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?
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.
Keramos Hall (photo courtesy Kamen Tall Architects)
By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Greenpoint’s newly-restored Keramos Hall. The project has received much well-deserved recognition of late, as the recipient of the Landmarks Conservancy’s Lucy G. Moses Award and the subject of features in a handful of media outlets concerned about architecture, history and preservation in Brooklyn. A whimsical clapboard building — one hidden under asphalt shingles for decades — has finally come out of hiding. Manhattan Avenue has a new crown jewel.
Well, this is all fine and good. Fascinating history, beautiful building, beautiful restoration. But I couldn’t help but wonder: Why? What would have inspired the owners of this building to invest so much money into an exterior restoration of this scale and quality? This is something you just don’t see everyday, especially when it comes to commercial buildings. I had to find out.
Fortunately for me, my WHP co-writer Chelcey has a contact at Kamen Tall Architects, the brilliant team behind the project. So on a warm spring day last week, I hoped aboard the G train to spend the morning at Keramos Hall with architect Joanne Tall and the building’s owner, Harold Weidman. What I learned from these two gave me more hope in the future of Brooklyn’s architecture than anything I have experienced in the past few years.