Historic Grandeur and an Architect’s Eye for Modern Design Meet in This Prospect Heights Townhouse
We’ve featured the work of this home’s current owners–principals at WE Design–before, including the architects’ previous home, and this latest oeuvre (or possibly magnum opus) is yet another impressive example. Though the luck of having a great house to begin with helps, this 4,100-square-foot, four-story beauty at 390 Sterling Place, on what is arguably the prettiest street in prime Prospect Heights, hits all the high notes after an amazing renovation.
For lovers of historic homes there are pristine original details at every turn. For modern interior design fans the renovation has meant the latest and greatest in appliances and fixtures (including central A/C and “new everything”) and a perfectly on-trend clean and modern look throughout. At $4.25 million, it’s a big price tag, but the location is super-prime–and so is the home.
Purchased for $2.085 million back in January of 2014 (quite a deal for a house of this caliber and size), the historic two-family home is 19.08 feet wide and a whopping 50 feet deep, sitting on a 123-foot lot, also extra deep as many in Prospect and Crown Heights are. Though the price may be tough to swallow, some effort and expense likely went into this renovation.
390 Sterling Place, pre-renovation. Image courtesy of Corcoran Group.
Built by architect Benjamin Dreisler in 1899, the house had much of its original moldings, banisters, plaster, stained glass and herringbone wood floors intact, though it was in need of “thorough renovation” according to the previous listing (see image above).
The result of the current architect/owners’ terrific eye for both historic homes and modern aesthetics and livability is certainly easy on the eyes, if not the wallet. The new configuration includes a lovely and modern garden apartment with a finished media room in the basement and a grand and gracious triplex above. Starting with the parlor floor, the original tiled fireplace borders a front parlor with coffered ceilings, stained glass transoms and endless carved wood.
Through the center hall at the rear of the house, the kitchen has a polished marble-clad island and professional-grade kitchen kit tucked flush within restored carved wood cabinetry and opened up with glass shelving. Industrial-contemporary chandeliers add a casual and creative feel and offset the rich wood wainscoting. There’s a big tiled fireplace in the kitchen as well. A pair of massive wood-framed glass doors lead to a deck and stairs to the back garden.
On the floors above, bedrooms are a calm, pristine white, with plenty of original moulding and arches and the same gorgeous bordered herringbone floors, refinished to a low sheen. Hallways that once held shaving closets have been left intact and given clean white paint and marble countertops. Also, more fireplaces! On the third floor there’s an enormous master bedroom with a fireplace, sitting area and huge walk-in closet, a TV room, and a large bathroom.
On the fourth floor are three more bedrooms, with more big closets, a laundry room and another bath. Bathrooms throughout are sleek, simple and modern, as is the laundry room with a stacked washer-dryer.
The garden apartment is chic and well-appointed, with two bedrooms and a large open kitchen/living/dining area. The cool black-and-white European-style kitchen has a contrasting rounded tile backsplash and top-of-the-line appliances. Large steel-framed modern windows and doors at the back open up this space to bring in light and add interest to the rear facade.
There’s a big finished basement rec room with a full bath and plenty of play space, bringing the total number of floors to five. Plywood stairs add to the smart modern design.
There’s plenty of room on the deck for a picnic, and the extra-deep yard is beautifully though simply landscaped with a new horizontal wood fence, stone pavers, lighting, several trees and lots of room for plantings at the back.
The neighborhood is by some accounts the borough’s best, boasting some of the city’s grandest and most beautifully-preserved historic homes, with Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Museum just blocks away, near subways and neighboring Park Slope, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights and Boerum Hill and a short walk from just about any great restaurant, cafe, bar, market or venue in any of those fine districts.
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