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Behind the Scenes of a Liberty Tower Apartment Makeover

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Apartment #17A at 55 Liberty Street's Liberty Tower, a 700-square-foot 1BR, 1BA, is on the market for a modest-seeming $630,000. The listing?which last sold for $422,000 in 2008?didn't really snag our attention, but we love a good set of before-and-after pics. (Have you recently renovated? Tell us about it!) One of the owners of 55 Liberty's #17A sent in the above photos, and a description of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the project:

During the Summer 2008 while planning our wedding, my wife and I decided to complicate things by trying to buy our first home?.When I came upon a large fixer-upper studio space in the landmark Liberty Tower it was love at first site. It had great "bones". The hi-ceilings, thick walls, huge windows, and crips light from multiple exposures served as an ideal shell. It was an ideal space to renovate. We were awed by the building too. Once the tallest building in the world (for one day), the grand marble entry, terra cotta tiles and gargoyles make Liberty Tower? a landmark skyscraper.

However, it needed everything. The floors were unfinished concrete, the bathroom and kitchen were rundown, and the electric and plumbing hadn't been touched in 40 years. The 700 square foot space was practically gutted, which meant we could design it to fit our tastes. It was perfect?. The first thing we did was rip out a row of old radiators and panels lining the 30 foot eastern wall - which gave us an extra 50 square feet - and installed low-profile radiators. We put in all new plumbing and electric. We covered the concrete with solid cherry wide plank floors and added about 100 gallons of plaster to smooth all the walls and corners. We put in 8 foot doors and california closets to maximize the space. Custom oak kitchen cabinets and stainless steel appliances made it feel brand new. In keeping with the classic stone hallways in the building, we put in carrara marble countertops in kitchen, window sills and bathroom tiles. The goal was to keep the apartment feeling elegant and time-honored, but also new and sleek.

Along the way, a lot of blood, sweat and tears were shed?literally. The first glass shower panel exploded and shattered to pieces when I carried it into the bathroom leaving me with tiny scars across my forearms. A week after we put down the floors, a small leak seeped into a corner of the closet and buckled half the space, requiring us to redo most of it. But, we persevered and after four months of construction we moved in on Halloween 2008?.Overall we spent about $120,000 on the entire renovation.

· 55 Liberty Street #17A [StreetEasy]
· 55 Liberty Street coverage [Curbed]