom has continued and the floors and walls are near complete, with herringbone tiling patterns in the floor and ceilings.

The custom made cabinets were also installed this week - carpentry was a big spend within this project so expect some in-depth journalism on the cabinetry once its fully installed. 


21 NOV 2015

Coming together

The apartment really came together this week with all the window and door casings, skirting, chair rails and crown moldings being installed.

The custom built-in cabinets arrived from the workshop too! 

There has been some changes in the layout of the bathroom (which will now have two doors instead of one) due to a decision made by the DOB's plan reviewer (more on this incredible tale to follow). 

The guest bathroom floor has subsequently been ripped out and relaid, with spirit-level perfection.


16 NOV 2015

Brooklyn... Heights!

After being thoroughly sanded and prepared, the walls and ceilings can now be painted. Incidentally, painting ceilings is best done by our worker James while wearing a pair of drywall stilts. 

Remember, this is a "level five finish" being achieved here (basically meaning 5 layers of finish). Here is how it works: the drywall itself has had it's gaps taped over (the tape creates the first layer) and then a first and second coat of spackling paste applied (the second and third layer). 

It is then sanded lightly to remove any blemishes and tool marks before a thin skim coat of spackle is applied to the entire surface (the fourth layer).

The wall is then sanded lightly and checked with a halogen light to look for any imperfections. Finally, the surface is coated with a drywall primer (the fifth layer - which invariably brings up some imperfections that need to be treated) before being painted. The client has chosen Benjamin Moore pearl finish paint so expect to see a subtle gloss appear soon!


08 NOV 2015

"New York Stories"

We've just confirmed that Javier Ortega, fashion and portrait photographer for the beautiful and famous, will be shooting the finished project, clients and team. Adam and Kat are thrilled!

Javier shoots Woody Allen

Javier shoots Woody Allen


15 OCT 2015

Behind the scenes in the Bohemia wood shop.

The wood shop producing Adam and Kat's custom carpentry is run by craftsmen Chris, Bob, James and Tim and based in Bohemia Suffolk County. They're hard at work producing the fireplace built-ins, master bedroom closets and master bathroom vanity. 


05 OCT 2015

Custom carpentry drawings are ready!

David has uploaded the final shop drawings for all the custom carpentry - bathroom vanities, fireplace built-ins and wardrobes.


01 OCT 2015

Bathroom drawings are ready!

David has produced and uploaded his drawings for bathrooms and the laundry room renovation. They're really a thing of beauty (and as drawings go, really easy to work with - "just the right amount of detail" says Aaron).


21 SEP 2015

Day one! Demolition begins.

The apartment looks suddenly bare with all fixtures, fittings and furniture removed. 


17 SEP 2015

Product selections.

Before starting on site Monday, Aaron and David have been working with Adam and Kat to help them nail down all of their fixtures and finishes so they can be ordered and delivered in time for installation. By defining everything in advance, they'll avoid the stress and delays associated with having to make important material selections while work is in progress. Here are their choices:


15 SEP 2015

Adam and Aaron signed a project contract today!

Adam and Aaron signed their Bolster project agreement today via the Bolster web app. Just one tap, and all the terms and our financial guarantee became active protecting everyone involved in the project and financially guaranteeing its delivered for Adam and Kat exactly as promised.

Bolster renovation app legal dashboard.png

25 AUG 2015

Big design meeting!

David and Aaron presented the final construction drawings and design to Adam and Kat today. After seeing the quality of the design, and feeling comfortable with Aaron, David and Bolster, Adam and Kat have decided to go ahead with the current plan and bid. This is positive news for everyone.


21 AUG 2015

Time to value-engineer (lower the cost)

Adam and Kat want to reign the budget in a little and try to make some cost savings. The next design meeting will take place on the 25th and aims to help refine the scope and specification to better suit Adam and Kat's budget. Aaron thinks he may be able to make savings on the custom cabinetry and plastering.


20 AUG 2015

Aaron submitted his Bolster Bid today.

10 days of solid estimating. Its always challenging for a contractor delivering a bid on a renovation project - the client no doubt has a budget in mind, but the reality is the contractor can only price the project according to the scope, specification and drawings they've been given (the contractor can't really make editing choices on behalf of the client so can't actually bid-to-budget as easily as everyone likes to think they can).

This is why Bolster Contractors always offer up a "wish list" bid first, showing everything the client wants, and then works with the client to produce a final bid by value-engineering the scope or specification in the wish list to better suit their budget.

Aaron fully expects to work with Adam and Kat on his bid over the coming days. 


10 AUG 2015

Draft construction drawings are ready.

A draft set of the construction drawings are now ready. David and Aaron have done an incredible job in interpreting the Adam and Kat's brief. Here you can see the existing layout and new construction and floor plan. The main work involves remodeling both bathrooms (demolition of walls), changing out the central nervous system of the house, new custom carpentry, finishing all walls with a level 5 finish (so plastering all walls with 3 coats of spackle), new fireplace, new doors, new moldings and new wood flooring.

Aaron now has enough detail to be able provide his Bolster Bid. The final drawings will be submitted by David soon.


08 AUG 2015

Today Adam and Kat purchased a Bolster Bid.

After their free consultation with Aaron, Adam and Kat (who reported back just now that they experienced "good vibes" on their free consultation with Aaron) decided to purchase a bid from Aaron through Bolster.

Aaron will now prepare all his special trades - carpenter, electrician and plumber - to visit the project and do their full diligence using the Bolster method.

He'll also work with David to help him define the scope of work (a great practice that sees contractor and architect work in unison from the get-go). Learn more about getting a bid from Bolster.


08 AUG 2015

Introducing the very best contractor.

Bolster has recommended Aaron Borenstein of Home Evolutions as the contractor for this project. Aaron is extremely knowledgeable and a perfect fit for the type, size and location.


04 AUG 2015

Design proposal accepted.

After a design meeting tomorrow, David will get underway producing the Adam' and Kats schematic design. This involves understanding the current building, issues of the space and structure and really interpreting their goals and bringing that all together in a set of plans and diagrams. Simple.


03 AUG 2015

Design proposal.

24 hours is all it takes for David to visit Adam and Kat, understand their need and submit his proposal. To be fair, he's following AIA guidelines and has 25 years of experience - he's using architect memory muscle at this point.  


02 AUG 2015

Architect to order.

Bolster has recommended award winning architect David Yum, AIA to bring Adam and Kat's vision to life. David will be submitting his design proposal shortly through the Bolster app. Stay tuned!


14 JUN 2015

New enquiry from Cobble Hill.

Bolster has been invited to renovate this lovely 3-bed, 1.5 bath co-op apartment in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The clients, Adam and Kat, are a young professional couple buying their first home together and closing shortly.

Before they move in, they want to renovate the full bathroom, turn the half bath into a full bathroom, and add a split A/C system. If budget allows, they'd also like to install built ins around the fireplace for TV/Electronics. 

Budget range: $150K - $300K

Completed: 01 Feb 2016

Status: ❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚

About: Bolster transformed this 3 bed, 1.5 bath co-op in a turn-of-the century limestone building in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The majority of the work involved renovating the two bathrooms, installing new flooring and producing some truly incredible custom carpentry.

Homeowner: Adam and Kat, a professional couple in their 30's renovating their first home together. 

Team: Aaron Borenstein of Home Evolutions & David Yum, AIA of David Yum Architects.