A Look Inside a Hancock Street House


    The three-block stretch of Hancock Street between Bedford and Tompkins is one of the most remarkable architecturally in Brooklyn, and in fact, was the focus of this year’s Bed Stuy house tour, which took place Saturday. The Landmarks Preservation Committee will hold a hearing on landmarking this area and the surrounding blocks, known as the proposed Bedford Historic District, next week, on Oct. 30. Well, if you’ve ever wondered what some of these houses look like inside, here’s a glimpse. We attended an open house Sunday at 261 Hancock Street. This Renaissance Revival style house was built in 1891 by developer William Reynolds, according to the listing. (It also has a few Aesthetic Movement details, such as that screen above, from a photo on the Corcoran listing.) We don’t know the architect, although an attendee who lives nearby speculates based on similarities to two other nearby houses that it could be Swedish architect Magnus Dahlander, who designed a number of fine buildings throughout Brooklyn at this time. (That screen also reminds us of one in a nearby George Chappell house at 271 Jefferson Avenue.) All in all, it’s a grand Victorian, with an onyx fireplace, lavish woodwork, and unique details we haven’t seen anywhere else, such as the plaster corner decoration below. It also retains its original windows, a rarity in Brooklyn. By the way, in case you’re interested in the real estate aspect, the house is priced at $949,000, and will go to best and final this week, most likely today, in fact, according to one of the agents at the open house Thursday. We estimate it needs at least $300,000 of work, including electrical, plumbing, and restoration of kitchen, bathrooms, and plaster. The kitchen has all its original built-ins. (There might also be some issues with an extension and the first-floor flooring.)
    261 Hancock Street [Corcoran]
    Update: A Corcoran broker just called to say best and final bids will be taken Thursday. There will be two more opportunities to view the house by appointment today and Wednesday.

    Above, the elaborate staircase with its original finish, from the Corcoran listing.
    The tiled entry with a very unusual pattern.
    The elaborate carved closets in the rear parlor.

    A marble bar in the downstairs dining room, with a glimpse of the butler’s pantry that connects to the kitchen.

    A detail of the fireplace in the front bedroom.

    An unusual plaster detail in the main bedroom.

    A bathroom with original tile.

    An aquatic-themed stained glass window over a rolled glass window in the same bathroom. This bathroom also retains its original gas-and-electric combo wall sconce.

    The stained glass skylight, in need of a little cleaning and restoration.

    The building exterior.

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