Well, would you look at those houses. All four shots were taken of New York City wooden houses and my oh my aren’t they beautiful?!

Thank you to @durkacs@tonymuccio@jrosenyc, and @shantond for tagging these wood frames for us to ooh and aah!

Walking around and find a wooden house? Let us know! Instagram the little gem with the #woodenhouseproject and we’ll show it off to all of our friends.

Happy hunting!




 Columbia Place, 1959

Brooklyn Heights holds some of the Borough’s most well-preserved wood-frame houses. The above image of Columbia Place, or “cottage row,” shows us that within our recent past, this colorful row of houses was once covered in asphalt shingles.

What does it look like today you ask?

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122 Pacific Street

Remember when we told you Cobble Hill would gain a new (but actually old) wooden house? Well, guess what?! The restoration on the facade is complete! Updated images after the jump.

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    393 West Street facade, 1920

We recently received an email from an inquisitive Wooden House Project reader who wanted to know if we had any information on the shingle-clad building on the West Side highway. There were also several requests in our recent survey to cover more Manhattan wood-frame stories (have you taken our survey yet?).

So we thought we’d cross the river today and share the history of a wood-frame building that is located on not one, but two streets!

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Thank you for the instagraming since we’ve been gone!  Circa Houses was even tagging #woodenhouseproject from Thailand (upper left corner)! Thank you to @durkacs and @wesleyparietti for tagging these wood frames in Brooklyn for us to gush over.

Walking around and find a wooden house? Let us know! Instagram the little gem with the #woodenhouseproject and we’ll show it off to all of our friends.

Happy hunting!


The de Blasio residence in the South Slope

Now that our new Mayor has been in office for a few months, the cat is out of the bag … de Blasio is a wooden house fan!

Well, he’s never said such a thing, but hear us out. We’ve done a little digging and discovered Mayor de Blasio owns at least two wooden houses in the South Slope and will soon be moving to one of New York City’s grandest old dames, Gracie Mansion, which is also a wooden house. To prove our point, let’s look closer at these homes.

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Do you live in a wood frame house, brownstone, or apartment building in Brooklyn? Ever wonder who lived there before you, or what’s hiding under that vinyl siding? Join Wooden House Project pal’s Elizabeth and Chelcey at the “Research Your Historic Brooklyn House” workshop to tackle those puzzling questions. This class welcomes renters and homeowners and anyone who wants to learn more about the space they call home. If you’re considering an exterior restoration, this class will be particularly helpful in giving you the tools to find historic photographs to present to your contractor or architect. Or if you’re unsure where to start in your research, let us help you navigate all of the resources New York City has to offer. The presentation will focus on the many digitized collections available and will discuss what is accessible through Brooklyn and Manhattan repositories.

Wednesday, April 23rd at 7:00 PM

67 West Street, Studio 612, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

$25 Ticket. Purchase tickets here.

Wooden House Project is also planning for more programs to offer our fellow wooden house friends. But first we want to hear from you! Please take two minutes to fill out our online survey and tell us what you’re looking for! We hope to see you on April 23rd at the “Research Your Historic Brooklyn House” workshop and at future events.

Wooden House Lovers! Personal and professional projects have gotten in the way of us keeping you up-to-date with all the latest news in the great borough of Brooklyn. We’re still here, and as in love with wooden houses as ever. Stay tuned, because we’ll still be posting from time to time and will even be squeezing in more walking tours this spring!
Chelcey recently started a job at Landmark West! She’s helping preserve the architectural beauty of the Upper West Side. As for me, I want to share with you all my labor of love —  a new site I created for old house lovers near and far. Head on over to CIRCA and start drooling over all the amazing old (cheap!) houses we could have if we all weren’t so in love with Brooklyn <3
- Elizabeth

tours whp.jpg

It’s walking tour season and Wooden House Project has two upcoming tours for you to join! We’re partnering with Brooklyn Historical Society and Preservation Greenpoint to tour the Wallabout Historic District and the wood frame houses of Greenpoint.  See ya real soon!


November 2, 2013

Partnering with Brooklyn Historical Society

Recently landmarked, the Wallabout Historic District contains one of the largest concentrations of intact pre-Civil War wood-frame rowhouses in the entire city! Come take a stroll with Chelcey Berryhill and Elizabeth Finkelstein as we explore the neighborhood’s fascinating early roots and address some of the challenges to preserving these rare historic structures. Along the way, we’ll visit the former home of poet Walt Whitman and discuss the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s role in the development of modern-day Wallabout.

Tickets: $25

Click here to purchase tickets.


November 9, 2013

Partnering with Preservation Greenpoint

Join Elizabeth and Chelcey as they travel through Greenpoint to discover its hidden gems and industrial history. The tour will take you through the historic district to the jaw-dropping preserved wood frames and beyond the boundaries to highlight some of the sites that make you want to say “Hmm….” From pencil manufacturing to bath houses, this excursion of Greenpoint will have tour goers appreciating and supporting the efforts of the Historic Districts Council “Six to Celebrate” organization Preservation Greenpoint.

Tickets $20

Click here to purchase tickets.

As the unrelenting city summer finally gives way to a cooler fall, it’s just about the right time to tackle some outdoor projects and consider the pretty little plants above. They’re the source of one of the most reliably simple and time tested wood treatments in the wooden house owners arsenal of upkeep and repair. This treatment also happens to be one of the most sustainable and earth-friendly wood finishes. Oh, and did I mention, it’s also easy on the wallet?

More on this wonder-product, after the jump…


An array of mallets, chisels, points and more. 

Wooden House Project readers may be wondering, “why a feature on a stonemason when our interest is wood-frame houses?” Well, readers, I present two vital reasons (as well as one bonus reason).

A hint: Look up, look down. The answer after the jump.

What a pleasure it was to read the responses to my last post. It seems that not only do folks notice and recognize PermaStone, but they really are interested in finding out how to remove it! I plan to delve a bit more into that process in today’s write up but first would like to practice some preservationist due diligence. In many cases, an encapsulating layer of reasonably waterproof (albeit aesthetically questionable) material may be the best thing for protecting anything historic and wooden behind. If you aren’t sure you have the time, money or DIY skills required by the demolition process, it’s probably best to do some waiting, saving or professional help-seeking first. That caveat stated, let’s get our hands dirty!

Much more on demo, after the jump…



Thank you for the instagraming this past week! We especially love the beautiful shingled Queen Anne (upper left corner) taken by Circa Houses in the Catskills. Walking around and found a wooden house? Let us know! Instagram the little gem with the #woodenhouseproject and we’ll show it off to all of our friends.

Happy hunting!

Last spring, Chelcey, Sara and I were lucky enough to be invited inside the lovely Brooklyn Heights home of Robin Jaffe, who moved there three years ago with her family. Robin’s house at 72 Hicks Street is one of those drop-dead stunning Brooklyn Heights treasures — the kind I’ve walked by many times over and dreamt about. It’s not everyday one gets a peek inside on of the oldest wooden houses in Brooklyn. Luckily for you readers, we took a lot of pictures.

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best-of-instagram-week-oneWelcome to our first ever “Best of Instagram” post! Whether you’re walking the streets of Brooklyn, or stumbling upon wood-frames in your travels, we want to see them! We hope to add more of your photos every week, so please keep instagraming. All you need to do is add the #woodenhouseproject to your photo and we’ll display your works of art each week.

The photos above come from our travels this summer to New Orleans, walking around Park Slope, and from Wooden House Project-follower ‘colombianbeef’ in East New York. Thank you all for sharing your photos with us, and we can’t wait to see what you find next week!


Brooklyn Heights of yesteryear.

The same view today


The Hugo Tollner House, 421 Franklin Avenue

Interior Designer Dionne Rivera dishes on everything—from what inspires her, including her favorite wood-frame house; to regional design motifs; favorite museums and decorative arts collections across the globe—to a breezy walk around Park Slope, her home for the past 24 years. A Seattle native, she earned her degree in Fashion Design in Los Angles. “I’ve always wanted to design interiors, so I was lucky it worked out that I was able to have a home-based business and still be close by for my children.”

Which are some of your favorite wood-frame houses in Brooklyn?
There is a house in Bedford Stuyvesant that has always captured my attention. Looking up the address  (421 Franklin Avenue) I found that it originally belonged to Hugo Tollner, son of Eugene Tollner, co-founder of Gage and Tollne. It is an asymmetrical wood-frame Gothic house with a mansard roof. And the wood-frame house that I’ve loved for years on 12th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

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Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts

For today’s post, we are spreading some of our wooden house appreciation a bit to the northeast to Boston, Massachusetts. Feast your eyes on this wooden beauty! This photograph documents a block of near identical wooden houses –complete with wooden brackets, window shudders and lintels as well as decorative iron railings. This was taken by photographer Walker Evans in 1930 and is featured in the new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art entitled “Walker Evans: American Photographs.” The exhibit debuted on July 19, 2013 and runs through January 26, 2014. A special thank you to James Mahoney of the New York City Historic Properties Fund for bringing this gem to our attention! According to our source, these homes still exist and one even retains its original gingerbread! If anyone is familiar with this block and has a recent photograph, please send to us so we can post and share with our adoring wooden house community.

- Lisa Santoro