Inside a Bay Ridge House Makeover


A Brownstoner reader wrote in to tell us about her and her husband’s renovation project, the makeover of a standalone Bay Ridge home that department of building records say was built in 1899. We had thought it might be older, based on the shape of the house and other clues, but some digging around by our own Montrose Morris revealed that the first map to show a building there is dated 1924.¬†This house also happened to be the boyhood home of our correspondent’s husband. As she said, “This project was a great challenge to all involved as we kept the entire footprint the same while adding large windows to create the illusion of grandeur.” The house’s footprint was “untouched” from the original home that sat on this “little hill in Bay Ridge for 114 years.” The house was purchased by her husband’s parents in the 1960s and had deteriorated over the years. The clean-out took around six months, and the couple found old World War II memorabilia, an 1854 Ansonia Clock, old museum prints, and old watercolor paintings. Over the past eight months, the couple took on a major re-do. They put in a new foundation, new sub-floors, all new mechanicals, and reinforced the steel throughout. Closets were added throughout the home. For the facade, they used limestone stucco and energy-efficient, impact-resistant hurricane windows and doors. The staircase was moved, but they reproduced the pattern of the old balusters in the new one. They restored all the light fixtures in the house and incorporated them into the interior design; the original mantel was refinished as well. The front mahogany doors were built by a team of craftsman in Dunkirk, N.Y., and all other products in the home were made in the United States. The contractors used were Cavalier Construction Services, based in Red Hook, and the architect was Pasquale Castellano. Click through to see lots of pictures and read more details!


The home in the 1950s.

The home in the 1970s. The owner said, “We salvaged [a] shutter from the exterior and weathered it for artwork in the basement.”

The interior before the renovation.

Interior detail before the renovation. Said the owner: “The most interesting of all [our finds] was the spectacular lighting which has been incorporated throughout the house accented by repros from Rejuvenation that compliment each other.”

The rear of the home during renovation.

The restored lighting and mantelpiece. “Although the fireplace mantel was not grand, as those seen in brownstones, it is original to the home and was stripped and refinished.”

Restored lighting.

The new staircase: “We moved the staircase from the center to the entrance and replicated the design element from the original.”

Detailing on the new staircase.

The original staircase railing in the home, below.

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