House of the Day: 491 Henry Street

This ain’t no regular townhouse. 491 Henry Street is a Greek Revival mansion with 50 feet of frontage on Henry Street and old-school features to die for. The three-family home also has enough room in the rear to park four cars. It’s not entirely clear to us how many square feet the house is, but let’s hope there’s a lot given that the asking price for this puppy is $7,000,000, or almost twice what it would cost you to buy the Lamm Institute.
491 Henry Street [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP P*Shark

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  • I didn’t check out the listing yet but, but, but……$7M?????

  • The floorplan is confusing me.

  • Is today Places-You-Cant-Afford-of-the-Day?

  • im not sure why, but that strategically placed guitar annoys me.


  • That second floor is a maze!!!! Imagine this house being haunted and ALL those doors slamming open & shut at the same time.

  • A very nice looking interior, but it certainly doesn’t look very 1844 in there! This might be one of the oldest buildings in Cobble Hill and has a gorgeous and unique exterior, but I was disappointed with the interior. But maybe that’s more the casual modernish furnishings than the building (though there seems to be noticeable recessed lighting). Hope they didnt strip too much of the old charm away with the recent renovation.

  • It’s so hard to tell anymore how these places really are. The photographers seem to be focusing more on the current owner’s ‘stuff’ than giving you an idea of the room in general.

  • This is for the discerning buyer who has an absurd amount of money, but doesn’t need the 14,000 sq ft afforded to them by the Lamm Institute property.

  • I agree with you BHS. It struck me as rather plain and too modern. That giant oak mantle is not of the correct period as this building.

  • Price is a bit crazy, IMO. But a gorgeous house, and a BHS listing (not Halstead, as it says up there).

  • the best part of this house is the exterior renovation. check out the architect’s site for more pics: — look @ the before pic!!

  • That’s got to be over 10,000 sq. ft. of house.
    Hate the way it’s chopped up with the 2 rentals.

  • Good find, duckumu.

  • DIBS, is the mantle late 1800s? What would have been typical for 1844? A smaller marble one like you can see in one of the images?

    I wonder if this was an old farmhouse when Cobble Hill was farms? Or maybe just a country house for wealthy people.

  • It would have been a classically lined federal style without the columns and mirror. It would also have been painted. This is a large overbearing Victorian mantle. 1844 is on that cusp of Federal and Sheraton, a bit more Sheraton.

  • I’m sure the new owner can sell the mantle on craigslist for some change.

  • I cannot imagine the buyer for an expensive property across from the Met Foods on a corner of Henry Street. But that’s just me.

  • I think this was once the rectory building for the church next door. Nice renovation, a bit upscale suburban, but 7 mil to be a landlord? That guitar placement is bugging me, too.

  • Wow, the “before” and after of the facade is AMAZING. What an addition to the neighborhood. I walked by this place a year (or so) ago when the renovation was underway and was shocked that I’d never noticed the house before. This explains why. Fantastic job. This might explain a lot about the lack of historic feeling on the interior. The reality may be that there wasnt much left on the interior to work with so they built a traditionally styled interior with some salvaged mantles and reproduction lighting.

  • I’d rather have the Namm Institute building. This is a great house, I’m sure, but it’s been renovated too much. Not that I have any concept of being able to afford a 7 million dollar house.

  • buttermilk, that’s not an apartment, that’s an extra kitchen. Really big houses for rich people have them.

    The dining room is too small for my taste up there on that second floor.

  • Propertyshark says 4,000 sf, and it seems accurate for a building that is 50’x35′ with a partial roof terrace on the third floor. I am not in love with the renovation at all, it looks too pastel 80’s California- and the furniture! Yikes. I know it’s not what they are selling, but would it have killed the agent to do a bit of staging/decluttering for the pictures? You can’t hardly see the house. It would have been smart to show the parking area and get a sense of the 50×100 lot.
    The location is wonderful, the lot size is amazing, but $7 million? It seems like an overreach, unless the pictures omitted some super something.

  • So, $1.6 million in 2003. And then lots of renovations… I wonder what the profit margin is for this $7 million price tag! I have to think it’s on the Greedy McDuck side of the line….

  • the Baxt firm is among the best in the business.
    this house had obviously gone through the mill of changes and modernizations so one should not expect any sort of “purity” either inside or out.
    The rehabbed interiors look terrific but I am a little disappointed, just a little, with the exterior restoration. Maybe it is the cornice that seems awkward; the proportions and size of the windows aeem to lack the grace of early 19th century work.
    My favorite facade features are the street names carved in narble at the corner. Nice. I wonder if they found them hidden under the prior fake white brickfront facade?
    nitpicking aside, this is a huge gift to the street.

  • Minard, a lot of houses in Philly have those marble inserts with the street names carved in. I agree, they are really nice details.

    This renovation was a gift to the neighborhood. Well said.

  • Thanks, duckumu. The before/after shots of the exterior reno are jaw-dropping. The owner should get a medal for the transformation — what an improvement to the streetscape that must have been.

  • Agree with everything said. Remarkable exterior and width. Not feeling the interior. Too many renovations, too many kitchens, don’t like 1890s-1910s mantles, too much much too much. What a muddle. They need Julianne Moore to straighten this out.

  • Maybe for that price you get this eccentric Tokyo garage that puts your lambo in your living room for sh.ts and giggles:

  • BSD the “lambo” would be the only place you could go in there to have a private conversation. Not a toddler household I guess.

  • So… 2 rental units w/ income $56,400/yr. That will almost pay the mortgage for $1mil. So it’s like buying 2800 square feet to live in for only $6mil – and you get that great facade.

    Hard to know if the merely rich who comment on Brownstoner know the value of a house being marketed to plutocrats. To me $7,000,000 sounds silly for this house.

  • I am a bear of very little brain, and large words bother me

    – Pooh Bear

    I am a buyer of very little mortgage, and large houses bother me.

    – Winnie the Boer

  • I am a member of a little elite and large masses bother me

  • I don’t think plutocrats would rent apartments in their mansions, but wouldn’t that first-floor 1-bedroom be a perfect butler+cook apartment? And the second floor 2-bedroom can be used as a guest suite. Still, the price is a bit of nonsense in my opinion.

  • I’m beginning to suspect Mr. Butler is overcompensating for something with the CotD and HotD.

    Oh well, maybe we can have a realistic discussion about the remaining six that get posted this week.

    I just find the BIG DEAL to be so irrelevant to the overall market. I realize it will always be what Curbed and the NYT RE section will focus on, but one thing I appreciate about BSer is the listings are *usually* plausible.

    Robin Leach and Cribs and a host of mediocrity will ALAWAYS be around to cover baronal palaces ad nauseum. Just a complete waste having two of these on the same day.

  • BH, I don’t understand why you’re so upset with these?? Try and enjoy life this week, the holiest of weeks for many people.

  • Clearly this house is big enough to include rentals, but do you want them at this price? Tenants would all share the lovely front entrance with the owners, and the rental apt occupies all the front windows on the second floor.

  • hehe dibs

    Thank you, sir. I see it clearly now. We are not here to discuss places we might buy or aspire to buy, but to pay homage to the brownstone shrines of our fair borough.

    glory hallelujah and praise be to saint C.P.H. Gilbert

    the angel of foreclosure death went forth throughout the land but the doorposts of row houses painted with the blood of a spring lamb (code for real estate BULL) passed over brownstone breuklyn

    loverly CotD and HotD, ‘stone, looking forward to viewing more glorious shrines throughout holy week.

  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors’ brownstones.

  • FRACK! this house is on the market? but i’m not ready!!! this has been my dream house since I moved to the neighborhood. externally the reno was total and turned out really nicely. i have no idea about the inside. but that is seriously wanky about the rental units. weird weird weird. if you can afford $7MM, wouldn’t you just have an investment property completely separate from your home?

    this house has a huge parking area, plenty of space to build a two car garage and have tons of space left. btw, this is next door to the huge church condo conversion thingy on degraw.

  • btw, the lamm institute looks MUCH better in that pic than it does in person. and considering that it was all classrooms or offices in there, by the end of the day, i think cost will be about the same between that place and this one.

  • What duckumu said at 1:40. Can’t comment on the interior, but I’ve been watching the exterior work being done for the past few years, and I can’t believe this is the same house as in the before pics.

  • I grew up from 1961-1973 right around the corner from that building. During my time, the building was used by a family which, like most of us who owned in the nabe, lived in the basement or parlor apartment, and rented out the rest of the units, which had been cut up during the wave of immigrant families that began to inhabit the area pre-and post WWII. Oh how my neigborhood has changed so much over the years — change you can believe in.

  • 491 Henry Street was the private residence of George A. Jarvis, b. Cheshire Conn. in 1806. He came to New York when he was 18 with $10 dollars in his pocket, eventually opening a family grocery store. In 1838, he started a wholesale grocery business – at no. 81 Front Street. Jarvis was a notable philanthropist, an incorporater of Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and was a Director of many notable Brooklyn institutions including the Atlantic Dock Company and the Brooklyn Atheneum.