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“These clients were not afraid of color. They kept saying, ‘More!'” recalled Chelsie Lee, project manager for Jessica Helgerson Interior Design (JHID). The Portland, Oregon-based firm had been hired to furnish a young couple’s newly purchased 20’x45′ brick row house in Fort Greene.

The building had recently been gut-renovated by the Brooklyn Home Company, with a new two-story extension on the back and a new interior staircase.

“We did a little light remodeling, like adding doors to the built-in cabinetry in the dining room to make it symmetrical,” said Lee, but the designers’ mandate was to realize the vision of the new homeowners: décor that was bold and playful.

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The Brooklyn Home Company broke ground recently on a four-unit condo building at 84 Congress Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District. A joint venture with MESH Architectures, this project looks nothing like Brooklyn Home Company’s conversions in historic buildings we wrote about last week, as a rendering on the fence shows.

Designed by Mesh Architecture, the 6,720-square-foot building between Columbia and Hicks Streets will have four duplexes, basement storage, a one-car garage and a private roof terrace for the penthouse. Although the rendering shows six stories, including a set back, the permit specifies five.

A new building application was filed over a year ago, but the DOB didn’t issue permits until January 24. Brooklyn Home snapped up the small property for $1,550,000 in October 2012, public records show, with a one-story factory on the lot, now demolished.

A few blocks away there is a green condo building under construction. The building at 84 Congress will take nine months to a year to complete. Thanks to a tipster for sending in the rendering. What do you think of the design? GMAP

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Development and architectural firm The Brooklyn Home Company has seven projects under construction in various Brooklyn neighborhoods, including brownstone condo conversions, new condo developments and townhouse renovations. Brooklyn Home principal and developer Bill Caleo sent us a full list of the developments, their progress and renderings for four of them:

  • 256 Cumberland Street, a condo project (gut renovation with addition) will be complete in the next two weeks to a month. The brownstone facade has been fully restored. Attorney General approval is in process/imminent.
  • 77 Douglass Street, a condo project (gut renovation) will be complete around May 1. AG approval is in process.
  • 27 Lincoln Place, a luxury two-family townhouse (gut renovation and addition) will be complete around April 15.
  • 27 7th Avenue is a luxury two-family townhouse with garden rental and owner’s triplex (pictured above). The partial gut renovation will be complete around May 1. The front facade, which has details featured in the Landmark Preservation Commission handbook, has been restored.  The unusual building was designed by the same architect who built the church on Lincoln Place and 6th Avenue in Park Slope. There is lots of original detail on the interior as well, which has been restored.
  • 340 Dean Street, a condo project, broke ground recently. Brooklyn Home is currently building the foundation and estimates 11 to 14 months to completion.
  • 559-563 Carroll Street, a condo project broke ground recently. They are finishing up the foundation. Will finish up in 11 to 14 months.
  • 84 Congress Street, a condo project (and a joint venture between The Brooklyn Home Company and MESH Architectures) has broken ground. Will take nine months to a year to complete.
More renderings after the jump!
Renderings by Lily Barberich

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This is The Insider, Brownstoner’s weekly report on a recent renovation/interior design project in the borough of Brooklyn. It’s written and produced by Cara Greenberg, who blogs at casaCARA: Old Houses for Fun and Profit. Find it here every Thursday at 11:30AM.


WILLIAM CALEO’S BUSINESS is doing what he loves to do: renovate vintage townhouses. A former actor, he bought and refurbished his own Park Slope brownstone in 2004, later founding the Brooklyn Home Company with several partners. To date, most of TBHCo’s dozen or so projects have been traditional brownstones converted to floor-through apartments and sold as condominiums. There are two new-construction projects in the planning stages, including an 11-story building on Bergen Street between Third and Fourth Avenues.

The Brooklyn Home Company is a one-stop shop with an artistic bent — a real-estate development company with its own in-house construction firm, architects, and design team, all the way up to sales and marketing. Caleo’s sister Lyndsay is the creative force behind the company’s interiors. When a project is ready for market, TBHCo will fully stage one unit per building with furnishings custom-designed for that unit, often by Fitzhugh Karol, a sculptor and furniture designer.

Each unit in a TBHCo building is treated entirely separately — no cookie-cutter design here. “Every space has a certain spirit to it,” Lyndsay says, even when it’s little more than a shell. She sees her task as “getting the details right while respecting what’s already there,” re-using old brick and wood wherever possible. “They have a beautiful patina that took 100 years to acquire.”

The parlor floor of this classic 1870s brownstone — a 20’x80′ building with lots of existing detail and an extension dating back almost to the time of its original construction — was part of the company’s first project. “I poured my guts into it,” Caleo says, even painstakingly going over the wide plank floors “probably ten or twelve times” with low-grit sandpaper. They sold the apartment to Lesley Townsend, who runs Manhattan Cocktail Classic, an annual cocktail festival. Lesley selected the paint finishes and furnishings, choosing to keep some of Fitzhugh’s imaginative pieces.

Much more on the jump…

Photos: Emily Gilbert www.emilygilbertphotography.com