WELCOME TO THE INSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design or renovation project, written and produced by journalist/blogger Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday at 11 am.

rustic-modern row house

SOMETIMES A GUT JOB is the only answer, as was the case with this 15-by-44-foot four-story row house in Bed Stuy. It had been ripped apart by a developer and then abandoned during the recession, even becoming home to squatters for a time.

“It was a total wreck. There was nothing at all worth saving,” says Gitta Robinson of Brooklyn-based Robinson + Grisaru Architecture, the firm hired by new owners to transform a shell into a home.

Brick party walls and wood joists were practically all that remained. At least the joists were in decent shape.

The architects decided to keep them uncovered on the two lower floors, to add ceiling height, and painted them white. Exposed brick was likewise kept exposed.

“There was a debate on whether it would stay natural or be painted white,” Robinson recalls. Natural won.

Where a chimney breast was removed in the dining area at the rear of the parlor floor, above, the void was patched in with mortar. The homeowners — he is a graphic designer and she a landscape designer — loved the effect and kept it, even matching the mortar treatment on the rear wall of the parlor floor.

In a bold design stroke, the architects removed 2.5 feet of flooring at the rear of the parlor level, creating an open two-story slot that connects the garden and parlor floor acoustically and lets in extra light. Ideally, the architects and homeowners would have liked to replace the whole back wall on the two lower stories with glass, but a tight budget prevented it. (more…)


A vacant lot protected by roll-down gates at 1425 Fulton in Bed Stuy is up for sale and could become a 33-unit apartment building with stores on the ground floor.

The seller, who’s offering it through GFI Realty Services Inc., is looking to get a whopping $6,000,000 for the site, located between Marcy and Tompkins. Ambitious, perhaps, though the broker touts development rights allowing for a 22,365 square foot mixed-use building.

That works out to $268 per buildable square foot. (more…)

126 Hancock Street1

If this luxurious Neo-Grec brownstone at 126 Hancock Street sells for ask or above, it will set a new record for the neighborhood. A renovation took two years, according to the listing, and in addition to lots of original details, the house also has new floors, mechanicals, central air, and a kitchen with gold-veined marble counters.

The original details include tons of wood work, mantels, and a pier mirror. There is also a landscaped garden and two decks. It’s set up as a triplex over a two-bedroom garden-floor rental.

By the way, it’s not the most expensive brownstone currently on the market in Bed Stuy. That distinction goes to 247 Hancock Street, asking $6,000,000.

The ask is $3,195,000. Do you think they’ll get it?

126 Hancock Street [Corcoran] GMAP  (more…)

201 Hancock Street1

This large and beautiful whole-brownstone rental has original details for days, not to mention a top-of-the-line parlor-floor kitchen and luxurious en suite baths. Original details include plaster ceiling medallions, several fireplaces, original wood work, wood paneling, moldings, doors and parquet floors with intricate details.

The four-story brownstone is large, with five bedrooms and and 4.5 baths. And, according to the listing, it is over 4,000 square feet.

It’s set up as a one-family, although the garden floor has a kitchenette, according to the listing. The house is near the corner of Nostrand, so it’s close to the A/C train and plenty of new restaurants and other businesses in the area.

Australia-based real estate investment firm Dixon owns and renovated the property.

The price is $13,995 a month. Do you think it will fly?

201 Hancock Street [Dixon Leasing] GMAP



A local developer plans to raise an eight-story mixed-use building at the corner of Fulton and Franklin Streets in Bed Stuy.

Plans filed with the city last week for 1134 Fulton Street call for 117 rental units that will sit atop ground-floor retail and, strangely, parking for 75 cars on the second story. The building, to be designed by architect Karl Fischer, will also hold a gym, a third-floor terrace, bicycle storage and a laundry room. (more…)


The long-awaited Saraghina Bar opened Wednesday night at 348 Lewis Avenue in Bed Stuy. The spot, an expansion of Saraghina restaurant next door, serves drinks from 6 pm until closing. It will add small plates soon, a worker told us when we stopped by Thursday.

The interior has the same rustic charm as its siblings Saraghina and Saraghina Bakery. There are mismatched chairs, antique lights and, most interesting, a trompe-l’œil mural on the side wall. (more…)


Lottery applications are now being accepted for 20 subsidized apartments in Bedford Stuyvesant, which will be ready for tenants by summer’s end. The two-bedroom units will rent for $573 a month.

The low-income units are part of a new facility to be run by the social service group The Bridge, which broke ground on the 53-unit building, at 437 Herkimer Street, in December 2012. The Herkimer Street Residence is an “integrated” facility, which in addition to the apartments up for lottery will contain housing for 40 people with mental-health conditions, including 20 homeless adults and and 20 young adults aging out of state residential treatment facilities for youths.

As reported by DNAinfo this week, the six-story building — which during the planning stages was opposed by neighbors worried about an influx of tenants with mental-health issues — will have round-the-clock front-desk assistance, a community room, and social services available to all tenants. (more…)

881 Putnam Avenue1

We’re on the fence about this one-family in east Bed Stuy. On the one hand, it has some charming details and a relatively low price for the area. However, on closer inspection, it is small and probably in need of a fair amount of work.

The parlor and bedroom floors look nice but there are no photos of the garden floor, the kitchen or baths and no mention of mechanicals, which leads us to assume the worst.

It measures 18.75 by 40 square feet – a total of 2,250 square feet over three floors. The ask is $1,050,000, which works out to be $466 per square foot. Considering the size, location and condition, do you think it’s worth it? 

881 Putnam Avenue [Halstead] GMAP
Interior photos by Halstead, exterior photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark (more…)

751 Greene Ave, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former single family mansion
Address: 751 Greene Avenue
Cross Streets: Marcus Garvey Boulevard and Lewis Avenue
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Heights
Year Built: Around 1884
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: There’s nothing like living large in one’s palatial home, surrounded by no one at all. A man could feel like a feudal lord in the middle of Brooklyn. That’s what it looked like for Isaac C. DeBevoise when he had this house built in the middle of the 1880s.

The DeBevoise family is one of Brooklyn’s oldest. The New World family patriarch was Carel DeBevoise, who came to these shores in the mid-1600s. Family members married into many other old Dutch families, such as the Bergens, Lotts and Lefferts.

Branches of the family settled all over Brooklyn and were involved in all kinds of businesses and industry. One branch made their mark in the Williamsburg/Bushwick area, giving rise to a street named after them.

Isaac DeBevoise was a real estate man. His name appeared often in the Eagle and other Brooklyn papers as a contact for those seeking land to develop, as well in ads for homes and other properties. Most of his listings were in this neighborhood, known at that time as part of the large Eastern District. (more…)


Dixon is shopping around its landmarked Bed Stuy apartment building at 75 MacDonough Street, hoping to get more than $4,000,0000 for it, a few different sources have let us know. Meanwhile, passerby have noticed signs on the top floor protesting conditions in the building, and one reader sent in the photos above and below. (Scaffolding has gone up on parts of the building since these photos were taken.)

Dixon is trying to see if it can get a good offer for the building, given the hot market, Alan Dixon, Managing Director and CEO of Dixon Advisory USA, told us. (more…)