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Fix This House

Getting it done, from top (roofer) to bottom (exterminator).


Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Woodwork Repair

  • Traditional Line

    212-627-3555

    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).

  • Chimney Service

  • Homestead Chimney

    908-735-7708

    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.)


  • Stone Repair

  • Hoffman Brothers

    516-795-6125

    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

    718-768-3600

    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.

  • Plasterer

  • Frank J. Mangione, Inc.

    845-247-9248

    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.

  • Floor Repairs

  • Janos P. Spitzer Flooring

    212-627-1818

    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.

  • Painter

  • Roth Painting Co.

    212-883-0800

    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.

  • Tub Reglazer

  • Custom Spraying and Reglazing

    718-556-5996

    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.

  • Window Service

  • Fifty Three Restorations

    212-566-1053

    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.

  • Exterminator

  • Assured Environments

    212-480-5800

    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.

From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

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