Eleventh Street between 3rd & 4th Avenues

Those who yearn for the simple comforts of a wooden porch must take a stroll down Eleventh Street between 3rd & 4th Avenues in Brooklyn. This is one of the few blocks in the South Slope that is lined almost entirely, on both sides, with wood-frame row houses. It’s only fitting that the frame resurgence should be here in full swing.

The detail on these homes is just breathtaking. And to top it off, they’re extremely old. An 1880 map from the New York Public Library shows that the houses were already standing in that year (yellow denotes wood-frame construction):

I was so excited to find a photo from the New York Public Library that shows the block in 1930. The angle of this shot, which depicts the north side of the street looking from 4th to 3rd Avenues, nicely captures the varying depths and dimensions of these homes.

A few years ago we visited an open house at 188 11th Street, on the south side of this block close to 3rd Avenue. The place was a “fixer-upper” in the strongest sense of the phrase, and had we had the cash on hand we would have snatched it up in a heartbeat. Alas, less than a month later it had been completely redone by DesignBuildLive LLC, a husband-and-wife team based in Rhinebeck that has restored a handful of frame houses in the neighborhood (including our own house!). We hardly recognize the place – what an inspiration!