This Italianate brick townhouse in Gowanus has already attracted its shared of press attention, renovated and decorated by the designer couple of Merrill Lyons of Lyons Design Studio and and Charles Brill of Rich Brilliant Willing lighting. Featured in Dwell in 2016, 191A 8th Street was gutted and refinished with the latest “on trend” styles and colors. The result is certainly impeccably contemporary — and priced to match — with preserved details like marble mantels standing out all the more for the streamlined quality of everything else.

The fluted window frames with concentric circle rosettes, baseboards and wainscoting — all painted in shades of gray to match the mantels — gives the whole place a unified aesthetic. It’s enlivened by pops of color: Kitchen cabinets and a powder room are highlighted with mint hued tones, the staircase and cement floor tiles in blue, and the foyer with bright orange.

A deck was added to the parlor level, accessed via a doorway from the open plan kitchen. Stairs lead down to an equally soigné gravel-filled garden, which features a grid of planting beds bordered with rusted steel and an irrigation system.


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The garden level rental beneath the owner’s duplex is likewise updated with a cleanly designed new kitchen. There’s new oak flooring, mini split air conditioning and a security system with an outdoor Nest camera.

Pricewise, it can be compared to its neighbor to the west, which we wrote about when it was on the market and sold last year for $3.485 million.

It has the same 16.67-foot width and was also designed by Lyons, but it has an extra floor not visible from the street.

This one has about 2,000 square feet of living space and last sold, before the current renovation, for $1.41 million in 2014. Now it’s asking $3.195 million.

Lindsay Barton Barrett, Christina Abad and Cristina Criado of Douglas Elliman are handling the listing. Think it will get ask?

[Listing: 191A 8th Street | Broker: Douglas Elliman] GMAP

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

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191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

191a 8th street

[Photos by Travis Mark for Douglas Elliman]

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A homeowner is looking to maintain some privacy and block the view of the new five-story building visible from their backyard. They are thinking of planting some fast-growing trees and are looking for some suggestions. What trees have done the trick for other homeowners?

Please chime in with your advice.


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In the News

Spring is in the air and the borough is blooming. Hidden among its churches and stoops, Brooklyn also has a bountiful botany selection — and not just in the cut-flower racks of bodegas.

Looking to invest in some window-box tulips or a bit of greenery for that stoop planter or backyard? These seven garden centers offer a diverse array of plants to suit any garden in our clime, including many that can thrive with the help of just a little love and sunshine.

We left off the obvious national chains and focused on independent and local operations that carry harder-to-find quality perennials, shrubs and evergreens in quantities suitable for garden design and landscaping. Below, seven spots with big enough selection of outdoor plants to be worth a special trip.

Brooklyn Gardening

Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo via Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
In addition to being a year-round borough green space, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden also annually hosts one of the largest plant sales in the metropolitan area. While the garden sells indoor plants and related paraphernalia in its gift shop and online store, the annual plant sale is a major event, featuring not just a large selection of greenery for purchase but also free talks and workshops by BBG curators. For the few days of the sale, the Cherry Esplanade sports a bigger selection of herbs, vegetables, annuals and perennials for sun and shade than most other garden centers in Brooklyn. Edibles, dahlias, and roses are especially plentiful.

990 Washington Avenue. The plant sale takes place every year in early May. It opens the first evening for members only from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and then opens to the public the following day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

brooklyn terminal market

Brooklyn Terminal Market. Photo by Susan De Vries

Brooklyn Terminal Market
A retail and wholesale market operating in Canarsie since 1942, Brooklyn Terminal Market is home to two nurseries, A. Visconti Inc. and Brooklyn Plantology by Lapide. Most easily reached by car, the market specializes in produce and seasonal goods and is known for its reasonable prices. The two nurseries are no exception and boast a large selection of perennials, evergreens, indoor plants and seasonal decorations, typically for slightly less than what you would pay elsewhere in the borough.

Brooklyn Terminal Market (Canarsie). Located at 14 Brooklyn Terminal Market (at East 83rd and Foster Avenue), A. Visconti Inc. is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Located at 26 South Market Street (entrance is on East 87th Street and Foster Avenue), Brooklyn Plantology by Lapide is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

brooklyn garden centers

Chelsea Garden Center, Red Hook. Photo by Susan De Vries

Chelsea Garden Center
Originally located in Chelsea, the Chelsea Garden Center now has two locations in Brooklyn. The Red Hook store near Fairway is one of the borough’s largest nurseries, with ample outdoor space and a vast plant selection. The original Chelsea store closed in 2015 and relocated to Williamsburg the same year, opening in a sunny lot in the heart of the busy neighborhood.

The centers sell pottery, garden furniture, acclimated tropical houseplants from Florida and Hawaii, and a huge selection of outdoor shrubs, trees, and perennials.

444 Van Brunt Street (Red Hook); open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 87 Havemeyer Street (Williamsburg); open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

crest hardware

Crest Hardware. Photo by Susan De Vries

Crest True Value Hardware & Urban Garden Center
A 50-year-old family-owned business on Williamsburg’s Metropolitan Avenue, Crest True Value Hardware & Urban Garden Center offers garden tools and accessories and an unexpectedly large selection of plants in its hidden backyard space. Pick up annuals and vegetables from the store’s sidewalk display or browse perennials and shrubs outside in the back. The outdoor selection emphasizes informal-looking plants such as daisy-like coreopsis and rudbeckias, salvias, and simple single- and double-petal roses. Crest also boasts an annual hardware-themed art show with local artists that takes place every year in June inside and out. As well, the shop is home to Franklin, a pot bellied pig.

Crest True Value Hardware & Urban Garden Center is located at 558 Metropolitan Avenue and is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

brooklyn gardening

David Shannon Nursery and Florist. Photo via David Shannon Nursery and Florist

David Shannon Nursery and Florist
Family owned and operated for more than 40 years, David Shannon Nursery and Florist brags of being Brooklyn’s largest greenhouse. Located directly south of Green-Wood Cemetery, David Shannon’s (which is actually run by the Perrotta family) offers colorful annuals, perennials, ground covers, vegetables, shrubs and trees. They deliver to all five boroughs.

3380 Fort Hamilton Parkway. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

brooklyn gardening

Kings County Nurseries in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Photo via Kings County Nurseries via Facebook

Kings County Nurseries
A few blocks east of Prospect Park, in East Flatbush close to Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Kings County Nurseries sells everything from bamboo and berries to sod and stone in its 20,000-square-foot garden center. The mostly outdoor space offers a wide selection of annuals, perennials, evergreens, roses and trees. The nursery’s website also offers a virtual tour for those on the fence about visiting.

625 New York Avenue. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

get garden brooklyn borough

Photo via Sprout

Sprout Home
Yet another Williamsburg-based nursery, Sprout Home specializes in gardening for small urban spaces, including container gardens for rooftops and decks. The store offers a variety of classes on everything from terrarium building to floral design in addition to the array of pots, plants and other supplies featured in its indoor and outdoor space. Founded in 2003, the nursery began in Chicago and opened its second location, in Brooklyn, in 2007. The store maintains large outdoor storage spaces on the block, making its actual inventory larger than it appears in the store. Its backyard space is big on grasses, evergreens, and colorful perennials that offer year-round impact to make the most of small gardens.

Sprout is located at 59 Grand Street and is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

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More than eight years ago, leaks at the Old First Reformed Church in Park Slope caused a portion of the ceiling to collapse. Or so they thought.

“Our approach in a situation like that, if we don’t know what’s going on, is to say by no means should you should be using the sanctuary,” said Michael Devonshire, Director of Conservation at the architectural firm Jan Hird Pokorny Associates. They were hired to oversee repairs at the historic church, the cost of which is projected to total $10 million.

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Designed by the architect George L. Morse, the Old First Reformed Church at 126 7th Avenue, at the corner of Carroll Street, was built in 1893. Neo-Gothic in style, it is not landmarked, falling just outside of the original Park Slope Historic District established in 1973 (it is on the National Register).

old first reformed

Restoration of the ceiling in process. Photo via Milan Church Restoration

When the architects got closer to the ceiling, they discovered the problem. “The copper ribs are made of plaster that’s run in a mold,” said Devonshire. “They were attached to small framing ribs in the ceiling with mild iron screws. The paint that was used on the building is what’s called calcimine paint, a milk protein-based paint that was used on everything in the 19th and very early 20th century. The problem was when it gets damp, even from atmospheric condensation, it wants to turn back into milk.”

The screws, which held the plaster into the wood framing, ended up rusting. The rust caused expansion of the screws, which popped the plaster. Jan Hird Pokorny Associates realized they had to refasten all the ribs.

Calcimine paint had to be stripped off all the ribs, which were repainted, and some were re-created where the material had been lost. The coffered panels, which needed to be touched up, retain their original calcimine paint.

During the first phase of the restoration, the architect firm worked with Milan Church Restoration. Exterior renovations were handled by PRESERV Building Restoration Management.

brooklyn old first

The ceiling was their main concern and their top priority. But more work needed to be done. “When you’ve got a group of contractors mobilized, the best thing to do is everything that you can while they’re there,” said Devonshire. Because they had to take all the pews out to set up the scaffolding to get to the ceiling, they decided to redo the floor, which had asbestos in the existing floor tiles. (It had originally been carpeted, but the carpet was replaced in the 1950s.)

brooklyn old first

And once the floor was done, they decided to reconfigure a new arrangement for the pews. Before setting them into their new arrangement, they also decided to refinish them. The sanctuary, which seats 400 on the ground floor and another 200 in the balcony, now features a center aisle and two new smaller aisles.

After revarnishing the pews, they decided to do the altar as well.

old first brooklyn

All this work allowed the church to reopen on Easter Sunday. But it’s only the beginning. The next phase will tackle the stained glass windows (by Tiffany Studios, William Willet and Otto Heinigke), the rewiring of the main chandelier and repairing the walls and the church’s organ.

“The stained glass in those large rose windows is in very fragile condition,” Devonshire said. The walls, as well, have received “strange” repairs over time.

brooklyn old first

The third and final phase will address the bathrooms and classrooms. The church is still in the process of raising money for the remaining work.

old first

[Photos by Susan De Vries unless otherwise noted]

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The most popular listings on Brownstoner this week include a rental in Carroll Gardens, a grand Italianate in Brooklyn Heights and a brick townhouse in Bed Stuy.

The popular listings are scattered across the borough this week, from Brooklyn Heights to Sunset Park. The least expensive is the Carroll Gardens rental at $3,200 a month and the most expensive is a Park Slope manse at $5.995 million.

Which would you choose?

The Insider: Bright Park Slope Condo Stands Out for Covetable Kitchen and Out-of-the-Ordinary Baths

When a developer purchased a century-old eight-family building outside the Park Slope historic district, he hired a childhood friend, architect Idan Naor of Gowanus-based Idan Naor Workshop, with a plan to massage the corner building, much wider than it is deep, into five condominium apartments.


brooklyn

Houses With Lush Historic Details and Extra Spaces, Including a Garage, to See This Weekend

We have a selection of open houses to see and they start at $1.15 million and include an embellished Italianate in Brooklyn Heights and an updated two-family Italianate in Fort Greene.

6 Things You Must Know Before Installing a Fence

When the groundhog tests the weather in early February, it’s time to start thinking about the rotting fence you never got around to replacing. Fencing comes in a wide variety of styles and materials, not to mention price ranges, from premade fence panels on the low end to custom Ipe horizontal fencing on the high end.

interior design ideas

Photo by Gigi Gatewood

Designer-Architect Couple Transform ‘Burg Bachelor Pad Into Cozy, Kid-Friendly Home

Interior designer Evans Geisler lives in two-story Williamsburg row house with her husband, an architect, and three young sons. The couple purchased the house in 2014 from Geisler’s brother — who bought it off Craigslist in 2007 – and transformed it from bachelor pad into a cozy, kid-friendly home.

60 montgomery place

Photos by Allyson Lubow via The Corcoran Group

Grand Park Slope Mansion With Green Roof, Central Air on Park Block Asks $5.995 Million

As stately Park Slope mansions go, this Romanesque Revival brick and brownstone one designed by C.P.H. Gilbert in 1889-90 is certainly among the grander ones, at least in its street presence, though many of its more opulent interior details seem to have been lost to renovations going back all the way to 1911.

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Their architect has recommended creating two interior bedrooms on the top floor, with only skylights for light and ventilation. The homeowners aren’t sure about the choice and are looking for pros and cons from anyone who has faced the same decision.

Please chime in with your advice.


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This week, our open house picks run the gamut from dolled up Italianates in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill to wood frame and brick townhouses in Downtown Brooklyn and Windsor Terrace with mantels and early 20th century masonry craftsmanship. All feature interesting garden access strategies, with offering prices ranging from $4.75 million in the high end to $1.55 million.

First, a refinished Italianate brownstone at 50 South Portland Avenue in the Fort Greene Historic District, built circa 1864, with a very pronounced bracketed cornice and window and door hoods. It has extensive historic details like marble mantels, rounded doorways, crown molding, parquet and wood plank flooring, as well as a renovated kitchen and bathrooms, plus central air. Beyond the kitchen, its rear extension has been opened from the garden level to the parlor level to create a sunny atrium that opens to the garden. A legal two-family, it’s set up for one, with a garden-level bedroom-bath combination that looks to be designed as an in-law or nanny suite. It’s asking $4.75 million.

An Italianate in Clinton Hill, located at 130 Saint James Place, was built around 1872 and is also in the historic district. It also features a garden-level guest suite, this time with a kitchenette. There’s a deck from the rear parlor with steps to the garden. Details here include pronounced Italianate features on the facade, mantels and wood floors throughout the interior, as well as crown molding and decorative picture and plate rails. The kitchen is renovated with stained cabinets, an island, a chef’s range and stone countertops. It’s looking for $2.995 million.

This 19th century wood frame house at 184 Concord Street is nestled into a tree-lined block along a row of similarly diminutive buildings in an area known as Bridge Plaza, surrounded by the rising high-rises in the foothills of Manhattan Bridge in Downtown Brooklyn. It’s a three-story, three-family vinyl clad townhouse with mantels, and the photos leave an airy impression. The garden level apartment has a rear extension with a bedroom that steps up into the garden; the second floor has a substantial deck; the top floor has skylights. There’s basement storage and a washer and dryer, and it’s asking $2.1 million.

Finally, 599 20th Street in Windsor Terrace is a brick two-family duplex over a garden level studio on a side lot that allows for a dedicated parking spot and a garage currently used as a workspace/ recreation room, in addition to a patio. Built in 1929, it has fancy brickwork on the facade, with arched radiating voussoirs over the second floor windows, diagonal patterns within the arch, a row of headers and diagonals over the first floor windows and alternating English bond stretcher and header rows in the rest of the building face. Inside, it’s looking tidy with a studio in the English basement, and an open kitchen with an island on the garden-level. The private garage has parquet floors, a skylight and exposed beams, with French doors opening onto an ivy filled patio. The pictured bathroom is cleanly updated. It’s asking for $1.55 million.

brooklyn homes for sale
50 South Portland Avenue
Price: $4,750,000
Area: Fort Greene
Broker: Brown Harris Stevens (Terry Naini)
Sunday May 19, 1 – 2pm

See it here ->

brooklyn homes for sale

130 Saint James Place
Price: $2,995,000
Area: Clinton Hill
Broker: Halstead (Ian Johnson, Suzanne DeBrango)
Sunday May 19, 1 – 3 pm

See it here ->


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brooklyn homes for sale

Photo by Udi Almog of H5 via The Corcoran Group

184 Concord Street
Price: $2,100,000
Area: Downtown Brooklyn
Broker: Corcoran (Anna Milat-Meyer, Alexis Segal)
Sunday May 19, 12 – 1:30 pm

See it here ->

brooklyn homes for sale

Photo by Russ Ross via The Corcoran Group

599 20th Street
Price: $1,550,000
Area: Windsor Terrace
Broker: Corcoran (Katie Feola)
Sunday May 19, 12 – 1:30 pm

See it here ->

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