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Total Demolition: Bringing a Brownstone Back From the Brink

After a decade working for New York City firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Brent Allen Buck was ready for a change of pace. In 2015, Buck struck out on his own to launch Buck Projects, headquartered in the Brooklyn brownstone he renovated on nights and weekends over the course of two years. That home, whose renovation process Buck will outline in the first ever Renovation Diary series for Curbed, serves as his home base and design laboratory, as well as a backdrop to a complete set of teak pepper mills by Danish modernist Jens Quistgaard. Follow along as Buck details the highs, lows, joys, and travails of home renovation.

Surrounded by a thicket of overgrown vines and within arm's reach of a dead bird, I shattered a champagne bottle over the backyard steps, christening our new house after closing in June of 2013. It was now official. My wife and I were excited, but a little staggered as it settled in that we were really the owners of the house, bird and all. It was the largest purchase we had ever made, the biggest risk we had ever taken. We wondered what surprises we would find behind the walls, since it's what you can't see that causes the most trouble. Having spent hours inside the house before closing, and more hours discussing process, sequence, and cost, we felt we had reasonable expectations.

Warning: destructoporn ahead >>