A Hello and A Goodbye

Today, a personal observation: I have missed you. As many in the community are aware, I took the last year off from my historic preservation work and the Wooden House Project in order to help my husband grow his digital design agency. After much hard work, our collaborative efforts have paid off! Color + Information has expanded by leaps and bounds and is now situated in a beautiful new space in Greenpoint serving happy clients (and if anyone was wondering who was the behind the beautiful design of the Wooden House Project – well, now you know). Meanwhile, Chelcey has been hard at work making the Brooklyn Historical Society the phenomenal place that it is. Now that the dust is settling on other fronts, we’re pleased to announce that the Wooden House Project is back!

We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love that has flooded our inbox over the past year. Some of you we have been able to respond to and others we have not (I accept full blame for this – growing a small business in New York is more than a full-time job!), but we could not be more thrilled to be starting up again right where we left off. And the timing could not be better. In recent weeks, at least two things have happened in wooden house news right in our own backyard.

First, the good: the Landmarks Preservation Commission has their eye on a new historic district in Park Slope (they’re calling it the Park Slope Extension, Phase II) that includes at least one wooden house. If all goes well, 22 Berkeley Place (above) will be landmarked and preserved for generations to come! Thank you to the Park Slope Civic Council for your efforts on this! And speaking of the PSCC, thank you to our friend David Alquist - whom we met through our volunteer work with them – for supplying us the photos for this week’s post.

Now, the bad: Two neighboring wooden houses in Park Slope – 357 & 359 7th Street – are in the process of being demolished (in fact, 357 — the porched house above — is already gone). This happens a lot, we know (like over on 12th Street), but what’s especially distressing here is how lovely the house was that was torn down. Apparently the developer missed this obvious factIf nothing else, the sad situation above makes the mission of the Wooden House Project even more apparent.

You win some, you lose some. Please, let’s just win a lot more. We’re excited to be back, and look forward to all the explorations around Brooklyn that are to come!

  • Simon

    Nice site! While I thoroughly share your enthusiasm for such structures in general, I have to tell you that I was inside of both of these 7th Street houses prior to their demolition, and what may have looked charming from the street was in fact quite unlovely and (especially in the case of 359) dangerously decrepit on the inside. Portions of both houses were literally uninhabitable. Within any kind of economic reality, neither house was salvageable. Where 359 had been allowed to rot away, 357 had undergone a number of illegal and ill-advised alterations over its last several years, none of which addressed the building’s underlying structural deficiencies. No original detail or layout remained. Long before these buildings were demolished they were doomed by neglect, paired with the unfortunate truth that the cost of real repair would have exceeded their value.

  • Wooden House Project

    Thanks for this information Simon! Part of our impetus for starting the Wooden House Project is to ensure that Brooklyn’s wooden houses are viewed as valuable historic resources. With proper care and attention, they should not reach such a level of deterioration. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing less and less of this happening in the future.