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Our second bathroom is FINISHED! This month marks the one-year-anniversary of the purchase of our new home, and the anniversary of us surviving 12 months of life in a two-bedroom apartment (with three kids!) following the sale of our jumbo-sized Queen Anne home in Ditmas Park.

When we bought the beach house last summer, we were thrilled by many things about it: the stunning view, the marble fireplace mantel and, yes, even the lucky find of a full bathroom on the attic level. But with that bath’s dark floral wallpaper, a badly cracked floor and a toilet that hadn’t flushed in over 30 years, we knew it’d be a full gut.

It also happened to be the only bathroom with a view of the water, so I was really looking forward to it becoming something less skeevtastic. Initial dialogue with contractors centered around simply replacing the existing toilet, sink and tub.

But once I discovered an enchanting little blue tile at Brooklyn’s Decor Planet, I knew I was heading to Mermaidville on a magical cloud of fairy dust. (more…)


Colorful painted facades are becoming a thing in Bushwick. We count at least six houses in Bushwick that have painted murals or colorful geometric designs adorning their otherwise plain stucco exteriors.

One reason for the design trend may be that Bushwick has a lot of frame houses. You’d probably never guess looking at Bushwick now, but many were once painted ladies with lots of gingerbread trim, just like in San Francisco. (more…)

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I ain’t gonna lie, I LOVED the master bathroom before.

Sure, the built-in vanity nook had outdated mirrors with glass and metal shelving (oy, the clinking!), but the bathroom also had a spacious layout, pink tiles rising to the ceiling paired with turquoise trim pieces, a metallic blue floral wallpaper on the ceiling, and an all around old Hollywood glamour vibe.

But it was the surprise siren in the shower that really had me at hello… (more…)

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Artisanal coffee purveyor Brooklyn Roasting Company is about to move into a newly renovated building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Brownstoner got a sneak peek of Building 123, a former power plant built in 1900 that is now part of the Yard’s Green Manufacturing Center. Brooklyn Roasting Company will soon transform the entire 32,852 square foot industrial space into a haven for the coffee-obsessed.

Company co-founder Michael Pollack told Brownstoner, “What we work with is the original power plant — coffee trees and beans. So this is the perfect place for us to call home.”

The building will serve as a centralized location for the company’s roasting, packaging, and distribution process, which is currently spread across BRC’s two existing Brooklyn locations.


Introducing Brownstoner’s first-ever reader renovation diary based in Sea Gate. It will document the renovation of a 100-year-old oceanfront home on the edge of Coney Island. Our intrepid blogger can also be found at Brooklyn Beach House.


A Coney Island beach house. Yes! They exist.

I know, because we bought one a year ago. If you start at Nathan’s in Coney Island and head west toward the baseball stadium (keep the ocean on your left), in about a mile you will find that the boardwalk and Surf Avenue dead end into gates in the water and the street.

This is the beginning of Sea Gate, a 120-year-old gated community that boasts tiny bungalows, apartment buildings, mega-mansions, and everything in between. And the cool part is — despite the gate — anyone can live here!

After spending a delightful four years in a Park Slope brownstone on 6th Street just off the park, followed by an even more delightful seven years raising our new family in a large Queen Anne in Ditmas Park, I can honestly say THIS is Brooklyn’s best kept secret. (more…)


An untouched five-story brownstone that had been owned by the same family for a century provided a blank canvas for CWB Architects, one of Brooklyn’s busiest specialists in high-end townhouse renovation. The 1870s structure was in dire shape when the new homeowners undertook a two-year project to convert the house, which had been chopped up into apartments, to a single-family dwelling for themselves and their two young sons.

“Nearly half the floor structure was cracked,” said Brendan Coburn of CWB. “The only things we kept were the front wall and two side walls.” The back wall and all the interior framing are new.

It was an opportunity to rethink the house from, as it were, the ground up. The 20-foot-wide building “is gigantic for a family of four,” Coburn said, “and that made figuring out how to arrange the program a bit tricky.” (more…)


Facade renovation! One half of the symmetrical row house on the corner of Clinton and Kane Streets is looking a bit bare this week. The stucco has been chipped off, exposing the brick and brownstone underneath.

The building at 303 Clinton Street is one of a series of Italianate row houses featured as Building of the Day a few years ago. Seeing this home beside its still-stuccoed mirror image next door offers a nice comparison. More facade renovation pics after the jump. (more…)

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Northwest corner from Pierrepont Street

New construction is flourishing in Brooklyn, but developers are also finding value in restoring and converting some of the borough’s historic gems. One such example is the Brooklyn Trust Company Building in Brooklyn Heights. The building’s developer, the Stahl Organization, has nearly completed its residential conversion.

The six-story building at the corner of Pierrepont and Clinton was constructed in 1913 and designed by York and Sawyer in the Italian High Renaissance style. (more…)


After a winter of renovations, a long-neglected but potentially gracious building at 292 Bedford is showing signs of life.

Elaborate new windows and panelling have replaced graffitied plywood boards, and a couple of boutiques are already moving into the building’s secondary retail spaces.

Originally a bank, the long-shuttered corner space at the intersection of Bedford and Grand will soon open as Witlof, a Flemish brasserie operated by Ivan Kohut — owner of the hugely popular Radagast Hall just a few streets away. (more…)


The first party guests arrive in the newly finished backyard

Editor’s note: This is the latest in our long-running Bed Stuy Reno, a renovation diary written by a Brownstoner reader about a budget renovation of an Italianate brownstone in Bed Stuy financed with a construction loan.

When I finished most of the house renovations last year, there was no budget left for the backyard. Which in hindsight was a good thing, because I needed to recover from all the ills of going through a gut renovation.

Fast forward nine months later and I had enough saved to start my budget garden renovation. My old contractor offered me a great price to complete the work and as much as I like to save money, I really did not want to work with him on this project. I knew that I needed an expert and I wouldn’t have time to watch the project like a hawk. (more…)


OUT OF A 1930s WAREHOUSE on a commercial block between Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill, architect Ben Herzog and Brooklyn-based interior designer Kiki Dennis conjured a family home that’s both fun and functional.

The homeowners, a couple with three young kids, had lived in the 25-foot-wide, three-story building for years. However, the “functional lifestyle things were not working for them,” Dennis recalled. The answer was a total renovation. (more…)


As any Brooklyn homeowner set on a major renovation knows, the City’s Department of Buildings permitting process is expensive, time consuming, and opaque. And it has only gotten worse in the last year or so, as we experience a building boom and the City has increased requirements for such things as sprinklers, according to what we hear from readers on the Forum and elsewhere.

Last month the City’s Department of Buildings announced a major reform initiative. This followed 50 arrests in a massive bribery scandal that erupted earlier this year.

Reform strategies include spending $120 million, eliminating in-person visits with an entirely virtual process, hiring an additional 320 employees over four years, a new fee structure, and creating one building code to speed up the permitting process. (more…)