- Traditional Line
Jim Boorstein’s firm has expertly restored woodwork from the Dakota to Gracie Mansion, plus some 200 brownstones, for owners seeking that elusive burnished glow. His team will bring your stairs and doors back to their Gilded Age luster, at appropriately Gilded Age rates: Prices run from $30,000 into the stratosphere (multimillions).
- Homestead Chimney
David Bowlby heads a crackerjack team of chimney technicians—that is, chimney sweeps trained to do masonry repairs. If cleaning, or lining, or damper installation seems steep, remember that the fireplace is half the reason you bought the house. (A cleaning is $195; full restoration is about $5,000.)
- Hoffman Brothers
Like their great-grandfather who worked on St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Hoffmans have spent decades learning to work with stone, terra-cotta, and tile. Marty, Vincent, and James will ensure that your slate floors have perfect book-matched seams, lift stains from counters, and restore even the most rococo fireplace ($2,500 to $10,000).
Façade Work and Roofing
- Preserv Building Restoration Management
Owner Carl Culbreth—an ex–Parsons professor whose aesthetic is more fine-tuned than most of his clients’—has rehabbed some 200 townhouses. A brownstone façade will run about $125,000, for ten to twelve weeks of cutting the stone back until it’s sound, reinforcing it with steel pins, and resurfacing it with a mix of sand, cement, and pigment.
- Frank J. Mangione, Inc.
Henry Mangione, a third-generation plasterer, isn’t above replacing ruined ornament with good prefab replicas. But his specialty is molding in situ, the old way, for a seamless result.
- Janos P. Spitzer Flooring
Whether you’re doing a full replacement or restoring original wide planks, Janos Spitzer is almost universally said to be the go-to guy for ballroom-quality work. (Sample clients: Bill Cosby, Joan Crawford, George Bush the elder.) After the free estimate, nothing comes cheap—laying new floors runs $25 to $50 a square foot, versus about $5 for sanding and refinishing alone—but every cent shows up in the gleaming result.
- Roth Painting Co.
For a porcelain-smooth job, turn to Gordon Roth’s union shop of 50 guys, all graduates of rigorous apprenticeships. In business since 1944, the firm has painted interiors and exteriors from Gracie Mansion to the Louis Vuitton store.
- Custom Spraying and Reglazing
For $310, James White will acid-wash, sand, and coat your beat-up tub with a glassy acrylic-urethane, and back his work up with a two-year warranty. In twenty years, he’s brought fixtures back to life for Candice Bergen, Faye Dunaway, and the Waldorf-Astoria.
- Fifty Three Restorations
In business for 25 years, Vince Lepre and his team of craftsmen have rejuvenated windows for palaces like the Frick and the Cloisters. His specialty—sadly, almost extinct these days—is repairing and restoring old sashes rather than calling for flat-out replacement.
- Assured Environments
Assured has been keeping crawlies (both buggy and furry) out of the Gold Coast’s best addresses for 70 years. For $60 to $100 a month, the company will draw up a strategy tailored to your needs and eliminate vermin with a process of inspection and targeted baiting that keeps the chemicals to a minimum.
Fix This House
Getting it done, from top (roofer) to bottom (exterminator).
From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).