Fort Greene Townhouse

This lovely old house was the first house on the block. It was built in the 1850s and then renovated in the 1880s with the addition of beautiful moldings as well as other design upgrades, as was typical of the time.


Apartment remnants
Here you can see evidence of the building being divided into apartments in the 1940s (click to enlarge)

In the 1940s it was turned into apartments, as many of these big old homes were.


Wooden truss
The original wooden truss system (click to enlarge)

When it was built, it had an extra room on each of the lower floors, making it deeper than most typical houses. The upper two floors were the standard two rooms each, and the rear upper floor brick wall was supported by a wooden truss system which allowed for the large opening to the rear room on the parlor floor. When the owners bought the house, we were all well aware of the sagging upper rear wall. After we demoed the first floor area to see what was going on, we found the wooden truss system and saw that the main beam, after all those years of support, had sheared on one side, allowing the rear brick wall to drop several inches.


Wall removed Rebuilding brick wall
This wall was removed (right) and then rebuilt (left) (click to enlarge)

This was a bit of a surprise, and an extra project we had not counted on having to do. We took down the failing brick wall and replaced the wooden truss with a steel structure, and then rebuilt the rear brick wall. The brownstone lintels and sills were sugaring and not usable, so we imported new ones from England, where the brownstone is of better quality than the brownstone from Connecticut that was used originally in most Brooklyn brownstones.


Preparing to remove wall
Putting in steel beams to support the new cellar windows (click to enlarge)

While making the footing for the steel structure, we decided to also dig out the cellar (which had been the original kitchen and still had the original fireplace intact), as well as a light well with rear windows that brought light down to the cellar.


Stair repair Stairs after
The stairs before (right) and after (left). They were reinforced with steel and then rebuilt (click to enlarge)

The house had to have the stairways rebuilt and new mechanicals added, plus two new apartments rebuilt on the top two floors.


Molding before Molding during

Molding after
The molding before (upper right), during (upper left) and after restoration (bottom) (click to enlarge)


The owners' apartment, which comprised the parlor, garden and cellar floors, was built out with radiant heat and required the removal of all lead paint as well as the restoration of all moldings, plaster work, and stairways.


Chimney rebuild Chimney and fireplace repair Finished fireplace
The chimney was rebuilt (right) and the fireplaces were restored and made functional again (middle and left) (click to enlarge)

New boiler
The brand new high efficiency boiler (click to enlarge)


The chimneys were rebuilt, fireplaces were made functional again, and all new HVAC plumbing and boiler systems were installed.


Deck Kitchen
The new deck (right) and renovated kitchen (left) (click to enlarge)

French doors
View of the French doors (click to enlarge)


We added custom built french doors, repointed the rear wall on the main floor, added a deck and made the home gracious and livable as it makes its way into another century of use and function. The owners just moved in and had their open house party over the Memorial Day weekend of 2012.

Click here to view a gallery of "after" pictures from this project.

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