A brick Italianate in the Fort Greene Historic District has some charming original details, including a facade with brownstone trim, bracketed doorway hood and arched entry doors. Its curved railings match those of a family of neighbors from Nos. 290 through 296, all built alongside it in 1865 or so. Perhaps making up for 290 Clermont Avenue’s unusually slim 15-foot width, along with the details it has an adorable landscaped garden in back with a slate patio, granite borders and abundant flowering plants.
Inside, its current use as a single-family, the wide doorway from the foyer, and location of its staircase toward the rear leave space for a front parlor that still feels relatively open for its size, helped by a tall window that is a trademark of the period. In fact, thanks to the staircase, all the other rooms in the house are able to occupy the entire width of the building, including a spacious living room in the front of the garden level.
The house is accented with at least three carved marble mantels, crown molding and original woodwork. The winding staircase has a handsome curved mahogany railing. Past the stair on the garden level, a stylishly updated kitchen has a breakfast island, stainless steel appliances, a green tiled nook in the old fireplace, dark stone countertops, white cabinets, and a door to the garden.
There are four bedrooms on the upper two floors with closets tucked behind the stairs, and tastefully refinished bathrooms are on the parlor and top floors. One has a powder blue accent color above wainscoting, a glass enclosed shower and a skylight. The other bathroom has vintage wallpaper, white tiles and antique-style fittings.
But there are none on the garden level or, inconveniently, the third floor, where two of the bedrooms are located. The arrangement is probably a holdover from the home’s previous configuration as a double duplex. The wood floors throughout appear to be new.
290 Clermont is in the Fort Greene Historic District, and according to the designation report the row of four houses was erected for Isaac Carhart, who if it’s the selfsame Carhart as in this 1897 Brooklyn Eagle obit, began as a blacksmith, became an iron railing manufacturer, and rose to the level of Mechanics’ Bank president.
The report notes all four houses have brownstone half-basements, flush stone lintels with projecting sills on the upper stories, and simple wooden cornices. This one and its more generously proportioned, three-bay-wide neighbor have ornate doorway hoods with stylized brackets. (The neighbor stands out especially for its pronounced three-sided window bay with four arched Italianate windows topped with a bracketed and dentilled cornice.)
The certificate of occupancy says it’s a two-family, although it’s currently in use as one, with a single kitchen on the ground floor and laundry and utilities in the cellar. An alternate floor plan in the listing suggests adding a bathroom on the garden level and a second kitchen in the front of the parlor floor to transform the house into a triplex over a floor-through apartment (Our two cents: A kitchen off the entry is awkward, not big enough for dining, and might not play well with the house’s best mantel. We’d mull a combined kitchen-dining room in the rear of the parlor level or restoring the parlor floor and moving kitchen and dining upstairs to the third.)
See it for yourself at an open house this Sunday, March 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Listed by John Caraccioli and Harlan Simon with Halstead, it’s asking $2.675 million. Charming enough to fetch list price?
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