This well-preserved three-family in the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District is part of a row of Romanesque and Renaissance Revival houses built between 1894 and 1897 designed by Magnus Dahlander & Associates, the prolific Swedish native architect. The polygonal bay, swag and garland carvings, and bracketed cornice of 256 Decatur Street give it some punch on the street, but that’s nothing compared to the entry hall, which resembles the courtyard of a Renaissance villa, or the double parlor, whose ornate fretwork screen practically has trumpets blaring a fanfare.
The brownstone looks to have been in the hands of the same family since 1977, when it appears to have been purchased for a mere $36,500. The deed should come with some kind of special covenant that says, OWNER MUST LOVE WOOD, because it’s replete with mahogany-stained china cabinets (whose drawer fronts need a little repair), trim, moldings, doors, paneling, fretwork and a grand staircase. Modernizing the layout would be a serious crime against historic architecture.
It also has stained glass skylights, a pier mirror and seven fireplaces with mantels. With four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms in 4,412 square feet, it’s got plenty of room to play with.
It’s configured as two floor-through apartments over a duplex. The original configuration is more or less intact, with one set of passthroughs still extant on the top floor. Each floor has a bathroom, and the two bedrooms in the owner’s duplex are located in the extension. Only the parlor floor is pictured, so the condition of the other rooms is something of a mystery.
Located near shops on Lewis on one of the neighborhood’s most architecturally distinguished blocks, it’s close to the A and C trains at the Utica stop. Listed by Chris Manno of Halstead, it’s asking $3 million. How much is the star-chitecture of another era worth?
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