Soundproofing Floors

We recently wrote a post for BrickUnderground.com on our experience soundproofing the floors on the third floor rental unit.

SOUNDPROOFING FLOORS: A BROWNSTONER’S STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 x 8 stock lumber
  • ¾ BC plywood
  • sound insulation
  • subfloor construction adhesive
  • coarse thread wood screws
  • sound dampening underlayment
  • finish floating flooring system

Check out the full post on BrickUnderground.com.

 

The Little Reveal

When we first started our renovations we pictured the big ta-da moment when everything would be done and we’d move into our perfectly designed, painted and furnished home like on Houzz or HGTV.

The reality is that we moved in when there was not even a kitchen and now that we have been here for over a year, there is still a punch list that needs to be completed and an endless list of ongoing projects not to mention the rental unit upstairs.

We thought we’d take advantage of our clean house to show all you faithful followers a few good before and afters with at least a little, ta-da!

Parlor facing south before.

parlor facing south

After.

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As for decorating we pretty much just have our old furniture because we can’t financially justify buying any new furniture until the house is completely don’t and we have a tenant paying rent.

Parlor facing north

Parlor facing north

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parlor facing south

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Here we took out this door and partial wall to make the living area a bit larger since it is only a 16ft wide building.  We did not need the hallway behind the door because we were closing it off to separate the our unit from the apartment upstairs.  The building was a two family shared by the same family so they never officially block access between the two.

This awkward chair will be moved once we give it a design update some day.

This awkward chair will be moved once we give it a design update some day.

A little vision and a lot of patience (plus money) can go a long way.

Back facing north before the extension.

Back facing north before the extension (with the realtor).

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My dream kitchen

We love that we were able to save the ceiling because they don’t make that pattern of tin anymore.  Ours is a modest kitchen compared to some “dream kitchens” but for NYC and for a small family, it is perfect.  We will write an update on the drawbacks to marble counter tops and white cabinets later.

The closet on the left was built out and is  now the powder room.

The closet on the left was built out and is now the powder room.

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How to Cut Down a Tree For $30

It seems wrong to cut down a tree for any reason in the concrete jungle but we had a fir tree in the backyard that was leaning, with dead branches and was smack in the middle of the yard.  Our neighbor did not like it either so he offered to lend us his chain saw.  The first step was cutting the top off.

backyard

We won’t go into details on this part, just know that it involved a ladder, a chain saw, and some rope (to make sure the top fell where we wanted it to) and a bit of luck.

We cut off the top of the tree leaving about 8 feet of the trunk so we could pull it out later. This left us with a bunch of large tree branches that we now had to deal with.  Enter, NYC and its new organics recycling program.  Thanks to the new program, we were able to cut up the branches and separate them into tied bundles and then set them out on the curb (a few at a time) to be picked up by the city.  We also received two new brown bins where we could put all our garden clippings, leaves and sticks for the program to recycle.  Brilliant.

Oh and in case you were wondering, you can’t burn fir tree wood in your fireplace because it has too high a moisture content.  If you were cutting down a tree whose wood you could burn, you would have to let it dry out for a significant period of time before you could burn it in a fireplace.  You cannot burn wood in a fire pit in your backyard–despite what our neighbor says.

Now, for the trunk.  One day, our other neighbor had gardeners in her yard so we asked them how much to remove the trunk and roots.  He told us $300 not including taking the stump away.  That was not in our budget.  In our previous apartment, we had watched a tree stump being removed and they used a large truck and some chains.  We could not use this method because our backyard butts up to private property all around.  Because we are cheap and always up for a challenge, we purchased a 2 ton cable winch from Harbor Freight for 20 bucks and some chain. The winch works by attaching a chain around the stump and another around a solid object (in this case our other much larger tree) then you crack away on the winch and watch it pull the tree down.

IMG_4747 We had to tighten up the chains several times (as the winch only provides about 6 feet of cable) and dig around the root system a bunch but we got the tree down.

pulling_tree_downAfter the tree was down we cut up the trunk with the chainsaw and wrapped the chains around he stump and cranked more until all of the roots were out.

pulling_stump_outIn the end we had just this big hole in the ground but no worries because the contractor left us a giant mound of dirt when the extension was created.

IMG_4760 Afterwards, there was some more digging and cutting with an axe to get out the roots out but we are now stump-free.

 

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