An extravagant but dilapidated Brooklyn brownstone famed as the family home in Spike Lee’s Crooklyn made headlines when it sold for $1,700,000 in 2013. Now newly restored and decorated, the home debuted Saturday as a bed and breakfast.
Built in 1887 in the Renaissance Revival style, the house was designed by one of the borough’s finest 19th century architects, George P. Chappell. It is full of his signature original touches, such as as custom woodwork with foliate motifs you won’t find in any other row of brownstones.
There are elaborate original wood mantels with colorful Minton-style tiles. The rear parlor, set up as a dining room, has an original built-in dish cupboard.
The house was in estate condition when the current owner, Elizabeth Mandarano, bought it. A lawyer and mother of a young child, Mandarano was looking for an investment property and had no plans to renovate, she told the Brooklyn Reader.
“I had no interest in doing a restoration,” she said. “I was looking for an investment property in Bed Stuy. I had a deal on Halsey that fell through.” But the details won her over immediately.
The ask was $1,300,000 (it went for $400,000 over). The photos from the 2013 sales listing can still be seen on Streeteasy, although they are miniscule.
Mandarano hired brownstone restoration experts to strip painted wood work and restore the bathrooms. The kitchen, on the ground floor, is entirely new and modern, with rustic exposed beams and a brick floor laid in a herringbone pattern.
One surprise that came to light during the renovation was an inscription on one of the fireplaces, which says “The Canty Hearth Where Cronies Meet.” (“Canty” means “happy.”)
Mandarano added a lot of modern-meets-Victorian touches, such as new Lincrusta wallpaper, Dutch-style paintings with modern motifs such as t-shirts and a can of Coke, and toile wallpaper in the dining room showing modern scenes of Brooklyn.
A bar located in the cellar