A three-story limestone very close to Prospect Park with a front terrace spacious enough for a small table and chairs, 597 5th Street is another one of those ambivalent properties possessing glorious details, some covered over with paint, others preserved in their original — but dark for our times — Axel Hedman-designed splendor.
A legal two-story, the townhouse is laid out as a single-family with a parlor level replete with a panoply of swags, medallions, wainscoting, wooden mantels with bright tile and classical columns, coffered ceilings, and all the rest we have come to expect from well-appointed houses of this period.
The front parlor’s rear walls angle to draw the visitor from the entry into the center hall, where classical columns form an inglenook opposite a mantel. The paneling and woodwork are still in their impressive original state in the dining room. An oak mantel has a shelf covered with leaded glass doors and an apparently original gas insert.
The circa 1990s kitchen, located in a rear extension, is drab by comparison but like everything in the house appears to be in excellent condition.
The upper floors are also spacious with a mixture of new and old. The house has five bedrooms and a bathroom on each floor — two full baths and two half baths in total. The original sink passthroughs, unusual corner numbers, appear to be in tip-top shape, but we don’t get any views of the bathrooms, so whether they too are original or date from the late 20th century, we cannot say.
597 5th Street is in the Park Slope Historic District, one of 14 on the block built between 1907 and 1908 by owner-builder Eli Bishop, according to the designation report, and designed by Axel Hedman, whose work we’ve frequently encountered in the Stuyvesant Heights area.
The three-story townhouses alternate between three-sided and curved bays, a common streetscape device of the time, traced by what the report calls an undulating classical cornice with swags. The front stoops all have adjacent small terraces behind low walls. The ornament on the facades varies along the row; this one has generous scrolls with acanthus leaf keystones.
Listed by Nathalie Roy and Charlie Pigott of Corcoran, it’s being offered for $3.75 million. Is it a decent price for a historic house in a tony location?
[Photos by Russ Ross, courtesy The Corcoran Group]
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