House of the Day: 414 Vanderbilt Avenue

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This one’s gonna be a tough sell. This four-story brownstone at 414 Vanderbilt Avenue is unfortunately an example of the seller (and recent renovator) being out of touch with the market. Not on price (though that’s clearly too high) but in terms of aesthetics. Let’s face it, most people looking to drop $2,490,000 on a house in Fort Greene want some historic charm, or if they want modern, they want something truly modern (in a modernist sense). They don’t want a McMansion chic. And that, unfortunately, is what this place is. We foresee some big price reductions on this one.
414 Vanderbilt Avenue [Warren Lewis] GMAP P*Shark

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  • dope! that’s harsh brownstoner. I’m sure all that recessed lighting is like fingers on a chalkboard for you.

  • PS I think you’re overestimating the taste level of many brooklyn brownstone buyers. But of course, price is ridiculous at this point.

  • There must have been a recessed lighting sale somewhere!!! I’m sure it just what some people want. But, $2.49 MM in Ft. Greene????!!!!!

  • Mr. B we think you are spot on about the aesthetics ( Tony Soprano was consulted on this one) but to us the pricing is even more “out of touch”. We predict this one will need massive price cuts and still sit for a while. Nice facade and location but $2.5m in this market?? Kool Aid can do wonders to the mind…la folie extreme

  • Wow, taxes are $3,900 a year. You can’t beat that.
    Stoner, the interiors are fine. If you prefer more “historic detail” you can buy it by the linear foot, either in plaster or wood.
    I am not sure about that block though.
    Have any other houses sold for 2 million there?

  • sam…come on over to Bed Stuy…they are $1,400- 2,200 or so for a three storey brownstone and slightly more for 4 storey.

  • this place looks pretty nice to me. i certainly don’t get a “mcmansion” vibe from the photos.

  • I think “McMansion is too harsh” Hopefully the interior had no salvageable architectural details and the renovation was done this way. For that price though it better at least be skimmed plaster and not just drywall. High hats look too big and could be more tasteful, smaller spots.

  • Sam–the block is awesome. I don’t have any info about comps but this is a beautiful block in a good location.

  • “McMansion” is too harsh…sorry

  • The kitchen and bath definitely say McMansion, but McMansion sells like hotcakes in other parts of the nation. At a more reasonable price, this place won’t linger on the market.

  • Offer $1.1MM and then if it is accepted, post in Brownstoner and see if people think you can renegotiate downward.

  • I guess I must be in the minority here, but I like it (except for the kitchen which I would renovate). Personally I like modern and I think that alot of the “historic charm” in some of these old brownstones make them seem like haunted houses.

  • FGCorey….mine has all the architectural detail and its light and bright and I love it but I definitely understand your comment that a lot of them are drab, dark and seem haunted. I like the renovated sharp, crip look. Yes, there must have been a black granite sale too on that kitchen and bath which are not up to the stnadards of a house at this price range. What is that border in the bath? Fruit & Vegetables? And the towels match??

  • “I like the renovated sharp, crip look.”

    Dave, I prefer the “blood” look…

  • I was wondering who was going to catch that spelling error and what they’d do with it GHB

  • not mcmansion, just grandma. the issues are largely cosmetic, and this is a perfect candidate for a good staging or that show where $2000 investment brings you $30K higher price (or $30K less in reduction, whatever). replace/remove the cheesiest furnishings, tone down the curtains and replace that hideous border tile in the bathroom and you’re 3/4 of the way there.

  • OK..It’s still early and I think we’re done with this one. Townhouse lady, you got any new listings you want to show us???!!!!

  • 20% chop and hope for the best.

  • When I saw the black in the bathroom and the salmon colored chairs in the living room I remembered seeing this. Now it’s no McMansion but I think you’ll enjoy it…

  • I would only make an offer on the Mill Basin home if the y included all furnishings including the white tiger in the bathroom.

  • Each of those photos is nicely staged. I’m particularly impressed by the number of shampoo & conditioner bottles around the spa. Kitchen need some counter cleaning too.

  • Harsh but fair on the Mcmansion comment. I wish I could see if the toilet is black.

  • The black toilet would take it to a whole new level. Are you able to clean them less frequently?

  • I don’t get the mcmansion vibe either.

    But can Warren Lewis provide less information about a high-end listing? No floorplan. They don’t even say how many bedrooms are in the owners unit or the rentals. How do buyers know if this house will suit their needs? At $2.4 million buyers should be able to move in without reconfiguring the house, so it’s all the more important to show everything about its layout.

  • Mill Basin Millie decorated 414 Vanderbilt in a very subtle but elegant manner. All her friends in the neighborhood are chastising her for not giving it more glamour and glitz.

  • That would be the assumption Dave. I think the garbage can set in the center of the kitchen is a nice convenience. It’s also amazing that they have the same curio display area in the kitchen cabinets as the pink cabinetted kitchen did in the “glass, glass and yes, more glass” house we discussed last week.

    My favorite part though are the Michelin Man Sofas. I couldn’t imagine anything more elegant for my guests to sit in.

  • geesh, what a bunch of decor snobs. Remind me not to invite any of you to my place for a cookout. It’s like “gay eye for the straight bathroom”.

    By the way the fruit loops on the bathroom tile border that match the towels exactly is the sort of weird detail that just may make someone fall in love with the house. Y’never know.

  • sam…i know a lot of straight people and none of their bathrooms come even remotely close to that mess.

    BTW when’s the cookout and what can we all bring?

  • I think McMansion nails it. That said, there are many who would think this was lux. My contractor would have been VERY impressed.

  • Oh Sam, with all that’s happening financially we need a release. Plus we’re ALL guilty of decorative crimes.

    Actually, I had a really big ceramic rooster in my kitchen that I fell in love with at a french flea market and had shipped back here. So the first time I had my very stylish gay friend over to see the new house he walked into my kitchen stopped dead threw his hand over his heart and said, “Wow, nice cock!” and then rolled his eyes in disgust/horror.

    I stand by my cock. In fact I love it. I will display him proudly until I go to sell my house and then I’ll remove almost every decorative anything from every surface!

  • I can just picture the outfit that would be hanging on the steamer.

    – A cobalt blue velour jogging suit.
    – A multi-colored floral blouse with an elastic waist band.

  • TownhouseLady–stand by your cock!

  • Yes THL…I have a tacky bunch of ceramic avocados on a rope hanging in my kitchen. I bought them in Curnavaca when I was there last Fall with my friend. I’ve had snarky comments about them as well.

    Every good woman should stand by her cock. I applaud you.

  • Townhouse lady, what you say is very true, we have all commited decor-atrocities. And our lives have been richer for it. But I have noticed, in my long and colorful career, that weird sells. It really does.
    When you sell your house, you may have to throw in the French cock, the buyers may make it a condition of sale. I have had similar weird requests when selling my various houses and condos. One couple insisted I leave a Victorian chest in the living room. It cost me like $150 on Atlantic Avnue.
    So chest or cock, its all in the eye of the beholder.

  • In a just world, QOTD would have gone to THL.

    I stand with you in solidarity.

  • Variety is the spice of life though SnarkSlope.

  • A steady rhythm is the sauce.

  • Wasn’t it just yesterday that somoene was saying the peopl in brooklyn were nicer??? They didn’t meet this crowd. Maybe the inside had to be gutted. Not my style but not that hard to remedy for the most part. Of course it sould be south of $2MM for consideration….

  • We’re the hotter men crowd. The nicer ones are on another thread today. 😉

  • Looks like they dropped all the ceilings.

  • It’s truly refreshing in these days to hear about some nice lady like THL who….aww, you guys beat me to it.

  • 1842…you’re right. I wonder what they covered up. Did they only do it to put those high hats in??

  • I think this house will sell very quickly. Keep in mind the furniture is not for sale just the house. Looked at the floor plan and the house seems to be very well distributed in terms of space. Two high rental income units would suit me anytime. But, I can’t afford this, anyway. Walked through that block many times, especially on Sundays, and it strikes as an OK block. I am sure someone outthere will love this house.

  • I find it quite amusing, the tone, that is on this site. I frequently read but never opined. As a manhattanite, I am shocked by how nice and friendly you BROOKLYN folk have expressed yourselves. Brownstoner you either had a bad wallstreet day or simply did not get laid, sorry. I have seen some horrendous brooklyn properties over the last few years and sorry to say this is not one of them. The kitchen may need some updating but the rest is just fine. I looked at the house on greene avenue which sold for 2.3 and this one blows it away and I believe you were very excited as it was good for the comps. This is a 4000sq property which I believe is larger than most with greater potential. They will get the price or maybe higher.

  • this is not my taste, but it’s a lot of space and totally re-done, so you don’t have to do the hard stuff.

    i’m not sure that everyone out there would be so bummed out to have outdoor space, a/c, big master bathroom and new everything it seems.

    must suit someone who doesn’t want to renovate and needs rental income.

    personally, i think that if you re-did the paint and added your own furniture, it could be just fine. i could see this going either more antique or more modern.

    in reference to the price, i haven’t a clue in this death market.

  • I’ve never had strong feelings about recessed lighting until I saw this listing……

  • What makes Brownstoner think people who can afford $2 million plus townhouses have taste? Everything I have seen argues against it.

  • Oh now, enough with the recessed lighting things. All the $20 million houses in Manhattan have recessed lighting. People with important art on the walls don’t aim a table lamp at it. I’ve been inside amazing, very tasteful and historic Manhattan townhouses that have recessed lighting. If it doesn’t look good in an interior then it’s not the lighting it’s something else done badly. Or there’s too many of the lights and they’re not placed correctly so they stick out too much. I also think you need very high ceilings with them so they aren’t the first thing you see, glaring into your eyes, when you walk in the room.

  • It looks like it wouldn’t give the kids lead poisoning, and it has central air. Those are not bad things. I wish the walls were a tasteful blood red like the Mill Basin home, but que sera sera.

  • Oh, and if the owners see this: are you selling that floral couch? I like it.