Brownstone town homes have been around since the 19th century and are widely known across Brooklyn & Upper Manhattan.
What is Brownstone & Where did it come from?
Brownstone is a soft & close-grained sandstone or freestone (aka a stone that can be cut easily in any direction in a fine uniform texture). When the stone is first cut the color appears to be pink but because of the presence of hematite iron ore the color weathers and changes into an even rich brown. Hematite is a reddish-black mineral consisting of ferric oxide and it is an important ore of iron.
Most of the brownstone that was used in the 19th century was imported from the Portland, CT area on Connecticut River or near Little Falls, New Jersey around the Passaic River. The stone was cut over there, put on a boat going to New York and unloaded by the Hudson or East River where there was stone storage yards.
What is Brownstone Used For?
The material was first used to simply front townhouses which were constructed using cheap bricks. It was considerably less costly than the popular choices such as, limestone, marble, and granite. It was also easy to draw out from large & deep pits. It also lent itself to pretty straightforward carving. The industrial revolution played a massive role in the productivity of cutting brownstone more efficiently. The invention of machinery that was steam-powered made it easier for workers to sculpt and trim brownstone more quickly and cheaply than ever before which made it affordable for middle class residences.
How Did Brownstone Become So Popular?
Brownstone became popular obtaining a reputation as being elegant and stylish because of the post-romantic era effect which brought out a preference for dark materials for buildings. It became the construction stone of choice all over the world, especially in large cities in industrialized nations. Europe also has its fair share of brownstones as does the U.S.
New York is especially connected with brownstone town homes. Brownstones are as prevalent as the city’s yellow cabs and sky high structures.
Nowadays everybody easily recognizes the Upper West Side by the many brownstone sightings it possesses.
Why Renovating Brownstones are Tough and How Muka Interiors Helps
Unsafe Materials Such As Lead and Asbestos
Perpetual Bad Renovation Done
Outdated Plumbing and Electrical
Old electrical wiring can be a safety hazard and will need to be brought up to the newest standard for you house to run efficiently. More often than not you may need to upgrade your whole electrical panel. If your power has ever been lost while having your hair dryer on, taking a shower, heating something up in the microwave you will know the true meaning of inconvenience and if it annoys you, you may want to upgrade your panel and buff it up to 200 amps.
Materials Used To Build Your Home No Longer Are Available
Brownstone homes were constructed with different building material than todays. Doors were more narrow than the standard size of 36 inches so that it is wheelchair accessible, bathtubs were smaller, even the rooms were smaller. It can be very tricky to find materials that match the aesthetic of your brownstone home. For example, for brownstone renovation you’ll need thin oak flooring & solid wood paneled doors which are completely different from today’s standard and common items used for homebuilding in 2018. You can try shopping at architectural salvage stores to get your hands in on the mix and matching of your brownstone home.
Always Remember The Rule Of Thumb When You Want To Start Renovating Your Brownstone: “Set aside a 15-20% contingency for unexpected problems or changes.”