This 1887 Neo-Grec brownstone in Park Slope is a throwback to a time before the owner-architect-contractor triangle became the established model for construction as a way of managing risk. 296 6th Avenue was the owner-architect-builder Christopher P. Skelton’s jewel of the row, bookending the block with a full four-story building embellished with all of the decorative care of a house-proud designer. He lived in the corner lot until 1911.
Its angular cornice, cast-iron balustrade over the door hood, ornate patterns inscribed on the stoop newel posts, and stylized Neo-Grec incised patterns on the brownstone window frames perhaps show off the owner-designer relishing being his own boss.
The corner lot has special advantages in both the window exposures on the 2nd Street side, where Skelton added a three-sided bay topped with a balcony to the two-sided bay in front, as well as the extraordinary four-car garage, stealing the space of the garden but making up for it with an extensive patio with planters, benches, and an area for a large dining table, according to the floor plan.
Inside, similar flourishes abound. The door and window frames are carved with extensive patterns and continue the stylized floral motif. The details on pier mirrors, mantels, inlaid wood floor borders, stained glass transoms, and plaster moldings and medallions reflect the embellishments of the period.
The building is organized as a triplex over an expansive one-bedroom rental on the ground floor. The bay window, topped by stained glass, forms part of the parlor in the triplex.
The triplex kitchen, located at the side of the dining room on the parlor floor, is renovated with Shaker-style cabinets and has plenty of counter space despite being relatively constrained in size compared to the overall building. A door from the dining room leads out to the deck.
None of the the five bathrooms are pictured, although a pass-through on the third floor has been reconfigured into a very large dressing room, which contains two sinks and four closets. The front facing bedroom has bookcases built into the front corner, and a carved-wood mantel with mirror and tile.
Altogether there are seven bedrooms, according to the listing, but the floor plan shows only five on the upper two floors and one in the garden rental.
It’s not in the Park Slope Historic District, but traces of its original construction and sale can be found in the June 25, 1887 edition of American Architect and Building News and an ad in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which describes cherry wood in the parlor and brick arches in the cellar. The owner was also the realtor, in effect. Skelton also developed a number of houses in the Prospect Heights.
There’s an open house on Sunday, March 31 from 2 to 4 pm, with the listing being handled by Nicole Galluccio and Rowan Meadowsweet of Corcoran. At $5.285 million, it’s not cheap, but is it worth it for its location, size and condition?
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