House of the Day: 27 7th Avenue

27 7th avenue park slope 72014

The Brooklyn Home Company picked up this Romanesque Revival, which we called a “time capsule” when it was a House of the Day, for $1,565,000 in 2012 and has completely redone it with a now-fashionable all-white look.

We don’t know if the dark wood had already been painted or if the floors were beyond saving, but we’re not big fans of stark all-white walls and pale white oak floors in general, but especially in Victorians.

High-resolution interior photos from before the renovation can still be seen on Corcoran’s website, and the wood work certainly looks unpainted and the parquet appears to be in good condition, at least in the entry and parlors.

In fact, the listing refers to “pristine original woodwork,” but also lists many upgrades that seem to have come later, such as “new 3 1/4-inch white oak floors throughout, and new heat and central air.”

In any case, most of the original details are intact, and we like the marble and subway tile in the updated bathrooms and kitchens. The facade has been restored with Landmarks-approved windows. There is multizoned central air and heat as well as a landscaped garden with bluestone.

The house was built in 1887 and designed by architect Laurence Valk, according to the LPC designation report. It is red brick with rusticated stone details and features dormer windows with a Queen Anne sunburst motif.

It’s set up as a triplex over a two-bedroom garden floor rental. Do you think this will go for the full ask of $4,000,000?

27 7th Avenue [Corcoran] GMAP

26 Comment

  • Amzi Hill

    I love this house I wish the wood was not painted…

  • catboot

    no no no no no no nooooooooooo!
    Painted woodwork makes me sad.
    And why replace the beautiful floors with “meh” stuff? Argh!

  • “we’re not big fans of stark all-white walls and pale white oak floors in general”. That’s my favorite aesthetic. But I agree it looks way out of place in this house.

  • The old photos made the house look pretty dark inside. I would think that’s probably why they went for the all-white. It’s a little overwhelming with the staging, but with the right furniture, I think that it could probably look fresh. The architecture of those houses is stunning, but I think it’s sometimes a bit hard to live in without making it feel like a museum or your grandmother’s house.

    I don’t quite agree with all of the painted wood, but I guess I see their thought process.

    • Bob Marvin

      Your grandmother’s house? I’m nearly 70 and my grandmother had mostly deco furniture. You’h ave to be either VERY old or very young (with a grandmother who’s part of the original “brownstoner” generation) to be lucky enough to have your grandmother’s house look like the “before” photos of this one :-)

  • Bob Marvin

    This house looked SO much better before those “flippers” vandalized it

    • Completely agree!! That white painted woodwork is awful. To me, that aesthetic doesn’t work AT ALL in that kind of home.

    • Vandalized is right. That “now-fashionable all-white look” is not an aesthetic, it’s a flipper’s strategy to fool buyer’s into think they’re getting something newer, cleaner, more modern, than what they’re really buying. At same time, the listing crows that the “parlor floor is graced with gorgeous mantels, pier mirrors and pockets doors.”

    • Having just looked at the old HOTD photos I totally agree with you. To paint that woodwork is heartbreaking. Maybe in person the wood was a fiasco and they took the easy way out.

      Also the floors look beautiful in the old photos. Why mess with them!?

      The space could still have been lightened without ruining its integrity.

      Feels like the designer if there was one did things just because they could.

  • For a noisy corner with no garden to speak of, it seems a stretch to me. But in this market we have seen all kinds of things fly…

  • daveinbedstuy

    What an asinine decision to paint all that woodwork.

  • I find the interior (especially the furniture which is easily changed) somewhat incongruous with the house. Seems like they tried to give it a cottage-like quality which to me fights against the elegance of these homes. The pale white oak floors in my mind aren’t even in the spirit of the age of the house. The bathrooms and kitchen retain some elegance but they are pretty run of the mill.

    I understand the impulse to paint woodwork having struggled with the wood in my own brownstone. Stripping it is a herculean task. I think some wood looks ok painted and usually that’s the more plain wood not intricately carved wood. I also find it better in a darker color. I guess white has wider appeal.

  • NeoGrec

    Whether we like it or not, it’s what many buyers at this price point want. Remodelista all the way.

  • bfarwell

    uuuughhhh… why?!?! #facestab

  • NeoGrec

    Just looked at all the pics. At the risk of increasing the wrath of the traditionalists, I’m gonna say I like it. Good layout. Very tasteful. Clean and bright. A great blank canvas to which the new owners can add their own style. And the gas fireplaces and double shower are nice touches. But the scale isn’t grand and the location on busy 7th Ave isn’t ideal. Still, it will probably go for the ask or even a little above.

  • OK, so the post reno photos are nice BUT……why paint the woodwork; and why oh why would you rip up those floors. Very poor choices. Its more expensive to do what they did…..then just refinish what was there. Strange.

    • NeoGrec

      But that’s the point. European white oak floors are in. Painted woodwork is in. A lot of buyers don’t want old parquet floors with black water stains or acres of gloomy dark wood trim. And I would disagree about cost. Maybe refinishing the floors would have been cheaper than replacing. But there’s no way stripping, staining and oiling all the trim would cost less than painting. I’ve had that work done in my own house. It’s nearly impossible to find tradespeople who do it well and, when you do, they charge accordingly.

  • Can’t whitewash away history, I’m afraid; whoever was in that house on the morning of 12/16/1960 had an unfortunate box seat.

    I’m a fan of original detail as well, & I remember as a kid back in the late 60s, being very upset at the doctor’s wife who painted over most of the original wood detail of her Prospect Park South Victorian. And trust me, this house was beyond dripping with detail.

    “Mommy, why did she do that?”

    “Ask her.”

    No, I didn’t…

    Sadly, that was the trend back then, but apparently I already had a good sense of aesthetics!

  • The woodwork was definitely cheaper to paint but I understand the choice beyond the cost. These houses can look so dark with all that woodwork and it also tends to make them feel smaller — if it’s a narrow house it can be a killer. As for the floors — it’s a tough one but I bet you anything they’d be stripped and redone so many times they were too thin to salvage. We ran into that problem with our house and decided to give them a light buff and poly them thick and hope to get some more good years out of them… But they’re thin and creak and I’m sure someday we’ll be forced to redo them properly as they fall apart and come up. It’s hard. Hopefully we’ll have the money at that point to do a good job matching what had existed but that’s a rare option. What do you do? Live with floors your kids get splinters from and you rip your socks on nails that come up all the time or put something new in that can meet the needs of your family? We are supposed to actually live in these houses right? I’m all for preservation but I’m also for making the right personal choices. I think these folks did what most buyers would find they needed to do….

  • Too many of these classics are being vandalized, destroyed, what ever you want to call it.
    To say that this is what people want today is not the answer. There is plenty of choice out there including brand new townhouse construction, or older houses that have already lost their original detail.
    One does not buy a classic Rolls Royce to customize it into a hot rod, it destroys the long term value. Just as destroying the original detail and balance of these classic houses does. This is the beginning of the end of the appreciation of classic Brownstones.
    Ten to fifteen years from now they will all be herding out to suburbs again to get distance from each other.

  • I just noticed the house next door; 25 7th Ave is an SRO that has been owned by The City of NY since 1971. !! Why would the City own this building this long? It also has Boiler violations, a Sprinkler violation, violations for rotten windows etc.
    Why would someone pay $4,000,000 to live next door to an owner that has very questionable maintenance records, but the City of NY!? Can you imagine fighting with them when there sewer breaks or a tree in their back yard falls and any of those other annoying negligent neighbor issues happens?
    Why in this day & age does the City own this building?