Who: Elizabeth Perrin, Photographer
Where: Greenpoint, Brooklyn
What: Parlor Floor of an 1890′s Brownstone.
WC: How long have you lived in the space?
EP: It will be two years March 2011.
WC: What did it look like when you originally moved in?
EP: It was very bizarre. The man who lived here previously was a surgeon and one of two brother’s who lived in the old family home. He died and it was left more or less untouched for five years.
I had to go through all of his things and give the family what they wanted to hold onto and give the rest away or have it hauled to the dump. I did keep a few things, he had a deco alabaster lamp and really nice crystal glassware. There was wall to wall carpet in the living room and the dining room area that had been there since the 40′s, and drapes with old venetian blinds; I would have kept the blinds had they been operable. The paint was completely peeling and had to be scraped, patched and sanded. There were 3 layers of linoleum on the kitchen floor and in the former bedroom, which is now my office. It was like an archeological dig, because you could see the strata of time/style with each layer going back to the 20′s. The kitchen had a dropped ceiling and was a real eyesore. The apartment was basically left alone to fend for itself for the past 50 years. But, it was still a beautiful space in a great neighborhood and I was willing to do the work.
WC: So you did all this work yourself?
EP: I did a good portion of it myself but I hired people to help me tear down the dropped ceiling, plaster walls, move heavy objects, etc. My landlord had the electrical system redone which was a godsend because at that time it was antiquated and not safe. I personally spent a total of 6 months working 10 hour days on the place. It takes time and it was a major redo.
WC: Do you have any future plans you are working on for the interior?
EP: Yes, I need to replace the kitchen counter, paint the floor board I recently had installed and retouch the white floors where I scratched it moving the furniture back in after painting them initially.
I’d also like to make a garden in the front of the house and create a New Orleans style courtyard/place to sit outside.