Cobble Hill’s Infamous Rat-Squirrel House Gets Windows

As Lost City pointed out this week, Cobble Hill’s Rat Squirrel house (aka 149 Kane Street) is now “close to looking like a structural citizen.” Windows are in where the plywood once was. As you can see, the door still needs improvement. This rundown townhouse, which has gotten much attention from the blogs, received random improvements in the past few years but no significant rehabilitation.
Rat Squirrel House Gets Windows [Lost City] GMAP
Photo via Lost City

36 Comment

  • probably already in contract – 4 million – all cash, over ask.

  • white windows aren’t Landmark approved so these will have to be replaced or painted. They are a lot cheaper though!

  • I walk by this house a few times a week and had high hopes for the renovation. But the white windows look horrible.

  • Anyone who let this place go to seed for years doesn’t care about LPC standards. And since the LPC can’t enforce anything, they don’t care. If it sells, then it will be someone else’s problem to fix. It just ain’t right.

  • Hey, it’s amazing that it has finally been stabilized and progress is being made.

  • I thought it had sold and that a new owner was renovating it???

  • I don’t understand many of these comments. First of all, the Landmarks Commission deserves all of the credit for dealing with a difficult owner and saving this house. Secondly, the sash are wooden double-hungs and look just right to me. They come with a white primer from the factory. They are supposed to be painted. In this case they will probably be painted black.
    The house has a new roof, a new cornice and new windows. It is ready for its comeback.

    • If they are wood and painted black, then I think they’ll look good. Looking at the photo above, however, they look like cheap white vinyl. I haven’t seen them in person yet.

      • Please walk by and let us know. It looks like Marvin stickers on the windows.

        • Good eye, Minard. They are indeed wooden Marvin windows, so hopefully they will be painted black, though up close the white doesn’t look terrible either.

          Interestingly, the cornice is not new, and looks like painted plywood. And the lintels are metal (tin?) over the original Brownstone lintels. The lintels on the top 2 floors are freshly painted and in good shape and look nice. But those on the parlor floor need to be repaired/replaced.

          The house to the left is coming along great, too. It was owned by a brother and sister, the last of whom died a couple of years ago and is undergoing a gut reno as well.

          And, Mrs. Mingott, I’m sure it will always be called the Rat Squirrel House. If I bought it, I think I’d just embrace it rather than try to change it.

          • Excellent strategy, cgar. If I could afford it, I suppose I wouldn’t care what anyone called it. Until then, I will continue to wear my “I Survived Anorexia” t-shirt and just love myself.
            Minard: Yes, it is a lovely neighborhood, but that wasn’t my concern. In a bad neighborhood, a “rat squirrel house” would likely play second fiddle to the “I Got Shot On That Stoop House” or the “They Found WHAT in the Fridge? House.” I assume the nice little old lady hoarder isn’t moving back into this house. Perhaps the listing agent will come up with a catchy alternative to its current moniker; One of those one word numbers, say, like “Fur.” Or they could just class it up with French: “Le Maison des Vermin” or “Le Palais des rats et des écureuils.”

          • Mrs M. You know you drive me crazy when you speak French.
            You wench.

          • Bissous, mon petit architecte…

  • Thanks for that clarification, Minard. If wood, then yes, likely painted black.

  • no deed transfer in 30 years.
    And does anyone really pay attention to stuff this far west — Isn’t anything west of Henry st. considered fringe?

    • Not since I moved there and not since the Columbia Street Waterfront became so popular. Anything east of Smith is really skechy and really fringe though, what with all the boarded up and shuttered store fronts.

  • At a certain point, are we going to stop referring to this place as “Rat Squirrel House”? Probably not. I almost feel bad for the person who eventually pays a gazillion dollars for this house and everyone still points to it and declares: “Can you believe so-and-so paid that much for the Rat Squirrel House?” Of course, Grey Gardens was just as bad and no one calls it the “Crazy Cat Pee Raccoon House,” today. Too bad Jackie O. didn’t have another crazy cousin or aunt in Cobble HIll.

  • Minard, you made it sound like you had walked by and knew they were wood. Please try and write more succinctly when you are trying to express something.

  • Minard…first you wrote “Secondly, the sash are wooden double-hungs and look just right to me. They come with a white primer from the factory. ”

    Then later you wrote “Please walk by and let us know. It looks like Marvin stickers on the windows.”

    Your first post indicated certainty about the window which it appears you never actually saw.

    Maybe English is your second language.

  • I suspect chablis is something that you’d drink.

  • I don’t know what happened to the little old elderly hoarder, but no way any one is living in this house during construction.

  • she lives over on henry.
    I think the squirrels died from the fumes from BQE. obviously for the people around there just makes them little delirious and delusional.

  • Arguably one of the best restaurants in Manhattan is named The Frog, in French of course.

  • And when you buy a house in a small town, it’s still referred to by the previous owner’s name until you sell it to someone else and then it is referred to as your old house!!!!

  • A few months back, the contractor showed me all through the house.

    In what I considered a misguided effort, he had been instructed to preserve all surfaces, for instance making many holes to pull bx through walls.

    Layout of home was quite unusual, with the main stairway rear justified, with a landing 3/4 of the way up with a window to the rear on that landing, not level with the other two rear windows on the 2nd floor.

    As a result over the years, bathrooms had been added to the front small rooms.

    Many of the doors and frames were original, just in crooked and bad shape.

    I believe the builder of that house and mine were the same, in that the dimensions and techniques are similar.

    Most interesting feature – house has pitched roof attic, but the stairs to that attic are very wide (5 feet?), and come off 3rd floor hallway perpendicular to appear in middle of attic floor.

    All in all, a peek into history to see a relatively un-remuddled brownstone.

    PS It was full of the worst kind of dreck, which contractor had agreed to work around.

  • Also of interest on the block is that the Little Luna building was sold and the shop had its last day on Sunday.

  • Another window blunder. The most important element of a renovation are energy efficient windows. Color makes a difference especially in the landmark areas. If you drive around you will see that the brick brownstone and limestones should have black windows only.