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To follow last week’s look at an undone developer’s kitchen, today we’ve got a full house in Brooklyn that also started out as a generic developer flip. This 1100 sqft, wood-frame house in Gowanus was purchased last summer by JD & Meaghan, a young professional couple who bought the home with intentions to give it a custom renovation. Meaghan, who was also the project designer, commissioned her old colleague Kent Johnson, head of tS contracting firm Milktrout, to lead the project’s construction (that’s Kent pictured above). The Millktrout team began their work here last August and have been enthusiastic to share their progress as this project nears completion next month.

Here's a small taste of what the home looked like when JD & Meaghan purchased.

Here’s a small taste of what the main level looked like when JD & Meaghan purchased; the construction & finishes were cheap and banal. Kent told us that every aspect of the construction was done so poorly that the home hosted a variety of major problems. The pvc plumbing, for example, wasn’t even glued at the joints!


We stopped in on the 20th week (of approx 28 total) of the project’s construction, and here’s what we found upon entering through the sunny new vestibule. The 2-story house is narrow but has a lot of great ‘extras,’ including a backyard & basement, which the designer was able to take advantage of in the new layout –for example, she opened up the first floor completely by moving the bathroom to the basement.


The new design includes a lot of repeated architectural features like these floating shelves which are used here in the kitchen, as well as upstairs in the office and bathroom. The laminated plywood shelves are reinforced with steel brackets, so they’re extra sturdy. Kent told us that they are strong enough that “you could hang from them” –we took his word for it.


Kent also pointed out this column detail which was designed to be left unfinished (top left). New flooring throughout the 2 main levels is made of forest-salvaged butternut wood from Vermont (bottom left). The homeowners explained that with their 2 pitbulls in the house, they wanted a flooring material that would develop character with abuse; the new butternut floors are coated with tung oil which can also be used on scratches to darken and blend them into the floor’s overall character. At the back of the space, double doors lead us out to the backyard (right).


The team had just finished landscaping the back patio. We love the herringbone brick pattern & angular planting beds; Meaghan also designed terracing at the back of the yard that can be used as extra seating during a party. Next, a new perimeter fence will be built out of untreated hemlock.


Hemlock will also be used for a new stairway leading from the house, and this blank rear facade will be clad with reclaimed, corrugated metal.


On the left is the reclaimed metal siding which will go up untreated on the rear facade. The front facade will be sided with carbonized (scorched) hemlock. The burning treatment gives the wood a satiny sheen and makes it resistent to weather, fire, & pests. Plus, it looks cool!


Back inside, Kent showed us more of the new materials. Here’s a sample of the slate tile that will be used for the floor and along the side of the tub in the upstairs bathroom.

We are so excited to come back to see how the project finished up.

We’ll be back soon to see this project finished up –and we can’t wait! Many thanks to Meaghan, JD & the talented Milktrout team.

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Posted by: Shera Categories: Construction, On Site, Site Visit 4


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