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The striking and prominent house at 1020 Bushwick Avenue sold last year and is now being renovated. We noticed a few weeks ago that it is empty inside, and when we stopped by this past weekend, it looked like work had started.

We’re guessing the new owner intends to live there and is restoring the interior, based on what we can discern from looking at public records. The house was previously occupied by a member of the family who owned it for many years, and his extensive vinyl record collection was visible through the parlor floor windows at night.

The house sped to contract in less than one month and sold for $1,210,000 one year ago, $321,000 above the asking price of $889,000. Interior photos can still be viewed at the Douglas Elliman website.

The Queen Anne style house was built in 1888 and designed by architect Frank Keith Irving. It is part of a Linden Street row with unusual and exotic ornamentation. There is a face on the dormer facing Linden Street and terra cotta dragons under the cornice. It was a Building of the Day in 2011. More details can be seen on Montrose Morris’ Flickr page.

There may be more interior detail left than the photos show. The listing says the house has “multiple wood burning fireplaces, crown molding, a tin ceiling and ceiling medallions.”

1020 Bushwick Avenue Listing [Douglas Elliman]
Building of the Day: 1020 Bushwick Avenue [Brownstoner] (more…)

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During the winter, when we can’t open the windows, we work on “clean” projects, such as sewing new curtains. We save up messy and toxic tasks such as plastering and stripping for spring and summer. We’ve accomplished quite a bit this year, although not as much as we hoped. Our agenda was to finish all the woodwork and the plastering. What we actually accomplished was rehabilitating the built-ins on the garden floor. (more…)

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Brooklyn Bridge Park is revamping its old water main testing building at 99 Plymouth Street into a community center and park facility, and park officials held a ceremony yesterday to kick off the building’s renovation. The $3,600,000 conversion will bring a community room, a classroom for environmental education programs, two public bathrooms, a locker room, a kitchen, maintenance space for the park and basement storage. The classroom will also feature a 600-gallon aquarium where children can interact with marine life.

When renovation finishes next summer, the new structure will have a 28-foot-wide glass entrance facing Plymouth Street, and the back entrance will be a floor-to-ceiling glass wall facing the park, the Manhattan Bridge and the waterfront. The exterior brick walls will be painted gray, and the highly visible interiors will be contrasting bright blue and white. Stalco Construction and Architecture Research Office are leading the renovation of the 11,300-square-foot site.

We got a look inside the building, which is completely gutted. The brick facade has been repointed, and the building already has new windows. Click through to see more photos and renderings.

(more…)

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The summer has been incredibly busy. The house is about 90 percent complete. Due to budget constraints the garden will have to wait until next year. But the good news is that the kitchen is finished! Last we left off, I had picked out a marble countertop. I’ve been living with the marble for almost a month now and so far so good. Two dinner parties with lots of red wine and accidental lemon spills and the marble is still going strong.

The marble countertop was installed by the fabricator and the entire process took about an hour. At the end of the installation the team applied a professional grade sealant on the marble. Sealant is key to keeping marble mostly stain free. It has also helped that I picked a slab of marble with lots of imperfections. My slab was already flawed, what’s a few stains here and there? Plus it was much cheaper!

The cabinets are Ikea, which I’m less than thrilled with at the moment. I already need to replace one of the drawers due to poor alignment. The dishwasher and refrigerator are both Fisher Paykel and are floor models purchased on eBay at about 60 percent off retail. The stove is NXR and was purchased at Costco. The wood floating shelves were custom made.

Editor’s note: We’re impressed with how the kitchen turned out, especially considering this is a budget renovation financed with a 203K loan. Click through for lots more photos. (more…)

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We were astounded to pass by and see the falling-down house at 1260 Bushwick Avenue has been fixed up. If anyone’s wandered these parts, they’ve surely noticed the row house next to an empty lot with its front facade peeling off, porch roof crumbling and, most remarkable and eye-catching of all, huge side wall sheathed in pieces of thin plywood — and some of those coming loose as well. It’s been like this at least since 2007, based on PropertyShark photos and our own visits to the area. Sometimes it looked as though people were living in it, too, although we were never sure. Or perhaps they were squatters.

There had been signs, over the months, that some kind of construction might be imminent, but we didn’t really believe it. In any case, now here it is, with a completely new stucco facade, looking as if it were never abandoned or a likely candidate for a tear-down.

After years of stagnation, there is a frenzy of construction in Bushwick. It’s impossible to walk down the street in Bushwick without seeing new buildings rising and old ones being renovated — generally by investors, not owner occupants. We’ll be showing you more projects over the next week or two.

In the meantime, click through to see more photos of 1260 Bushwick as well as other houses being spruced up — or horribly altered, depending on your point of view. The stucco-over-wood-frame treatment is very popular these days. We saw two more up the avenue. (more…)

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Filmmaker and actor Brian Crano and David Craig initially planned to buy a brownstone (or an apartment in one) when they moved from L.A. to Brooklyn. But after losing out on several places, they did a complete about-face and created a unique space in a totally generic new-construction building in Vinegar Hill, The New York Times reported.

They combined two one-bedroom apartments plus common hallway space on the top floor of a “developer’s special,” as the Times put it, then embarked on a gut renovation that included a new kitchen from Henrybuilt. They spent a total of $1,228,000 buying the space (including the hallway) and another $500,000 or so on the renovation. (more…)

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It’s sat empty for 20 years, but now it looks like work is finally under way to convert the old St. Teresa’s school complex into a training school for court officers at St. Johns Place and Classon Avenue in Crown Heights. We spotted this rendering on the fence, which shows that the three buildings will keep their facades but there will be a new glass walkway connecting them.

Also, the DOB issued new alteration permits earlier this month for the planned classrooms and dorms at 523 St. Johns Place. Work is supposed to wrap in the winter of 2015, according to construction signs.

Work Spotted at the St. Teresa Building Complex [Brownstoner] GMAP
New Life for St. Teresa’s Building Complex [Brownstoner]

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The dedication ceremony for the newly restored Victory and Peace World War I memorial in Saratoga Park — now draped in a blue plastic tarp behind a fence so it is not visible — will take place at noon on Wednesday, September 10. Speakers and attendees will include veterans, service members and residents of the community.

Bed Stuy resident and former marine Brian Hartig of Brownstone Detectives, who let us know about the date, has researched the lives of some of the 106 men honored on the statue and contacted the descendants of 22 of them. So far, a great-niece and a great-great niece and nephew of one of them plan to attend the event. “As a Marine who’s fought in a war, myself, this is another passion of mine,” he told us.

All the servicemen honored on the statue were born and raised in the neighborhood. World War I was “a devastating event for Stuyvesant Heights,” said Hartig in a statement he prepared about the unveiling. (more…)

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The new owner of an Edwardian apartment building in Clinton Hill is renovating and raising rents as tenants vacate. The renovated apartments have more bedrooms and less common space than the old ones. It’s a pattern we’re seeing all over the borough in neighborhoods where rents are rising quickly, such as Bed Stuy and Crown Heights. (more…)

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After forty years of abandonment, the Loew’s Kings Theatre in Flatbush will re-open in January 2015 with newly restored interiors and 3,000 seats, according to a press release spotted by Gothamist. The theater will host more than 200 performances a year across a variety of genres, including comedy, theater, dance, and popular music. Designed by Rapp and Rapp, the theater opened in 1929 and featured high curved ceilings, ornate plater walls, gold-leaf ornament and crystal chandeliers, all of which have been restored or faithfully recreated.

Martinez+Johnson Architecture, who have restored historic theaters across the country, are leading the two-year-long restoration project. The theater closed its doors in 1977, was acquired by the city in 1983, and sat collecting dust at 1027 Flatbush Avenue until restoration work began last year. GMAP

Loew’s Kings Theatre In Brooklyn Will Reopen Next Year [Gothamist]

Photo by Matt Lambros of After the Final Curtain via Facebook

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Kushner Companies is just about done renovating three former Brooklyn Law School dorms into market rate apartments, and Curbed took a look at the project. The developer bought six dorm buildings last year for $36,500,000, and is in the process of converting the other three back into single family homes.

The buildings at 144 Willow Street (pictured above), 18 Sidney Place, and 89 Hicks Street have 69 renovated apartments, all studios and one-bedrooms. Eight of them are rent stabilized. Rents run the gamut from $2,500 for a studio to $4,700 for a 1.5-bedroom with a private backyard. (more…)

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Do you remember 102 Gates Avenue, an estate sale condition Italianate in Clinton Hill that attracted 350 people to the open house in early 2013? Well, now it’s been beautifully restored and is going on the market in a few weeks, according to a story in the BK to the Fullest. Click through to the jump to see the “after” photos of the restored house.

When it was a House of the Day, we said, “Here’s the kind of listing we love to see: The house needs restoration, but just about every original detail appears to be present.” (more…)