5 ways to care for your renovated home

As your home renovation draws to a close, you may experience feelings of relief and joy at the transformation from the old to the new. Decisions on materials turned out to be good choices, and daily life is now blending and flowing around your new space. The question: How to keep it all looking great for years to come? Here are five ways to care for your new home.

1. Consult manufacturers’ manuals for appliance care

An obvious first step that many homeowners skip. Most appliance manufacturers have a place on their webpage dedicated to manuals or product service and support. A model number will lead you to literature on cleaning and maintenance. Often, a simple Google search is enough. For example, a stainless wine refrigerator requires little attention except for periodically washing off fingerprints. This can be done with water and mild dish soap, then polished with a microfiber cloth dipped in mineral, cooking or olive oil. Note: Clean and polish with the grain. Look closely! Steel has grain just like wood. Here are extra tips:

*Speak with your contractor about how to maintain your equipment.

*Register major appliances with the manufacturer through their website.

*Make sure you know the location of the model numbers for future reference.

2. Safeguard your kitchen countertops

You probably reviewed pros and cons of different materials before you made your final decision of kitchen countertops. Ready to start cooking? Here’s a refresh!

*Quartz countertops, such as Caesarstone, are durable, non-porous and do not need to be annually resealed, but acidic foods or juices can erode the acrylic. This material is also more likely to be damaged by excessive heat than granite, crushed glass or concrete. Treat yourself to trivets.

*Porous natural stones, such as granite and marble, may need to be resealed periodically and are susceptible to stains from oils and acids. Don’t let spilled liquids sit on your stone countertops. Spill? Swipe!

*For laminate or solid-surfacing countertops, cutting boards are mandatory because both of these materials are easily scratched.

3. Tend to your tiles

Bathroom tiles get hazy with soapy residue, while kitchen backsplashes get splattered with oil, and floor tiles experience both! Regular cleaning will prevent the need to muscle through buildup, so break out a mild all-purpose cleaner and some basic cleaning equipment.

*For kitchen backsplash tiles, mix dish liquid with water and rub away the oily residue with a sponge or gentle cloth. White vinegar mixed with warm water is another option. A mild all-purpose cleaner will clean up bath tiles nicely. Mix the solution with water and wipe with a rag, a soft brush or sponge.

*Sweep or vacuum floor tiles of any debris and grit on a regular basis to avoid dulling or scratching the surface. After clearing away large particles, use a mop and bucket with mild soap or detergent and warm water. If you wind up with a hazy film, consider switching up your mop material (sponge to chamois, for example) and/or wipe away the film with a fresh cloth and an all-purpose cleaner.

*Where there is tile, there is grout. To care for your grout, use gentle brushes to scrub it clean. And if your regular tile cleaning routine is not doing the trick on your grout, try a paste of baking soda and water, a mild bleach solution or store-bought grout cleaner. Remember to reseal it periodically.

4. Work with your wood

Refinished or brand new hardwoods can be beautiful foundations for your home. If you are the type of family that takes off your shoes before entering the home, you are off to a great start! Even if not, caring for your floors can be easy with a few simple guidelines.

*Begin with indoor and outdoor welcome mats. Mats placed before and after the threshold of your door are an important first step in maintaining scratch- and stain-free floors even in the winter.

*Area rugs cut down on regular wear and tear of the floors in the areas where they are positioned.

*Little felt stickers (available at any hardware store) do a good job protecting your floors from furniture-driven scratches.

Here are a few rules of thumb when cleaning your floors:

*Sweep or vacuum debris on a regular basis

*Mop with water and a gentle soap and never leave water or other liquids sitting on your hardwoods. Water can eventually penetrate the finish and leave stains in the wood. If you are not sure what cleaner to use on your floors, manufacturers of wood sealants often offer hardwood floor cleaners, such as Minwax® Hardwood Floor Cleaner.

5. Care for your cabinets

Although you likely will not be cleaning your kitchen or bathroom cabinets as often as higher-traffic surfaces (such as shower tiles and cooking countertops), don’t forget about them!  Knobs and pulls can harbor germs and cabinet doors can become grimy over time from moisture and oils in the air. Similarly to hardwood floors, wooden cabinets don’t do well with water or other liquids resting on their surface. Whether you clean your cabinets with soapy water, white vinegar water or mild all-purpose cleaner, remember these vital last steps: wipe away cleaner residue with a wet cloth and dry your cabinets with a towel.

Prewar Is So Last Year

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Capital Craftsmen Renovation – 1105 Park Avenue – Modernized prewar

Prewar charm in New York City is defined by original details like crown moldings, built-in bookshelves, coffered ceilings and fireplaces, some more decorative than others. But driven by design trends and the need for more space, some apartment buyers are doing what some would consider unthinkable: tearing out traditional finishes.

A prewar specializing broker has said many East Side buyers find prewars a bargain, as they can cost up to 20 percent less than older condos and up to 50 percent less than new condo conversions west of Lexington Avenue with their monthly maintenance is also “notably lower.”

Millenials come into a space and want to make it their own with the aim of keeping everything as light and bright as possible, will typically rip out window casements, tall baseboards, worn hardwood flooring and the “thick, chunky molding” surrounding the doors. Clean lines being key. An apartment that doesn’t remind them of their parents or grandparents focusing on the aesthetics and functions of finishes. Moldings, particularly crown molding is out. The feeling is, crown molding closes the space and in most small NYC apartments, you want as much as a visually open space as you can have. Baseboards are becoming flatter, more modern and linear, which draws the eyes to look up rather than being drawn downward.

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1105 Park Avenue – before

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1105 Park Avenue – after

Fireplaces, often a showstopper in prewar apartments, are also looking more streamlined these days, thanks to the replacement of bulkier old surrounds with sleek new Carrara marble or granite, creating a simpler design making the overall space more important as opposed to an intricate millwork design or mantel.

Locations of prewar co-ops are prime for buyers; near Central Park, on Park Ave, Fifth Ave, but these buyers also want the finishes of your higher-end new development condos. Finding that rare prewar co-op on Fifth or Park, which is renovated to those standards, is like discovering gold at the end of the rainbow.

Renovating in NYC; How to save

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1. Hire an interior designer

It may sound counter-intuitive to spend money to save money, but  an interior designer/decorator can help create a look for you that is beautiful but will not break the bank. A design professional can also prevent you from making the very common mistake of buying materials and fixtures without understanding the potentially budget-busting installation costs.

Many a situation occurs where a prospective client has purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of fixtures, tiles, and lighting and has extremely specific design specs that need to be executed with serious precision. But when presented with the labor costs for the plumber, tile contractor, electrician, plasterer, the potential client was shocked. Always consult a designer or contractor before buying materials.

2. Get prices from at least three contractors

Beware of the building super’s recommended contractor. Just about all superintendents get some kind of kickback or gift from contractors. The recommended contractor is sometimes just the guy who tips big. He will ultimately pass these costs on to you.  Be sure to get comparable bids from other renovators including the one your super wants you to use.

That said, understand that hiring a contractor who gets along well with your super can be priceless in terms of saving you time and aggravation.

3. Ask your chosen contractor for advice

Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor for recommendations on how to cut costs and still get the end results you desire. For instance, most prewar buildings have masonry walls. When updating the electrical, if you allow the contractor to build out the walls by one inch so he can run electrical wiring, this will cost less than the labor involved in repairing masonry walls.

4. Stick to the scope

Remember that the five most expensive words in any renovation are “While you’re at it….” Be crystal clear about the scope of work and try not to create changes in the middle of a renovation. Change orders dramatically increase the cost of any renovation. Stick to the scope and you have a much better chance of staying within your budget and schedule.

$50M Time Warner Center penthouse sells at an $11M loss

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One of New York City’s most expensive apartments is no longer: the penthouse atop the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at the Time Warner Center is officially off the market. And unsurprisingly, it sold at a loss—the apartment, listed for $50 million as recently as November, closed for $38.9 million. For those keeping track, that’s a 22 percent discount, punting it pretty far down the list of the city’s priciest homes.

Also not a shocker: the buyer is shielded by an anonymous LLC, with the oh-so-clever name of 80CC77B, INC. The seller was Red Cherry Worldwide Inc., which, as TRD notes, is linked to Zentek Technology founder Shozo Ohtani. It went through a series of price ups and downs over the year, listing first for $35.5 million in 2010; $42.5 million in 2012; and then $50 million in 2015.

As for the apartment itself, it’s a 4,825-square-foot corner unit, with “65 linear feet on Central Park and jetliner views from all rooms.” And since there are no listings photos, those stellar photos are the only thing we have to go by when judging the space—well, that, and the floorplans below.

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Capital Craftsmen has recently completed a 2-unit residence combination at the Mandarin Oriental with the same high rise panoramic views of Central Park and The Hudson River. 

Designing With Space in Mind

What You Need to Think About for Any Size Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home and as such we all want it to be a reflection of our personality—a space that is uniquely ours, one that is functional and beautiful in form. To that extent, before renovating your space, it is important to identify the layout of your kitchen. Is it a galley kitchen? A spacious, open format? A horseshoe? To some degree, the layout will dictate certain design details that you will want to add to make your kitchen more efficient—and, of course, more stylish.

No matter what kind of kitchen you have, it is important to identify its layout so you can effectively add design details to make the most of your space.

The Galley Kitchen

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Galley kitchens may traditionally be small, but they can pack a big style punch. It is essential that you plan out all the details of the design in order to ensure that you use the space you have to its maximum potential. To add more surface area, think about utilizing a kitchen cart—not only can it act as another kitchen cabinet but can be an additional spot to use when cooking.

Open Floor Plan Kitchen

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This is one of the most popular layouts for kitchens today. Usually marked by an island and an expansive eating area, an open floor plan gives you an opportunity to make a grand statement. The island itself is probably the most compelling design element in the space. Use it for wine storage in addition to pots and pans and other kitchen necessities. Functionality-wise, it is a great place to add a sink and even a microwave. Other stylish statements to consider are pendant lights—a good way to introduce your personal style.

The Pullman Kitchen

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The Pullman kitchen format is most commonly found in studios or lofts. Whereas galley kitchens have two walls of cabinets that run parallel to each other, the Pullman kitchen is characterized by one wall of cabinets (and occasionally base cabinets on another). Out of necessity, it is the ultimate space saver. Utility meets style when you add elements that are not only fashionable but also functional.

Horseshoe Layout

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Known also as a “U-shaped” space, the Horseshoe kitchen has three walls, allowing for a good amount of counter space and cabinetry. A side-by-side refrigerator both maximizes the space and increases functionality as most of today’s appliances come equipped with technologies that greatly enhance efficiency.