House of the Day: 386 State Street

Holy Fried Green Tomatoes! A certain actress (hint: not Kathy Bates) has decided to bail on the Boerum Hill townhouse she picked up only last year. What the 12.5-footer lacks in width it makes up for in exposed wood beams and marble fireplaces. The asking price of $1,465,000 looks low on an absolute basis for the neighborhood but when you consider the four-story house is only 1,680 square feet, they’re hardly giving it away. Especially when last year’s market-clearing price was $1,275,000. It also looks to us like the house is completely devoid of its crown moldings. Mon dieu!
386 State Street [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark

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  • Not for the claustrophobic.

  • Why are the windows not aligned? How did this place look originally?

  • It’s adorable. Actors are never at home anyway. It’s so much more refreshing she bought this place than what those awful tacky L.A. stars choose, who buy hideous, new-construction 20-bedroom stucco compounds, waste untold resources cooling and heating the empty houses, and never live there.

  • The windows are aligned, 1:26, the photo shows two houses: the one for sale is the one on the left, with the below-grade entrance.

    This is a gorgeous little house, small but bright and elegant (we actually put a bid in on it last year, but lost out to MSM), although from the photos i can’t say the current owners improved it. I can’t believe they’ll get the current ask – but then again, we didn;t think it was worth 1.3 less than a year ago.

  • Is it Cicely Tyson?

  • Given it’s a Corcoran listing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they claimed Jessica Tandy was the buyer.

  • Tiny little house with a huge price.

  • So there’s no yard?

    House depth 35′.
    Lot depth 43″.

  • We had looked at it last year as well. Very cute, but very tiny.

  • It has a deck the size of a pool table.

  • Read the clues for the actress’s identity – first line of brownstoner’s post, referall to “MSM” in another…

    Cute actress, cute house.

  • Mary Stuart Masterson!!!

    I had NO IDEA she lived in Brooklyn.

    Had I known…

  • Meryl Streep’s Mother?

  • We looked at this last year too–not only is it super skinny, but it feels smaller due to the height of the ceilings–kitchen ceiling soooo low, and the ceilings of the top floor were too low to allow my husband to go up there. You feel a little like alice in wonderland–just a little oversized for the house…

  • If I was a movie star and ended up living in that house, I’d fire my agent.

  • 12.5 feet. Breathe in. Isn’t this downtown Brooklyn? Or does “living who I am in Brooklyn” require ceding my brain to broker-ese?

  • We lived in a house of these proportions once in London and it was adorable, a doll’s house. I loved it, and my kids were tiny at the time so it worked, but we were renters and stayed under two years. Still, there’s something to be said for cute houses.

  • I wonder if MSM keeps Kathy Bates stashed inside that blue garage next door…? Haven’t seen her around lately.

  • Jerri, I was thinking the exact same thing!!

    But I think it might be Kathy keeping James Caan stashed away in a case of life imitating art.

  • This is a nice little doll’s house for a couple with a modest income or for a single parent, but since it is in brooklyn, the price tag is obscene. Just obscene.
    1.4 million for a skinny mini playhouse that you enter below grade, into the kitchen. It has just one full bath. The front facade has been mucked up, the parlor floor windows are misaligned leaving a blank expanse of wall to the side. It’s just inconceivable that someone with the money to buy a 1.4 million dollar property would buy something so modest-seeming,so unimpressive.

  • sam, it may be obscene, but I don’t think it’s totally out of the range of what other similar places would be priced. For better or worse (better if you bought 5 or more years ago), people are paying that much and more for modest-seeming, unimpressive places. I’m not saying it’s right, but I think it’s still the truth. It may come down in price, but I don’t think the drop will be significant.

  • Isn’t there still one of those teeny-tiny places on that private walking street in cobble hill being listed? Is it warren place? I think it was listed under 1 mill, much cuter if you want cute tiny house, and should be had for less since it’s been on the market for so long.

  • Has anyone else noticed that the editorial standards of this site have lowered dramatically? This really isn’t a serious real estate blog or even a serious Brooklyn blog anymore. What gives?

  • Biff, there is now way someone will buy this house for 1.4 million in today’s market. The days of easy credit are over.

  • I’m with Slick. Not even crown moldings!

  • I think its all very Freudian to be so focused on width. It seems like a nice house with plenty of space for a small family. Certainly wide enough to have a nice living arrangement. 13 feet wide is about the width of many brownstone living rooms too – you just don’t have the hallways here. Of course its nice to have more space but there seems to be a lot of positives to this home to offset its width.

    I had no clue MSM lived in Bklyn!

  • Sam you could be right. It would definitely have a better chance in prime PS or BH, where there’s no doubt it would go for close to ask. What do you think it’ll go for.

  • So what, exactly, justifies the $125k price increase from last year? Was any work done? (Doesn’t sound like it.) Is the market heading up? (Umm, nope.) Simple movie-star cachet? (I’ll pass.)

    Plus, if she’s selling after a year, she clearly wants out of the place. Can you say “motivated seller?”

    I’d pay $1.15M

  • Biff, I think it will not sell.
    It may end up being rented.

  • “I think its all very Freudian to be so focused on width.”

    Ha! Good one, Mrs. Limestone. So true. It’s just that suburban sensibility and taste around here again that dictates everything must be oversized and large.

  • Sam, interesting. I guess it depends what the seller is willing to get rid of it for before deciding to rent it.

  • According to Acris, this place sold for $755,000 in 2003, then $1,275,000 in 2007. The run up in BK prices over the last five years never ceases to amaze me.

  • you morons with nothing to do should keep your moronic opinions to yourselves,you have no idea about the value of property and most of you live in a one bedroom apt and will never own a house.

  • Re: 3:40 PM …

    Is that you, Mary?

  • Well, if recent published data is true regarding the decline in “values”, anything bought in 2007 should be priced lower, right? 15% lower than the purchase price in 2007 would be $1,083,000.

    Given where the market is headed, she might be advised to take a loss and move on.

  • Your logic is a little faulty, Kuroko.

    Every home in the United States will not decline. Nor will they all decline the same amount. Many areas, in fact will not see declines at all most likely. Charlotte, North Carolina has seen a steady price appreciation even despite the credit turmoil.

    To say every property should be priced lower than in 2007 is simply asinine. Sorry, but it is.

    I don’t think Mary Stuart Masterson needs to take advice on how to price her home from a “person” named Kuroko on

  • I don’t think Kuroko needs to take advice from a “person” named jerri blank on

  • Why is it asinine?

    I’m not saying that because they are declining in Ohio that this house should. I’m saying that recently published data, from industry sources, say that BROOKLYN TOWNHOUSES, have taken a dive.

    State Street isn’t prime anything (Boerum Hill or Downtown), and this house is tiny and has lots of interior exterior issues. It’s not a piece of prime real estate. Period. Full Stop.

    So, in my mind, MSM bought at the peek of it’s value. I think it’s more asinine to expect that it has risen in value than to think it has fallen.

  • Hope that Watts gets her price–she was hot in Some Kind of Wonderful.

  • I think it is asinine to think that this inelegant, stoopless, little house with a front door in the basement, is going to sell for 1.4 million dollars. I agree with the comment that if I were a movie star living here, I would get a new agent.

  • oh..and Mrs. Limestone…

    In all things real estate (and Freudian Slips) size matters.

  • kuroko is right i think mr blank – and im pretty sure charlotte isnt going up anymore buddy-o-pal

  • yes, the windows are misaligned. Otherwise how do you explain that empty space of brick wall to the right of the parlor window. The facade is messed up.

  • i don’t want a brownstone or to live in this neighborhood, but I think the place is pretty nice.

  • Well we’ll just have to wait and see what the house sells for then, won’t we.

    I know you’ve been outraged at other prices on here Kuroko and have been wrong before.

    But I’m happy to take one for the team also, if this ends up going your way and I’m wrong.

    And no…I didn’t mean it like that.


    I did.

  • I looked at the house in 2002, when it was priced at about 725k (from Corcoran). I remember thinking it was too small/narrow for the money. Hilarious to think about now. Back then, there were quite a few houses in Boerum Hill priced under a million, while the big houses on Dean were in the 1.3 range.

  • is it mary louise parker?

    And I pass by this house every day. Its on a nice block, definitely not prime Boerum Hill, but decent location, now even better because the homeless shelter around the corner is “gone daddy gone.”

    But no yard! I can’t justify that price. but I’m sure someone else will.

  • I think it’s better to think of this as an apartment alternative, rather than comparing it to other homes. In that sense, the price is pretty decent – apartments this size tend to go for much more than this.

  • Not to beat a dead horse, but I cannot wrap my brain around the comment that this could be seen as an alternative to an apartment.
    In what universe? Apartments, nice ones, ones that cost 1.4 million, have nice layouts, you can go from the bedroom to the bathroom without having to climb a flight of stairs. You can go from your front door to your bedroom without having to climb three flights of stairs. Plus nice apartments have services such as a doorman, a live-in superintendent, porters to help you with packages etc. This is a house, a narrow, dinky, lower-middle-class, house. No way that I could see it as an alternative to an equally priced apartment.

  • I’m sorry but I don’t agree at all, Sam.

    I believe you are out of touch with Manhattan prices.

    Here is a 920 square foot 1 bedroom/2 bath on the Upper East Side listed for 1.49 million.

    I’d rather have a house any day of the week. Even this one.

    Take a look at listings in Manhattan for 1.4 million. I just pulled up 7 pages worth of mostly 1000-1400 sf 2 bedrooms in less than ideal Manhattan locales. 64th and 3rd??? No thanks.

    Again…I’d rather have a house and a yard.

  • While some people might prefer an apartment, I really believe most prefer a house. Otherwise, why don’t they predominantly build apartments rather than homes in suburbs? And not all expensive apartments, particularly in Brooklyn, have doormen, live in supers, porters, and various other amenities.

  • I saw this house last year – weird layout because you walk right into the tiny kitchen without any kind of place to put your coat etc. She did redecorate and put in those built-ins in the “media room” which makes the house more practical – before the dining room was there, on a separate floor from kitchen. Plus this is the street with all the new beautiful state st. townhouses, with many more to come btw bond and nevins which will improve the area. Nevertheless, house will not fetch this much. If it did I’d be happy, but can’t imagine it happening.

  • Further, some people would put up with stairs when it means not having to deal with noisy neighbors above and below, co-op boards to run every little renovation by, etc. And these taxes ($2,500 a year!) are a fraction of what one would pay in a similar sized co-op/condo (notwithstanding abatements).

  • What do apartment prices in Manhattan have to do with anything? And WTF is this Jerri/Biff thing going on here? They seem awfully at-the-ready with data and bullish propaganda. Methinks I smellz a…

  • Its such a suburban attitude, that any house no matter how mean, is better than living in an apartment. In terms of quality of life, I think this house offers very little for the price. I’m sure you can also find a ridiculously over priced apartment in some dump somewhere that is equally reidiculous. but for 1.4 million you can still find a nice apartment in Brooklyn, nobody said anything about manhattan.

  • 5:50…

    You don’t think Manhattan prices are at all related to Brooklyn home prices?

    Where exactly have you been?

    You do realize that almost every person who has bought a house in Brooklyn over the past few decades have come from Manhattan, right???

    The typical Brooklyn home buyer is a former Manhattanite who owned a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment and traded up.

    If you don’t think the two are related, you are even more ignorant than I thought. As if your “Methinks I smellz a” didn’t already tip me off…

  • i saw this place at an open house the last time it was on the market. in addition to being skinny, the ceilings on the top floor are incredibly low. when i looked up, the brim of my cap touched the ceiling. but it is a nicely-finished, cute house that makes the most of its minimal space.

  • The prestige these days in Brooklyn is in owning a house no matter what its size. In Manhattan too, which is why those who can’t spend $7 million minimum for a house in Manhattan when they want more space, come to Brooklyn.

  • I fit into exactly into the description Jerri gave. I came from a co-op in Manhattan because I wanted more space and to give up apartment living. I’m not saying any house is better than any comparably-sized apartment, but, all else being equal, I still think people would prefer their own home. And I do think that whatever this sells for will be at least as much as what an apartment of equal size in the area would fetch.

  • I bet you a million dollars if you go to the open house, the majority of real buyers are brooklyn residents. Comparing a 1.4mm apartment to this house is the apples to apples thing. C’mon!

    And almost EVERY person who has bought a house has been from Manhattan. Total bullshit. Are these people realtors?

  • Don’t know where you live, 6:14 but in PLG the majority of the new homeowners we’ve met came from Manhattan.

  • Well…You don’t think the actress that bought the place was a Manhattan resident before she bought it?? I do.

    Let’s say more than half of the homes bought in Brooklyn for over a million dollars are bought by Manhattan residents then.

    Does that make you happier?

  • It’s all about the trade-offs. When I lived in a brownstone coop (read no services, and you work, hard, to maintain the building), I hated dealing with my neighbors on the board, the noise from upstairs and down, yuck. Owning a house would have been a much better choice. But I didn’t choose that (though I could have gotten a house for the price of my 3-bdrm coop) because, at the time, I had neither the time nor the money for the renovations the houses needed, and I wanted (needed) to share the costs of taxes, heat, and building maintenance in a coop.

    Now that I sold and am renting an even larger apartment in a large full-service building, on the top floor with noise above me, and very little from below, I’m happy as a clam. The only drawback, as far as I can see, is that I may not be able to stay forever, unless I can afford to buy it if the owner of my apartment decides to sell. And that I’m not earning a bunch of equity like I did on my coop – but that’s OK for now, as I can rent this place for far, far cheaper than I could own it, even with a really hefty (like 50%) downpayment. And I’ve no coop board responsibilities! Yeah!

    Sure, I’m used to the convenience of having it all on one floor, having lived in aparments all of my adult life. But I’m sure if I wanted to buy a house, I’d get used to the stairs. It all depend on what works for you at a given point in time.

  • 6:27, nice post and I wish you lots of happiness in your place. If I were to go back to apartment living, I think at this point I would really try my hardest to get the top floor as no noise above can be priceles, having lived with some very loud surrounding neighbors. It’s dead quite for me now and I actually hear birds singing when I wake up and nothing else (and am still so close to Manhattan).

  • Thanks for the cue, I just responded.

  • Oops, dead “quiet”, that is…

  • rediculous but not impossible – she was foolish enough to pay too much so there may be someone out there who’s at least equally as silly.

  • I would love to see some data to back up the claim that “almost every person who has bought a house in Brooklyn over the past few decades have [sic] come from Manhattan” or “more than half of the homes bought in Brooklyn for over a million dollars are bought by Manhattan residents.” I just don’t see it. Sure, there are lots of Manhattan transplants – but over half? This data is readily available from the city. Would make a great research project if you had a spare intern.

    I agree with this part of your statement, though: “The typical Brooklyn home buyer is [SOMEONE] who owned a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment and traded up.” Just not a “former Manhattanite” as you wrote, but a Brooklynite. Most of my homeowner neighbors traded up from Brooklyn apartments.

  • 7:05 – you are right. I rented in Brooklyn before I bought there.

  • i’m a former brownstone and house owner who went to a condo for the layout – 2 floors – living on one and bedrooms on the other. having 1000 sq ft of just living space is easier and more convenient. i also love having my condo neighbors. it depends on the person. not everyone is dying for vertical living. it’s a pain. especially if living room and dining are on a different floor. also, not having to be entirely responsible for weekly garbage and cleaning and all the repairs is really nice.

    oh, and central air!

  • I rent- but my bedroom overlooks the backyard- renters get to hear the birds singing too.The whole house/apartment/renter/owner arguments are just silly- everyone’s tastes are different, and their needs are different. Owning a house doesn’t mean you’re better than a renter, apartment living is not lesser than living in a house- it’s simply different.

  • A silly thread.
    Jeri blank seems like a real know-it-all.
    I think this house could be nice but it needs a lot of work. the block is not the best. it is very overpriced but who knows? there may be that manhattite out there who just sold their million dollar apartment and who has always been itching to live in a tiny house on State and Bond. But I doubt it.

  • Hey didn’t everyone hear? now is charge of the real estate market. It is filled with credible and informative individuals which is why Jonathon pays them to make comments in addition to being paid for it himself. Such individuals like THE WHAT, Biff, Limestoner, Brenda, Bob Marvin, etc,etc,etc,etc,etc are noted economists, real estate professionals, appraiser’s, mortgage consultant’s and the like. They help (like The Fed) keep the pace of pricing realistic and fair. It’s a daunting job. The pay is extraordinary and their insight and experience in incomparable. I for one would like to thank them all and of course jonathon for the amazing education they have provided throughout this economic downturn. that they are wrong, sorry for those of you including stupid inferior real estate professionals who have held them in such esteem. I think the war has just ended. See ya buh bye, auf weidersehn, au revoir. BROWNSTOWN = ASSHOLES.

  • 3:40 is that you Michael the broker?

  • Here’s the data, 7:05.

    Someone who sells a 1BR or 2BR apartment in Brooklyn gets about $600K to $900K for it depending on the neighborhood.

    Somebody selling a 1BR or 2BR apartment in Manhattan gets TWICE that.

    Okay so which one is more qualified to buy a house priced $1.5 million on up?

  • “Owning a house doesn’t mean you’re better than a renter, apartment living is not lesser than living in a house- it’s simply different.”

    Absolutely. Definitely true. But for those who do pay attention to prestige (as we know there are plenty in NYC both in Manhattan and Brooklyn) the thing for them is now to have a house, with more than two children, and all the new upscale lifestyle stuff. Whether we relate to them or not, their desires certainly do drive the house market.

  • This house is totally overpriced, small, and ugly as sin. This just goes to show that many actors are totally clueless.