This listing is a head-turner for more reasons than one. The house itself is a stunner — a painstakingly restored 1895 Renaissance Revival Bed Stuy brownstone loaded with original details and exquisite Victorian-style updating.
And the sale will come as a shock to many — at 538 Decatur Street, it’s the home of a couple known to many Brownstoner readers and Bed Stuy residents who are restoring or renovating houses. (They requested Brownstoner not mention their names.)
The couple spent many years and expended endless effort on their meticulous renovation, which incorporated everything from reproduction historic wallpapers to a period-inspired custom cellar hatch door to custom paints hand-mixed from pigment. One of them, a set designer, did much of the work himself.
So it’s a surprise to learn that the couple — who’ve been tireless proponents of landmarking Bed Stuy East — are putting their labor of love on the market and moving on.
The particulars: the house is 18 feet wide, bay-fronted and three stories. It’s a legal two-family with a rental apartment on the top floor, or it can be used as a single residence.
There are two bedrooms and a kitchenette on the top floor, a dining room and full kitchen on the garden level and a double parlor in between, with a guest bedroom in a small rear extension, according to the floor plan.
Details include beveled pier mirrors, oak wainscoting, five fireplaces with tiled surrounds, entry doors with bronze grilles, stained glass window transoms, oak parquet floors with inlays, fretwork, built-in glass-doored bookshelves and pocket doors with restored hardware.
The garden-floor kitchen is gorgeous and distinctive, with a period-style AGA Legacy range, an island made using legs from an old piano, original glass-doored cabinetry, a functioning speaking tube, a concealed Bosch dishwasher, and a double farmhouse-style soapstone sink with brass faucets.
Last, there’s a lovely back garden with a cedar fence, bluestone pavers, rusted-steel planters and plantings including a Japanese pine and a “highly productive” cherry tree.
In all, a distinctive house with a distinctive pedigree, which won’t speak to every buyer but which will cry out to some.
Listed by Judith Lief of Corcoran, the house is asking $1.695 million. What are your thoughts?
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