New Mansard on the Block


Hey Park Slopers, there’s a new mansard roof on the block! A wooden house renovation project just finished up over at 392 Dean Street, and the developer (Seth Brown of Aspen Equities) was kind enough to send us over a before-and-after shot, as well as the ca. 1940 tax photo. Read on to see!

Brownstoner focused a lot today on the inside of the house – head on over there for some interior shots. As far as the outside is concerned, I’ll just point out the obvious: This is not a perfectly authentic restoration. Because of the amount of work that had to be done, most of the current structure is new. It just looks old. I really love authentic styling choices, but I’m going to trust the developer’s assertion that the facade was rotted underneath all of that awful siding and here was an opportunity to build something with modern amenities that respects the neighborhood in scale and form. Because this part of Park Slope is not landmarked, he could have built anything here, even a hideous new condo building (ala Karl Fisher). I’m very happy that he chose this route, and wish there were more developers out there like him.

The choice was made to match the neighbor, which was nicely renovated about five years ago. As you can see in the tax photo, they have always been “twins,” even when they were first built. As far as the new mansard roof is concerned, many of the mansard roofs we see all over the city were actually later additions plunked onto existing houses when the trend briefly swept through New York. As for that trend, well, I’ve always thought it didn’t stick around long enough. Have you seen that AT&T commercial with the little girl saying “We want more! We want more!” That’s how I feel about mansard roofs.

Per the developer:

“In terms of the work, we really had to rebuild the house. Every single joist had to be replaced, and the entire front facade was rebuilt, other than the bluestone sills, which we were able to save. Everything else on the front facade was rotted. We had to rebuild the side walls, and the back wall was removed to allow for an extension. From the front, it now looks like a 19th century wooden house, but inside it’s all new – structure, mechanicals, finishes, etc. But the details try to evoke the beauty of all old wooden townhouse. For example, the house originally had wide plank pine floors. But because the structure had to be replaced, they weren’t salvageable. Instead, we used hand-edged wide plank white oak as flooring. It looks a lot like 19th century flooring. Of course, although the front parlors feel more traditional, with rebuilt wood burning fireplaces, the kitchens and bathrooms are very modern.

The exterior finishes are primarily wood. The siding itself is painted cedar – it’s old school. The other trims are all painted wood. The brick is new, but with tight joints and a custom mortar color, so it looks right. Then we have 8″ wide custom black unfading slate, with a red and purple slate rosette in the middle. And then copper flashing everywhere.”

An interesting, modern take on old wooden house. Love it enough to live there? You’re in luck.