A Family Takes on Mirrored Walls and Pink Bathrooms in a 100-Year-Old Beach House


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.


The living room features a carrara marble mantle from Carrara, Italy, which a former owner had shipped over in 1950

We bought our third 100-year-old home (why go easy on ourselves now?) last summer when an itch to be near the water led us through a few corners of Brooklyn. (We almost pulled the trigger on a tear-down in Mill Basin on a canal with a private boat dock.)

But when this oceanfront home in Sea Gate — a corner of Brooklyn I’d never heard of before — came onto our radar, we were hooked on the view alone.

Our new home was untouched since the 1950s. It is a study in all things midcentury and ancient plumbing: cement walls and flocked wallpaper, mirrored rooms and hidden beams, pink bathrooms and cloth wiring (seemingly installed by Edison himself).


This is one of many pink bathrooms in the house. This one has a wallpapered ceiling

It stolidly stood its ground during Hurricane Sandy, but did receive water damage. So this, coupled with the crusty stuff, led us to the easy conclusion that a full-gut was in order.

Exactly 12 months since buying, we are finally nearing the finish line, and I am excited to share the juicy details with you, and many, many before, during, and after photos.

Let’s get started!


A view of the beach from the enclosed patio off the master bedroom


The second floor landing


A third floor bedroom features metallic blue wallpaper and a view of the ocean


This is the master bathroom, with a view of the bedroom beyond


Clash of the wallpapers: The gold paper on the right was throughout the home, but the pink was a surprise find when we removed a floor-to-ceiling mirror

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