On the market in Brooklyn Heights, an early 19th century brick townhouse will perhaps test the advantages of a large and elaborate home in a historic district compared to the latest trophy penthouses. This through-the-block compound at 88 Remsen Street comprises a five-story townhouse, carriage house, garage and four outdoor spaces. It has all the mod cons and then some, including two underground screening rooms, one of which includes an atrium with a skylit shower.
The circa 1838 red brick townhouse with a striking oriel window above its front door at 88 Remsen Street was likely Greek Revival in style before 19th century alterations. In the classic book “Old Brooklyn Heights” by Clay Lancaster, he speculates that the 1830s house was incorporated into a post-Civil War rehab, which then had another remodeling in the early 20th century with some Colonial Revival touches.
At any rate, it’s certainly spacious and replete with historic details and upscale alterations. The ground floor is given over to a triple parlor with grand arched doorways, parquet with elaborate decorative borders, down lights, and floor-to-ceiling windows. In the front room is an early 20th century neo-Colonial mantel with a marble surround.
The middle parlor features a Greek Revival-style mantel with columns and a black and gold-veined marble surround. Through Italianate-style pocket doors with etched glass is the rear parlor, which features a modern-style gas fireplace with a black and gold-veined marble surround. This room is situated in a rear extension. The floorboards are wide and bay windows look into the garden.
Built-in cabinets wrap around a post-Civil War arched opening to the kitchen, which features Shaker-style cabinets along with a huge Wolf stove and Sub-Zero fridge. A small deck with stairs to the garden extends from the kitchen.
What’s notable on the upper levels is the inclusion of en suite bathrooms with nearly every room. There are seven bathrooms altogether on the upper floors, compared to five bedrooms, alongside a sitting room and a fifth-floor home office. A laundry is located on the fourth floor beside the deck, which sits on top of the rear extension. And let’s not forget to mention the roof deck atop the fifth floor.
All that is a lot, but there’s also a garden-level apartment.
On the other side of the nicely landscaped backyard, the carriage house has a garage, a one-bedroom apartment above, and a screening room below. This underground room is lit from above via an atrium with skylights that extends under the backyard, exposing a grotto-like stone wall and a glass-enclosed step-in shower. The carriage house is also known as 17 Grace Court Alley, and the garage is accessed from that street.
The listing, from Nancy Giddins of Brown Harris Stevens, doesn’t mention mechanicals but the photos show central air conditioning slots, so presumably the systems are recent and top notch.
88 Remsen Street last sold in 2008 for a then neighborhood record-breaking $10.8 million, as we reported at the time (not $6.48 million, as PropertyShark says). According to the listing from that sale, the property had been previously owned for 30 years by a former chairman of Morgan Stanley. (Notable 19th century residents include Henry D. and Caroline Polhemus, the founder of the Polhemus Memorial Clinic at 300 Henry Street, now luxury housing, historic records show.)
Now the property is asking $18 million, which is a lot for the Heights — but it’s also a lot of house. If the property does get ask, it will eclipse the all-time Brooklyn residential record, set by Matt Damon, reportedly, one year ago for a $16,745,121 triplex penthouse in The Standish.
What would you say are its chances?
- Find Your Dream Home in Brooklyn and Beyond With the New Brownstoner Real Estate
- Brooklyn Heights Mansion Fetches Record-Breaking Price
- Brooklyn Heights Greek Revival With Black Marble Mantels, Decks, Landscaping Asks $6.25 Million