An ambitious exploration into high-end residential markets across the globe.
Not long after completing studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, C. P. H. Gilbert began establishing himself as a distinguished architect, ultimately enjoying a reputation for designing townhouses and mansions for industrialists and tycoons across New York. His oeuvre includes dozens of buildings in Manhattan but also properties on Long Island, upstate, and—like this distinctive residence—in Brooklyn’s illustrious Park Slope.
Brooklyn, New York | The Stein Team, Sotheby’s International Realty – Downtown Manhattan Brokerage
Luxurious modern homes updated with respect for their historic environs are often lauded for blending the old and the new. Dating to 1887, this handsome manor exemplifies that rarefied combination. Its brick and brownstone façade and a silhouette characteristic of late-19th-century designs belie the sleek, chic, and undeniably contemporary aesthetic of its interiors, which are the result of a meticulous three-year renovation helmed by Mary Burnham of MBB Architects.
A rarity in the area for its generous width, the five-level home is anchored by a sculptural staircase that links each of the floors while creating striking lines as well as alcoves for bookshelves and the display of art and sculpture. A southern orientation and numerous gracefully arching oversized windows allow many spaces to be flooded with natural light. The backyard garden is a green and serene oasis, an enviable escape amid Brooklyn’s bustle.
The building begins with living, dining, and entertaining spaces whose modern minimalism never jeopardizes their welcoming warmth. The Bulthaup kitchen features walnut cabinets and an impressive suite of appliances from Miele and Dacor. Just outside, a deck floats above the greenery of the garden below, with stairs descending into its lush midst.
One level above are three guest bedrooms and en suite baths along with a versatile fourth bedroom or playroom. On the fourth floor is the soundproof owner’s suite, a peaceful place of repose with11-foot ceilings, a gas fireplace, a custom walk-in closet and dressing room, and a travertine bath with a programmable multihead shower and a soaking tub. The nearby media room enjoys both blackout shades and access to a street-facing terrace framed in period brickwork.
Relaxation is the order of the day on the garden level, which offers a temperature-controlled 1,500-bottle wine cellar, a well-equipped mudroom, an additional bedroom and bath—ideal quiet quarters for guests or staff—and a casual living area with a wood-burning fireplace and floor-to-ceiling glass doors giving way to the verdant garden, which has been finished with pavers, decking, irrigation, lighting, and sound. The building’s rooftop has been transformed into two landscaped terraces with an alfresco fireplace, Sub-Zero refrigerator drawers, and skyline views.
While style is clearly paramount in this one-of-a-kind home, the practicalities of modern living are far from overlooked. The busy professional will appreciate the sunny, spacious office that accompanies the owner’s suite, while the fitness enthusiast will value the upper-level’s thoughtfully outfitted glass-enclosed gym. Creature comforts are seen to by motorized blinds, blackout shades, Warmboard radiant heating, dimmable LED lighting, multizone air conditioning, and whole-house vacuum, water filtration, humidification, dehumidification, Sonos sound, and Control4 systems. Prospect Park, local landmarks and attractions, and public transportation are all within easy reach. Meanwhile, mindfully retained vintage elements serve as subtle reminders of the home’s provenance and its enduring place in the ongoing story of New York.