392-408 Douglass St. KL, PS 3

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 392-408 Douglass Street
Cross Streets: 4th and 5th avenues
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Year Built: 1885
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Frederick L. Hine
Other Buildings by Architect: Row houses in Crown Heights North on New York Avenue, St. Johns Place and Lincoln Place
Landmarked: No

The story: The November 21, 1885 edition of the Brooklyn Eagle had a long front page article describing the enormous amounts of building going on in the 9th, 10th and 22nd wards of Brooklyn. The 9th Ward makes up part of today’s Prospect Heights, but the 10th and 22nd are now part of Park Slope. Today’s BOTDs are part of the old 10th Ward. (more…)


We are smitten by the latest home to be featured on Design Brooklyn for several reasons:
*The open plan kitchen is a thing of beauty. Appliances are enclosed in a navy-colored l-shaped room divider that looks like a sculpture. The matching cabinets above look like a painting in the center of the tiled kitchen wall. This is the best open plan kitchen we have ever seen.
*The unique kitchen island transforms into a pull-out table that seats 10. Row house owners with parlor floor kitchens too narrow or shallow for a separate dining area should consider this brilliant idea.
*It’s a 650-square-foot one-bedroom and was renovated on a budget.
*The layout and ideas are highly relevant to Brooklyn tenement apartments as well as new construction.
*The owners preserved original details, such as parquet and window surrounds, plus upgraded the bath while keeping its 20th century tile and tub. This was partly a cost savings move, but the results look great.
Naturally, the owners are an interior designer and an architect. Here are all the details — and extra-large photos — from writer Anne Hellman and photographer Michel Arnaud.

When interior designer Nora Calderwood and architect Adam Darter bought their 650-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in Park Slope, they knew they would need to renovate in a major way but on a scaled-down budget. A year later, the result is not only airy and light, it smartly blends original details with the owners’ forward-thinking design ideas.

The apartment had endured some wear and tear, and had been divided up into four small rooms. But with some consideration, the couple realized what could be found underneath the surface. “We were able to look beyond the tattered conditions of the apartment and realized that, with nine-and-a-half-foot ceilings and six south-facing windows, it had potential,” said Adam.

By removing the walls in the main area, Nora and Adam created a loft-like living room, open to the inventive kitchen and dining area. To maximize space and minimize visual clutter (which are musts in a small apartment), Adam designed a kitchen island unit that can be used as both an eat-at island and as a dining table that pulls out into the room for larger dinner parties. (more…)

396-414 Bergen St. NS, PS, 402

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 396-414 Bergen Street
Cross Streets: Fourth and Fifth Avenues
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Year Built: 1878
Architectural Style: Italianate
Architect: John Monas
Other Buildings by Architect: 355-363 and 391-407 Bergen Street, as well as other buildings in Park Slope
Landmarked: No

The story: John Monas is listed in the records as the owner, builder, architect and carpenter of this group of houses. He also built and developed two other groups of houses on this block: 355-363 Bergen, which are three story and the basement/ground floor row houses, and 391-407, which, like today’s buildings, are called two story and a basement homes. All of them are very similar in style, materials and ornamentation.

Unlike today, where developers, architects and builders generally live far outside of the communities in which they build, the builders of our brownstone neighborhoods were by and large, local residents. This is especially in the early developmental days of the 1860s and 1870s. This was true in most neighborhoods, and especially true in Park Slope. The majority of the earlier Italianates and Neo-Grec houses inside and outside of the historic districts were built by men who lived within blocks of their work.

The practical side of that was that they were close to their projects, and didn’t have to commute very far to keep track of what their men were doing, and they also kept their money close to the cuff. But this also meant that they had a stake in building their neighborhoods, shaping the streetscape, and making their projects buildings that they were proud to live next to, and around. They could point to their rows of brownstones and say, “I did that.” (more…)

806 president street park slope 22015

This Park Slope brownstone at 806 President Street has been gut renovated and just hit the market with rents from $2,450 a month. While the interiors don’t look anything like a typical brownstone — we don’t see any original detail, for example — we think they look much better than typical new construction.

The brick has been exposed on the chimneys and the kitchens and bathrooms are a little more interesting than most, with green cabinetry and white subway tile and, in the bathrooms, what appears to be patterned cement tile on the side of the tub. Some of the rooms aren’t white, either — is that pale-gray paint we see on the walls, above?

Pricing for the eight rentals ranges from $2,450 for a studio or one-bedroom to $2,600 for a two-bedroom simplex (three rooms) or $5,100 for a two-bedroom duplex (four rooms) with private garden. There’s also a common roof deck.

We don’t see any floor plans, so we’re not sure how big the units are. Click through to see more interior photos. What do you think of the finishes and pricing?

806 President Street [Aptsandlofts.com] GMAP


250 garfield place park slope 22015

CWB Architects opened up this 1891 Romanesque Revival-style brownstone at 250 Garfield Place with a double-height glass solarium that spans the garden and parlor floors and features a wood burning stove. The kitchen, which overlooks it, is modern in feeling, with a wall of white subway tile, a dramatic and custom made hand-forged brass hood, a Lacanche stove, and honed Carrara marble counters.

Most of the details in the formal parlor rooms are still there, although the wide-plank floors throughout appear to be new. The upstairs bedrooms floors are also modern in style, and the en suite bathrooms have Waterworks fixtures and Ann Sacks tiles. There is a guest suite on the garden floor and a dog kennel and exercise room in the cellar. All the mechanicals are new, and include central air.

The two-family house is part of a row of five designed by architect Helmer Westoen, according to the listing. A House of the Day in 2011, it is about 4,200 square feet and last sold for $2,600,000 in 2012.

We are sure no expense was spared in the renovation. But considering even bigger top-of-the-line brownstones in the area rarely sell above $5,000,000, do you think they will get their ask of $7,500,000?

250 Garfield Place [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP
House of the Day: 250 Garfield Place [Brownstoner]

275 4th avenue park slope 22015

Excavation has begun at the corner of 4th Avenue and 1st Street in Park Slope, where ODA Architecture’s stepped 11-story rental building will eventually rise. This is the prominent corner where a McDonalds was located. It was demolished last year.

As already reported, the Adam America and Slate Property Group-developed project at 275 4th Avenue will have 78 apartments spread across 60,188 square feet, in addition to 4,476 square feet of commercial space and 300 square feet of community space. Amenities at the luxury rental building will include a part-time doorman, tenant lounge, private gym, roof deck and personal storage space.

Click through to see the rendering, which we published at the end of 2013. 

A McDonald’s on 4th Avenue Will Become This 11-Story Building [Brownstoner] GMAP


acme hall storefront 435 9th street park slope 22015

Two longtime musicians Saturday opened a recording studio and music education space at 435 9th Street, on the corner of 7th Avenue in Park Slope, next to Brooklyn Industries. Acme Hall offers lessons in drums, bass, guitar, voice, ukulele and piano, and specialized group workshops with five people or less.

There’s also a fully outfitted recording studio available for bookings. The name was inspired by the building, which was called Acme Hall when it opened as a social club in 1890, according to music studio co-owner Rebecca Pronsky. GMAP

Photo by Acme Hall

920 president street park slope 12015

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a prime Park Slope brownstone with all the trimmings, and 920 President Street is massive and lavish and on a park block. One of a row of 14, the Neo-Grec/Romanesque Revival house was built in 1899 by architect and developer Patrick Sheridan, according to the designation report.

It has every over-the-top high-Victorian detail of the period, including a grand entry, two staircases, insane amounts of wood work, and elaborate built-ins. In addition to the usual parlors, there is a library, an original bathroom (with corner marble sink, hex porcelain tiles, stained glass window and claw foot bath), an original sink in one of the passthroughs, and wood mantels with colorful original tile.

The floor plan shows a triplex over a duplex duplex over a triplex, with the owner’s kitchen located in the extension on the parlor floor and bedrooms on the garden floor. The kitchen isn’t pictured, except for a glimpse through a door and on the floor plan; it looks a little skimpy but nice, and the room has stained glass windows and other original details. We spy a few missing tiles in the original bathroom, but nothing that wouldn’t be easy to fix. The triplex’s kitchen is located on the hidden fifth floor, which has been opened up.

The house appears to have been in the same family since at least 1969. Do you think they will get their ask of $4,999,995?

920 President Street [Corcoran] GMAP

Plaza Hotel, PP composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Manhattan’s famous Plaza Hotel got its name because that city’s Grand Army Plaza was right across the street, at the main entrance to the park. Brooklyn also had its own Grand Army Plaza, and so it shouldn’t be surprising that we also had our own Plaza Hotel, also just across the street from the main entrance to the park. Ours was here first, of course, built at least ten years before the first Manhattan Plaza Hotel, and more than 25 years before the famous 1907 building that replaced it.

This incarnation of Brooklyn’s Plaza hotel was built sometime around 1877, as Park Slope was rapidly developing as a popular new upscale neighborhood. Prospect Park was Brooklyn’s most popular destination, and although the entrance to the park was not as ornate as it is now, it was still quite the place to be to begin one’s stroll into nature’s realm. Placing a hotel on the edge of the park, just across the street from the main entrance was commercial genius.

As you can see from the postcard, the hotel wasn’t especially large, but it was striking and ornate, with a mansard roof, an attractive façade, and some ornate ornamentation that looks like it was probably added later. Unlike Manhattan’s second Plaza Hotel, this establishment was not about accommodations, although they may have had a couple of rooms, but its dining room and saloon were much more in demand. The hotel sat right at the end of Union Street, where it meets Prospect Park West, then called Ninth Avenue. It faced Prospect Park and its address was 2 Ninth Avenue.

When this building opened in 1877, it was owned by two partners named Charles Bedell and William Snyder. The fact that the Park Slope Plaza never became the Manhattan Plaza was probably because of the two of them. They may have had some business savvy, but they were not particularly classy guys. (more…)


A condo owner at 163-165 Prospect Park West in Park Slope says someone at the building’s management company allegedly embezzled the building’s reserve fund. Our tipster sent along this letter from the company, Guardian Property Management of Brooklyn. It reveals that “money may have been misappropriated from certain accounts which it [Guardian] maintains on behalf of its clients.”

Apparently Guardian is looking into the theft, and so is the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, according to our tipster. When we contacted the D.A.’s office, a spokeswoman said she could neither confirm nor deny Guardian was under investigation.

“There are at least eight other buildings under Guardian management in Brooklyn that also had their funds wiped out, I am told — perhaps even more,” the tipster added. He said that roughly $100,000 had been stolen from his building alone.

The building has 25 apartments. Guardian’s attorney did not return our calls for comment. Click through to see the letter from the management company.

Photo by Kate Leonova for PropertyShark


60 dean street boerum hill 12015Boerum Hill
60 Dean Street
Broker: Corcoran
Price: $3,999,000
Sunday 12:00 – 2:00

593 3rd street park slope 12015Park Slope
593 3rd Street
Broker: Brown Harris Stevens
Price: $3,750,000
Sunday 12:30 – 2:00

277 skillman street bed stuy 12015Bed Stuy
277 Skillman Street
Broker: Urban Compass
Price: $1,325,000
Saturday 2:15 – 3:30

243 howard avenue bed stuy 12015Bed Stuy
243 Howard Avenue
Broker: Corcoran
Price: $1,199,000
Sunday 12:00 – 1:30