Brooklyn Heights

BHA House and Garden Tour celebrates historic preservation

April 29, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) will sponsor its 30th annual house and garden tour of five privately owned historic townhouses and gardens in Brooklyn Heights on Saturday, May 10, from 1-5 p.m.

This go-at–your-own–pace, self-guided tour, for the benefit of the BHA, allows visitors a rare opportunity to experience the architectural grandeur and contrasting styles found in the finest private homes of Brooklyn Heights, New York City’s First Historic District.


Tour Highlights:

  • Built sometime between 1824 and 1829 when Brooklyn Heights was still mostly farmland, this Federal style frame house is among the oldest houses in the Heights. Its picturesque clapboard and Flemish bond brick exterior is the product of an extensive renovation by the current owners, who are themselves architects and designers. Counterbalancing the old and new, they’ve furnished their home with an interesting mix of antique and contemporary furniture, contemporary light fixtures and art by contemporary Brooklyn artists.
  • In the middle of the Heights stands this 1860s Italianate brownstone, home to an interior designer and contemporary Chinese artist and their young daughter. Their original artwork seen throughout this elegantly proportioned house is stunning. The light and airy rooms boast original marble mantels and 14-foot ceilings and windows that reach almost from floor to ceiling.  Throughout the house is a mix of Chinese antiques and custom pieces, including Ming Dynasty chairs, a George II secretary, an Austrian grandfather clock (1740), Dutch style kass (c.1780), sharing rooms with works of art created by the owners.

  • This 1846 Greek Revival house is stunningly appointed. The current owners have just completed an extensive renovation, transforming the house (which had been divided into three apartments) back to a one family home. The grandly-proportioned parlor floor offers high ceilings, elaborate plaster moldings, original black marble mantels and European white oak floors. Most of the furnishings are mid-century vintage intermixed with contemporary pieces. A hand-painted custom Chinese wallpaper in the dining room, and 600-year-old Buddha in the living room are not to be missed.

  • One of three identical brownstone houses built side by side in the 1860s, this one has retained much of the original 19th century detailing despite a recent renovation by the current owners. Notable among the interior architectural details are extensive molding, marble fireplaces, Newell post and inlaid floors.  The house boasts an antique Sohmer & Co. “baby-grand” with its original ivory keys. Furnishings include an interesting amalgam of pieces from Asia, North America, Europe and Africa. The walls are covered with art collected by the owners while living in New York, Asia, Europe and Canada.  

This home will fascinate tour goers. Located in what longtime Brooklyn Heights residents will remember as a bustling parking garage complex, it is now a glamorous condo. A completely private and beautifully landscaped outdoor deck surrounds the master bedroom. Art highlights include works by Gerard Mas, Hunt Slonem, Roberto DuTesco, Arturo Guerrero and Peter Tunney. Among the many playful and surprising elements to be enjoyed here, visitors will love the clock whose suitor proposes every hour on the hour, unusual chandeliers, a tree house, bird cage lighting features and a swing for a bed.

Photo by Judith Angel

Weather permitting, the rear yard gardens and balconies at all of these homes will be open for viewing.
The 2014 Brooklyn Landmarks House and Garden Tour is self-guided. It takes place, rain or shine, from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 10.  Houses close promptly at 5. Included in the price of the ticket are pastries and tea served in the arcade of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims on Orange Street. Tea hours are from 3 to 5 p.m. Docent-led tours of the historic church sanctuary are given at 3:30 and 4:30 p.m.

All tickets are $40 per person and tax deductible.  Reservations are strongly recommended and must be paid in advance by check or credit card.  Tickets may also be purchased on the day of the tour only, at 129 Pierrepont Street (entrance to St. Ann’s School), between Clinton and Henry Streets, starting at 12:30 until 3:30 p.m.  To reserve by phone with a credit card, call 718-858-9193 during business hours, or visit our website at  

Except for infants in front packs, children under 13 will not be allowed to go into the houses. Taking photographs and use of cell phones inside the houses is prohibited.    

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