House of the Day: Well-Tended But Eccentric Second Empire Brownstone in Fort Greene

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Our house of the day is a four-story Fort Greene brownstone, but it’s more than that. It is, and we’re quoting the listing here, a transitional French Second Empire neo-Grec-style historic brownstone. Listed by Corcoran broker Rodolfo Lucchese, it’s located at 374 Vanderbilt Avenue.

It’s got much of what you’d want in such a brownstone — tall arched doorways, pocket doors, parquet floors with inlay borders, moldings, medallions and plaster details. It’s got bay windows and three wood-burning fireplaces with original marble mantels. And it’s a generous 21 feet wide.

It seems to have been well tended to, or at least a fair amount of work has been done on it lately. The facade and stoop were redone this year, and the exterior double doors were restored, and it all looks fantastic. The bathrooms and kitchens were all reportedly updated within the past five years.

The double-pane front windows are a few years old, there are new gutters and roof vents, updated plumbing and electrical, a new sewage drain, etc. There’s a new “industrial” coin-operated washer and dryer in the basement, an odd touch in a four-story brownstone.

The one issue that jumps out is the house’s layout. Right now it’s “a two-unit home” that’s “currently being used as three units.” Which we take to be a way of saying that it’s a legal two-family.

The floor plan shows a one-bedroom unit on the top floor over an owner’s triplex with, unfortunately, the kitchen on the third floor. A spiral staircase connects the parlor and third floors.

The garden floor is apparently being used as a separate apartment at the moment; it has a sink but no stove, according to the floor plan.

Something else that might give a potential buyer pause: The garden floor houses the boiler, and the cellar occupies only a small area under the front yard. (The floor plan also seems to show the staircase down to it takes up part of the garden floor front room.)

So any owner-occupant is likely going to have some refiguring to do. So there’s some effort involved here, but also potential reward.

Last thing: Note the distinctive stained glass and cast iron bathroom door on the second floor, visible in two photos. We haven’t seen one like that before.

What would you do with the place? And what do think of the asking price of $2,695,000?

374 Vanderbilt Avenue [Corcoran] GMAP
Photos by Corcoran

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