After we posted about the New York Times’ article on restoring non-existent stoops, a reader sent in these photos and the story of his own amazing stoop restoration. When he moved into this house in Park Slope, it was stoopless, and a window had replaced the main front-door entrance. Rumor has it that most of the houses in his row lost their cast iron railings during a WWII scrap metal drive, he said. He’s been renovating the whole house little by little as time and money has allowed.
The stoop was a big project about eight years ago. After I had the paint stripped and the facade repointed, the additional brick that closed up the door opening (it was converted to a window when the house was de-stooped) was removed and I built the new door frame and installed a vintage door. Still, it was “a door to nowhere” until the stoop arrived.
He found a suitable contractor nearby, Bay Ridge Iron Restoration, which is actually in Gowanus, and brought them sketches and photos of dozens of stoops around the area. The railing is new, and the newel posts were cast from a mold made of an original post in the neighborhood.
I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted; a metal frame that would allow light and air under the stoop as most under-stoop entrances looked dank and dark. But I also wanted brownstone treads for a warmer look and more of a suitable profile… I showed him the newel posts I wanted in one photo, and he said “let me show you what I’ve got” and led me to the shop’s loft where he had sets of original and cast iron repros of almost exactly what I wanted!
While he was at it, he ordered new, matching window bars for the garden level. A cement subcontractor set the base, and a company in the Bronx cast the treads to exactly match the house’s existing stone. This was eight years ago, and the whole thing cost $19,000. Our reader is now restoring his living room!