17 Comment

  • minard

    This looks like a nicely crafted scratch coat. The finish coat with the brown color will come on next. It will look terrific.

    The next project that these proud owners may wish to take on is the ironwork.

  • I have been watching the progess on this, and agree it looks great. I would love to do something like this on our house. What does an effort like this typically run, maybe 25-40K or so depending on the level of detail and size of the house?

    • NeoGrec

      Among facade contractors, Malek is more to the high end of the scale. So I would reckon this job is around the $75k mark. There are plenty of masons out there who will do a good job for much less (in the range you mentioned) but they are generally working entirely on word-of-mouth recommendations.

  • Oh, and I don’t think they are putting on new brownstone as you have noted in the title but instead a scratch coat of a cement/ stucco like material that looks like brownstone.

    • minard

      that’s what is meant in NY by re-brownstoning. A new facade of tinted stucco that is carefully applied and carved to look like dressed natural stone. It is a difficult task that requires a lot of experience and artistry. The technique dates back to the ancient world and is prevalent in many European countries especially Italy, southern Germany and Spain.

      • But in fact many of the current artisans are from South Asia, including Bangladesh. I wonder if it is a construction technique from there, or another example of an immigrant group ending up into an unexpected economic niche.

        • minard

          that is very true. The original brownstone craftsmen were from Italy and Spain, they have long since gone on to comfortable retirements in their villas thanks to Brooklyn’s bad sandstone. Their apprentices tended to be non-European and they own the businesses now. It takes years to be able to do this kind of work right and it is all done by hand, which is a little ironic since some of the original stone carvings were machine made using patterns.

          • NeoGrec

            Our contractor, Donald Morgan (along with his sons who work with him), did all the carving and incising not only by hand but also by eye. Amazing to watch. They used clay sculpting tools with the confidence of fine artists.

  • pass this everyday – looking forward to seeing the finished product

  • Since re-doing the facade in stucco is so expensive, I wonder how much more it would cost to replace the brownstone with real stone.

    • NeoGrec

      Friends of mine in Prospect Heights repaired their facade with real brownstone. They replaced about 35-40% of the total — the rest was in good shape. That cost $100k over 10 years ago. To do an entire 4-storey facade today, I would guess the cost would be in the $200-250k range. And didn’t the CT quarry close a few years ago?

      • minard

        the last Connecticut quarry did close about a year ago. Now brown sandstone can be imported from the UK, Germany, China (of course) and Wisconsin. The problem is that there is a wide variation in color. Some brownstone is more reddish and others more yellowish. Hard to find a good match, However the imported brownstone is hard and excellent, as opposed to some of the old stuff which was just one step above cheddar cheese.

      • gramercymaam

        Hi. You mentioned Donald Morgan in your earlier post. Would you mind sharing his contact information? Thank you!

  • There is something very intrusive about people taking pictures and commentating on other people’s homes. Who cares what you think. Someone’s getting their brownstone resurfaced and it ends up on a blog?