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A homeowner is laying out a garden level rental unit and is trying to figure out the best placement for the kitchen. They were thinking of putting it in the middle of the unit, replacing the pantry and a closet. Have other homeowners done this rather than placing the kitchen in the rear? What are the pros and cons?

Please chime in with your advice.


Need a professional opinion? Try Brownstoner Services, where you can talk to a concierge (it’s free) or browse our community of pros. >>


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Here’s a fine figure of an Italianate brownstone, a late 19th century number with plenty of intact details and tasteful updating. Built circa 1869, it’s at 403 Clermont Avenue, in the Fort Greene Historic District.

Twenty feet wide and roughly 41 feet deep, it offers a triplex over a garden rental. The triplex is an above-average living space, with a lovely, high-ceilinged parlor floor, offering a living room with floor-to-ceiling windows with a vertical pier mirror in between, an ornate, carved marble mantel (one of six in the house), elaborate ceilings and an arched set of pocket doors leading to the kitchen.

Said kitchen is a spacious one, with a lengthy stone-topped island, a wine fridge, another floor to ceiling window and a door leading to a small balcony.

Save this listing on Brownstoner Real Estate to get price, availability and open house updates as they happen >>

With approximately 3,280 square feet, there are five bedrooms above, with three large windows and wide-ish plank oak flooring in the front bedroom.

There’s central air conditioning and a rear garden accessible from the duplex via a spiral staircase, with a bluestone patio.

Listed by Vicki Negron of Corcoran, the house wants $3 million. What do you think?

[Listing: 403 Clermont Avenue | Broker: Corcoran] GMAP

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

 

Brooklyn Homes for Sale in Fort Greene at 403 Clermont Avenue

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A client approached the team at Madera with a wish: He had grown up with a unique herringbone floor, and he wanted to re-create it in his four-story brownstone in Bed Stuy.

James Robb, co-owner of Madera, provider of sustainable wood flooring and wood products for the building industry since 2013, knew that reclaimed wood was the wise choice, for these three reasons:

reclaimed wood nyc

1. It’s got wabi-sabi: “It has what the Japanese call ‘wabi’ — that worn elegance and imperfection that you can’t re-create through a new product,” he said. “But we also didn’t want something so rustic that it looked like a barn.”

2. It’s about…forgiveness: No matter the choice, reclaimed wood is more forgiving, and won’t suffer from the same amount of seasonal contraction — when cold winters rob a room of humidity, new wood shrinks and gets damaged. “Reclaimed wood has done a lot of its expansion and contraction already,” said Robb.

reclaimed wood nyc

3. Keeps wood out of landfill: Madera sources their reclaimed material from places like old tobacco barns and warehouses in the Carolinas, a bourbon distillery in Kentucky, and the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg. “Iconic places with history,” explained Robb. “But more important, it saves the wood from the scrap heap.”

So it was settled: wine tank material, sourced from the Pleasant Valley Winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York (yes, the wood did smell like wine).

reclaimed wood nyc

Before the contractors took up the old linoleum floors in the brownstone, the Madera crew came in for a consult, alongside Reggie Young of Brooklyn Lime Work, to select the right product for the site conditions —- an algorithm influenced by the presence of concrete slabs, or radiant heating, among other things, as well as the owner’s aesthetic.

“These can make the difference between choosing a wide-plank barn oak or heart pine, with clean interior face or original dirty face,” said Robb.

reclaimed wood nyc

Madera got wind of the Bed Stuy project from Young, a conservation consultant and project manager who spends much of his time researching and teaching green preservation and conservation techniques. “He incorporates sustainable technologies into as many of his projects as possible,” said Robb.

reclaimed wood nyc

And in Brooklyn, for the last five years, those projects have been on the upswing. “We’re able to provide Brooklyn residents with wood floor options without having to go to a fancy showroom in Manhattan,” he said, adding that the market has been “gangbusters” for the past several years.

“We’re all craving authenticity,” he said, “and reclaimed wood gives us a genuine connection to real materials, to our heritage.”

For more information call (718) 484-7260 Ext.2, or go to the Madera website.

There was a consensus in the room, if only slightly.

Residents who gathered in the Crown Gardens Community Room in Crown Heights for Community Board 9’s ULURP Committee meeting Tuesday night were unanimous about their displeasure regarding the main topic on the agenda, which was the redevelopment of the old spice factory, originally Consumer’s Park Brewery, at 960 Franklin Avenue in south Crown Heights.

For the redevelopment to happen, the developer is seeking a rezoning of the site under the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program.

community board 9 agrees on not rezoning crown heights

Photo by Craig Hubert

“This is the equivalent of a neighborhood rezoning,” Esteban Giron, a member of the Crown Heights Tenant Union and part of CB9’s land use committee, told the audience. “This is major.”

The current proposal comprises six towers, ranging from 15 to 37 stories high. Included will be 1,500 apartments, half of which will be affordable, with 300 of those at 50 percent of the area median income, according to Michael Liburd, chair of Brooklyn Community Board 9’s ULURP committee, which considers land use and zoning variances.

brooklyn development crown heights consumers brewery 960 franklin avenue

Photo by Susan De Vries

Continuum, the developer, said they will have a new proposal in the new couple of weeks, Liburd told the crowd. “I doubt that the new plan calls for reducing the size of these buildings,” he added. “I expressed that this community is looking to downzone, so 37 stories is a nonstarter.”

Everybody who spoke was in agreement, even if some took issue with exactly how they should proceed. When Liburd began, his words signaled a compromise between the community and the developer.

“What should we be asking for around this project?” he asked.

“Nothing!” a number of people shouted back.

community board 9 agrees on not rezoning crown heights

Michael Liburd. Photo by Craig Hubert

Liburd attempted to quiet down the crowd numerous times, some of whom expressed they were becoming increasingly frustrated at what they felt was a discussion that was going in circles and a general lack of input from the public. At times, minor arguments derailed conversations, and a general confusion over the details being discussed caused the meeting to quickly lose focus.

“We do not need to engage the public at these meetings,” Liburd said at one point, seemingly out of frustration, to the dismissive shouts of those who felt they were not able to speak.

While Liburd attempted to unite the crowd by reminding them that they were all on the same page in terms of their rejection of the proposal, others such as Tim Thomas, a CB9 member and author of the Q at Parkside blog, remained skeptical. “My cynicism just keeps growing,” he said. “Basically, the die has been cast on most of this stuff. But I think keeping up the fight is important.”

community board 9 agrees on not rezoning crown heights

Alicia Boyd. Photo by Craig Hubert

The activist Alicia Boyd, who for most of the meeting stood in the corner, filming the proceedings, thunderously spoke of the proposed development’s relationship to the nearby Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park.

“We are now considering the idea that we can negotiate to have a 40-story building impede on the garden when the whole reason it was downzoned was to protect it,” she said. “This is our neighborhood. That is our garden.”

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For eight hot weeks in the summer of 1988, Spike Lee took over an entire block of Stuyvesant Avenue, between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue, in Bed Stuy. As crews began to transform the street — cleaning up some of the buildings, while erecting new ones on two adjacent lots — the neighborhood watched from their windows and glanced from the sidewalk.

Some were elated, others concerned. Was this beneficial to the community or an intrusion? The documentarian St. Clair Bourne was there to capture it all. He and his small crew were hired by Lee to produce a behind-the-scenes film, which were standard components of press kits. Most of the time, these don’t go beyond the average fluff of promotional material. But Lee wanted something different. He was convinced what he was making was unique and needed somebody to film every facet of the creative process.

a portrait of the bed stuy block when do the right thing was filmed

Filmmaker St. Clair Bourne while making ‘The Black and the Green.’ Photograph by Roy Lewis via First Run Features

The 81-minute “Making ‘Do the Right Thing’” stretched beyond what Lee and his collaborators were doing preparing for the film. Screening at the Metrograph as part of a larger series about St. Clair Bourne — including films about Amiri Baraka and Langston Hughes — that opens on Friday, February 16, Bourne’s film is an intimate portrait of a neighborhood amidst transition, attempting to determine how the arrival of a big-budget film production will change their neighborhood.

“My family has been here for 125 years,” says a local woman in the film. “So we have seen the changes. My mother, when she came here, it was gas lights and carriages and horses.”

Bourne grew up in Bed Stuy and his personal connection to the people is felt at different points throughout the film. “He pushed to get as much depth to the story as he could,” said J.T. Takagi, a sound recordist, filmmaker and the Executive Director of Third World Newsreel, who worked with Bourne on the film. She remembers that Bourne also, in the spirit of the film Lee was making, insisted on having a diverse crew around him for the shoot.

a portrait of the bed stuy block when do the right thing was filmed

Image via First Run Features

This helped him get access to the local residents. “Bourne was a very charming man,” Takagi said, remembering that he was able to convince people to talk on camera who may have had no interest when the conversation began. This leads to some of the most fascinating parts of Bourne’s film, including the ongoing story of a woman who, attempting to stay out of a shelter, manages to secure a job cleaning up every morning for the film’s production crew. When she struggles, disappearing for a few days, the community helps her out, and she is able to get her job back.

While the documentary also observes members of the Nation of Islam, who were hired by Lee, helping to clean up a building on the block that was occupied by drug dealers, others in the neighborhood find their efforts futile.

a portrait of the bed stuy block when do the right thing was filmed

The boombox carried by Radio Raheem in the film. Photo via the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

“The movie itself is not going to bring patrolmen on the corner; it’s not going to bring us a stoplight,” a skeptical local man tells Bourne in the film. “These are things themselves that people in the neighborhood need to work on. The President of the United States can come through here — they’ll clean the street for one day, but that’s it.”

Others in Bed Stuy took inspiration from the film’s presence. “I’m talking about trying to keep our community together,” another local woman says. “Being interested in our property, and our children, and getting things done around here. There’s a lot out here.”

While Bourne’s documentary is attached to Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” it’s better to think of them as adjacent. The documentary takes the position of the community, ending on a film shot of an empty lot on the corner of Stuyvesant Avenue where a set once stood. The film crews have disappeared, the business of that summer now in the past. But the block still remains, the same as it was but looking differently into the future.

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It’s not difficult to explain why The Decker, an eight-story condo building at 21-10 44th Drive in Long Island City, is nearly 70 percent sold.

“Location, location, location,” said Mary Beth McGill, licensed sales person at Modern Spaces, referring to the 7 train nearby at Court Square. “And for the people from Long Island and Brooklyn who are looking at these homes, they love the easy access to the Long Island Expressway too.”

queens homes for sale in LIC

Like a red-brick buoy in Court Square’s sea of glistening glass spires, The Decker was conceived by Kora Developers and Zproekt Architectur as a tribute to the Newtown Creek Towing Company’s wooden workhorse, the W.O. Decker — a steam-powered tugboat built in the 1930s.

queens homes for sale

Its lobby is fitted with cage lamps, exposed brick, and wooden overhead beams, but the mix of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units feature decidedly more modern touches — a Daikin HVAC system for individual heating and cooling, for one.

queens homes for sale in LIC

McGill says one item that’s gone over big is the storage units — tall cages for suitcases and skis — that are included in the price. “A $25,000 value,” she said. Separate bike storage can be purchased for $1,000.

queens homes for sale

The finishes, such as 4-inch-wide natural oak flooring, have been favorably received by a mix of buyers, including local renters and Manhattan residents, Modern Spaces brokers said.

queens homes for sale in LIC

The building has no shortage of options for unwinding, such as a lounge, a recreation room with a pool table and other amusements, and a fitness center. An outdoor “backyard” space has barbecue grills, greenery and lounge furniture. The Manhattan views never seem to get old — neither does a virtual doorman.

queens homes for sale in LIC

Long Island City’s Court Square surrounds The Decker, with shopping and dining. Stop by MoMA PS1 or stroll through Gantry Plaza State Park for an authentic nautical experience inhaling the riverside air and fishing from its piers.

There are playgrounds and running paths too. Nearby are Michelin-rated restaurants Casa Enrique and M. Wells Steakhouse.

queens homes for sale

All sales and marketing are being handled by Modern Spaces.

For more information, check out the building’s website.

Prices start at $725,000.

Now, ahoy.

Here’s a three-bedroom, two-bath condo that sits on the garden level of the John Arbuckle House, an 1888 Romanesque Revival mansion built for the coffee baron by the storied Brooklyn architect Montrose Morris. Now a nine-unit condo building, it’s at 315 Clinton Avenue, on a manse-lined stretch in the Clinton Hill Historic District.

The unit was renovated at some point and fails to match the splendor of the building’s exterior. But it’s still an attractive space that’s in good shape and well laid out, with wide-plank floors and a nicely renovated kitchen and baths.

It sits partly below grade, which doesn’t do much for light or views, especially in the rear bedroom, which has only half-windows sitting high on the wall. On the plus side, there are some groovy and elaborate wrought-iron window guards to look at.

Save this listing on Brownstoner Real Estate to get price, availability and open house updates as they happen >>

The kitchen is on the small side, but it opens to the living room, over a stone-topped counter that accommodates a pair of stools. The living room, on the other hand, is decently sized, and there’s a second family room among the bedrooms with a wall of built-in shelving (though no window).

There’s shared outdoor space, a private entrance and a new split air conditioning system. Basement storage and a laundry room are also included.

Listed by Deborah Rieders and Sarah Shuken of Corcoran, the unit wants $1.45 million. Common charges and taxes will add $1,293 to the monthly nut. Worth it?

[Listing: 315 Clinton Avenue #1 | Broker: Corcoran] GMAP

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

Brooklyn Apartments for Sale in Clinton Hill at 315 Clinton Avenue

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If the Winter Olympics have you dreaming of schussing or spinning, perhaps these vintage images of Brooklynites getting their game on in Prospect Park will give you a push to get outside and enjoy winter in the borough.

brooklyn history photos prospect park history

Curling on the Lake in 1914. Photo via Prospect Park Alliance

While curling was added to the Olympics fairly recently — in 1998 — it is not a new sport. In this vintage snap, Brooklynites are shown testing their skill at the game in 1914. There’s still a place for the sport in Prospect Park: The LeFrak Center is currently home to the Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club.

brooklyn history photos prospect park history

On the ice in 1936. New York City Parks Photo Archive

Ice skating has long been a favorite winter activity in the park, but portions of the ice were also reserved for other icy sports. In addition to curling and ice hockey, other popular sports over the years included ice baseball and ice yachting (also known as ice sailing) — the latter involving a vessel on blades on the ice.

brooklyn history photos prospect park history

Hockey players, circa 1940s. Photo via New York City Parks Photo Archives

While ice yachting seems to have fallen out of favor in the park, ice hockey is still played at the Lefrak Center. For those a bit nervous about being on skates, there’s also Broomball — played with sneakers instead of skates and brooms instead of hockey sticks.

brooklyn history photos prospect park history figure skating

Figure skaters circa 1930s and ’40s. Photo via New York City Parks Photo Archives

Eager to get out onto the lake, every year skating enthusiasts would look for a red ball to be raised near the water, indicating that the ice was thick enough for skating. In 1884, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle bragged the ice of Prospect Park was usually ready for skating “long before the officials at Central Park send up the signal at their park,” allowing thousands of Brooklynites to pack the ice and enjoy “Jack Frost’s benefits.”

brooklyn history photos prospect park history

Skaters in front of the Boathouse, circa 1950s. Photo via Prospect Park Archives

Instead of the Boathouse, skating in the park is now centered at the LeFrak Center with open skates as well as the annual Lakeside Open Competition on Feburary 25 when skaters can sign up to compete in age categories from toddler to adult.

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