3 things we learned from a walking tour of Bed-Stuy brownstones

By Virginia K. Smith  | October 20, 2014 - 12:58PM

This weekend marked community nonprofit Brownstoners of Bedford-Stuyvesant's 36th annual house tour, in which locals open up their historic, painstakingly restored homes to the public for one afternoon only. Unfortunately, it won't be happening again until next year—mark your calendars for the third week of October 2015. But we had a chance to check out this year's offerings—a look inside seven houses plus a church, with photographs strictly forbidden. Nevertheless, we picked up some interesting info along the way:

  • A historic house tour is one (surprising) way to market a rental. A few doors down from one of the designated houses on the tour, a broker stood on the porch of another massive townhouse, beckoning people in to take a look. (Turns out, the place is a $6,995/month rental at 242 Decatur Street, for the high-end renters reading this.) Somehow, seems like he's not the first—or last—broker to pull off this move during a neighborhood tour.
  • A classic old home doesn't preclude creative layouts. While every homeowner had lovingly restored, intricate old woodwork in their buildings, some weren't afraid to shake things up in other ways. In particular, the entire second floor of one house had been renovated as a huge, open-plan bedroom and bathroom, featuring a Jacuzzi hot tub and open flame fireplace on a pedestal in the middle of the room. We really regretted the stringent no-photos policy for this one, but maybe it's best to let your imagination run wild, anyway.
  • If you're renovation-curious, go straight to the source. Whether it's know-how on finding kitchen marble that doesn't clash with hardwood details, tips on adding a balcony to the back of the house, or swapping war stories about replacing an ancient electrical system, owners of each house are on hand during the Bed-Stuy tour, and very willing to dole out pointers they've learned over the course of their own renovations.


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Curious about your townhouse's (maybe sordid) history? Call in a detective

Going dutch on a brownstone? Minimize your risk if you're buying with friends

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Your brownstone-buying essentials


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