When Clem Labine bought the townhouse at 199 Berkeley Place in Park Slope for $25,000 back in 1966, Brooklyn was a very different place. Among the original wave of “brownstoners” who bought dilapidated townhomes to give themselves more living space and put years of sweat equity into restoring them, Labine, now 81, went on to found Old-House Journal (“Restoration and Maintenance Techniques for the Antique House”), and live in the painstakingly-preserved home for over 50 years (h/t Brownstoner). The Neo-Grec-style house was was built in 1883 along with 10 other homes. A much-subdivided rental SRO when Labine rescued it, it’s now an impressive two-family home listed for $3.895 million.
Part of the Park Slope Historic District, This 21-foot-wide town house highlights original architectural details with custom stenciling and murals on walls and ceilings. Contemporary comforts and finishes have been integrated for ideal modern life without missing a beat.
The garden floor offers informal living space in the form of a library/den/media room and home office. There is a powder room here also, and with a little work this floor could be a separate apartment–or used as-is for a guest suite.
A professionally-landscaped rear garden is a rare and lush urban paradise, with gravel paths, a waterfall, a babbling brook, a fully-stocked fishpond, and plantings.
Always a brownstone’s best face, this home’s parlor floor doesn’t disappoint with 12-foot ceilings, walnut burl wainscoting and majestic pocket doors. The stenciled dining room features a mahogany mantel with pictorial Minton tiles and art-glass panels.
The show-stopper, however, is the dramatic “Peacock Parlor” inspired, according to the listing, by Whistler’s Peacock Room in the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. The room is furnished according to the Aesthetic Movement’s view of the peacock as a symbol of beauty–right down to the bespoke peacock-feather carpet.
Tucked into an extenstion, the kitchen has built-in open shelving and the tin ceilings typical of many 19th century homes.
On the home’s top two floors are four large and two smaller bedrooms, some with original marble mantels. There are two full bathrooms, also well-preserved, here as well.
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Images courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens.
Neighborhoods : Park Slope