How to spruce up a Sheepshead Bay co-op with a peach-tiled bath and plain kitchen

featured this month on Brick Underground by Leah Hochbaum Rosner

image credit:  Brick Underground

image credit: Brick Underground

This Sheepshead Bay one bedroom, 2711 Ave., X, #6D is asking $225,000 and has a lot going for it, according to architect and Feng Shui expert Anjie Cho, including a “workable” floor plan, a private balcony, and decent-looking floors.

Still, there are lots of things that could be improved, such as the prodigiously peach bathroom, which she believes needs to be gutted immediately. “The wallpaper. That vanity. That gray tub. Oh my God,” she says.

She also hates the tiny, makeshift sunroom between the living room and terrace—which accounts for the second layer of windows visible behind the original windows—as well as two terrace doors. It takes precious square footage away from the terrace and makes the back wall in the living room look too busy. It’s also fairly shabby-looking, she says, noting the exposed wiring and “dingy” doors. “It’s the first thing you see when you walk in. It doesn’t make a very good impression.”

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The hellish kitchen in this Hell's Kitchen apartment needs a miraculous makeover

featured this month on Brick Underground by Leah Hochbaum Rosner

image credit:  Brick Underground

image credit: Brick Underground

Everything about this apartment “just looks so sad,” says Anjie Cho, an architect and feng  shui expert. 

The fixer-upper unit is a co-op in Hell’s Kitchen at 354 West 48th St.

Cho sums the place up thusly: “The flooring is sad. The paint colors are sad. The kitchen needs a complete makeover. The lighting is really bad.”   

Listed for just $350,000, apartment #2FE, a second-floor one bedroom, is eminently affordable. (Then again, it's a Housing Development Fund Corporation co-op, so there are income restrictions to keep in mind: $36,288 a year for one or two people and $42,336 for three people.) Another bonus for whoever does end up buying the place: the kitchen is big and has an eat-in area.

"It definitely has potential," Cho says.

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Choosing Quartz Composite Countertops

Choosing Quartz Composite Countertops.jpg

Quartz is one of my favorite healing crystals to use in feng shui and other holistic adjustments, but its usefulness doesn't stop at providing balance and amplifying nourishing energy . Actually, quartz is a great option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling, which are included in most renovation projects!

What is Quartz?

Quartz is actually one of the most abundant (the second most common) minerals found on Earth and dates back to ancient times. It was used for jewelry during China's Ming Dynasty and has been found in Aztec graves, also used as jewelry. This comes as no surprise, since quartz is a durable, useful and available substance. This durability and seemingly endless stock are primarily why quartz is such a great choice for renovation projects in kitchens and bathrooms. 

Quartz, which we use often in pure crystal form, is the hardest known non-gem material in the world and compares to diamonds and sapphires in strength. In fact, when renovations include granite countertops or other granite features, quartz is generally the reason these options are so durable. Typical granite consists of a mixed makeup of minerals, including about 20-35% quartz; however, it is possible to increase the percentage of quartz to 93% for optimum performance. This is what we call quartz composite surfacing. 

How is Quartz Used?

One typical feature of both kitchens and bathrooms is countertop. From sinks in bathrooms to prep space in kitchens, homeowners often choose to refurbish or replace the surfacing material for their countertops to keep up with modern trends or guarantee sturdy, long-lasting counters. This last feature is one of the most compelling reasons to opt for quartz surfacing material and is where we commonly see it used in homes. 

One of the most popular ways to use quartz in renovations is through the Breton method, which combines varieties of quartz and other aggregate materials with crushed mineral powders, binding resin and pigment to create a customizable, uniform, sturdy, slab of stone.

Why Choose Quartz Composites?

Aside from its durability and ready availability, quartz has plenty of perks that granite or stone countertops don't offer. Most notably, quartz is almost non-porous, which means that it resists staining and requires less upkeep than typical granite or stone options. Most stone counters are porous, which results in easy stains and means that the countertops need to be sealed, both initially and repeatedly throughout their lives. In contrast, quartz never needs to be sealed and is much harder to stain. 

Since it is one of the hardest minerals on the planet, quartz is also scratch resistant and heat scorch resistant. It also offers four to five times the flexural strength of stone, making it more likely to bend, less likely to break. All of these perks make quartz surfacing nearly maintenance free, and thanks to modern processes, it is available in a wide color palette to match any design scheme. Finally, quartz is naturally anti-bacterial as a non-porous surface, and adding additional anti-bacterial to the quartz surface composition is an option as well. 

Have you ever considered using quartz surfacing in your home renovations instead of stone countertops? I'd love to hear about your past or upcoming projects and how you choose your materials!

by Anjie Cho


Here's How to Bring This Kips Bay Co-Op Out of the 1960s - And Make The Most of Its Natural Light

featured this month on Brick Underground by Leah Hochbaum Rosner

The greatest thing this $879,000 Kips Bay one-bedroom at 300 East 33rd Street has going for it is an amenity you can't fake: natural light. “Those big windows are probably the best thing about this place,” says architect Anjie Cho, referring to the trio of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the condo building’s private garden. “It looks like it gets a lot of light.”

Yet while it’s bright and sun-drenched, the 1960s-era unit is being sold in as-is original condition, which means it could use a ton of work in order to whip it into shape. “The worst thing is probably that kitchen,” says Cho. “It’s so small. And when you look closer and see that there’s a column [that takes up a lot of room], it’s even smaller!”

Cho has a lot of ideas as to how to modernize this space. Below, her recommendations:

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Q&A Sunday: Quartz in the Refrigerator

Quartz in the Refrigerator.jpg

Quartz in the refrigerator is new to me. What is the benefit? Which one is the best: clear/rose/smokey/ritualised?

Rowena, 

Hi Rowena!

Thanks for your thoughtful question. We suggest clear quartz for locating in your refrigerator. The refrigerator holds food that nourishes you, and clear quartz can be used to amplify this nourishing energy. 

Be sure to clear the clear quartz and empower it with your intention that the food in the refrigerator is nourishing and creates vitality for you physically, mentally and spiritually. You can also use the feng shui bagua map on your refrigerator, and place the crystal in the center area which is related to overall health.

There are different ways to work with crystals, but I’d like to share a simple procedure to acquire, cleanse and activate the crystal. 

  • Acquire a new crystal that finds you. To me this means one that speaks to you. Go with first thought is best thought, and don’t over think it. It may be the one that you literally see first.
  • Cleanse the crystal. Again there are dozens of methods, but one simple one is to use sage, incense, palo santo or another smudging method to clear any energy.
  • Dedicate and activate the crystal with your intention. In this case we are creating the intention that the clear quartz will amplify and enhance the nourishment of the food in your refrigerator, to support your body and spirit. Be sure you’re in a positive and open healing place when this is done. You can do this while bathing the crystal in pure bright sunlight.

You can read more about working with crystals in "Love is in the Earth", one of the most comprehensive crystal reference books available.

Remember that the intention behind this adjustment is as important as the adjustment itself. Take the time to find a crystal that resonates with you, and imbue it with positive, supportive energy before placing it into your refrigerator. We would love to see which crystal you choose!

by Anjie Cho


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