Flatbush

Michelle Williams gets Landmarks Agency’s okay for Victorian Flatbush mansion renovation

March 22, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Landmarks Preservation Commission has okayed a Brooklyn home-renovation plan for actress Michelle Williams, shown in this October 2015 photo. Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Michelle Williams has won some new fans.

We’re not talking about theater-goers who’ve seen her in the current Broadway run of “Blackbird,” in which she stars with Jeff Daniels.

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In this instance, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is offering the applause — and it’s actually for the Academy Award nominee’s plan to restore the century-old Victorian Flatbush mansion she bought in 2015.

On Tuesday, commissioners voted unanimously at a hearing at their Lower Manhattan headquarters to approve the “Brokeback Mountain” and “My Week with Marilyn” star’s renovation plans for 1440 Albemarle Road in the Prospect Park South Historic District.

As the Brooklyn Eagle previously reported, Williams paid $2,500,001 for the Colonial Revival-style house in an all-cash deal made through a trust, city Finance Department records indicate.

Alexandra Reddish of Mary Kay Gallagher Real Estate, the seller’s broker, had nicknamed the mansion the “’Gone with the Wind’ house” because of dramatic features like a two-story, column-flanked front porch and a “bridal staircase” inside.

At LPC hearings, architects usually make the presentations about proposed renovation projects. The property owners who’ve hired them often don’t speak.

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Golden Globe winner Williams did what was customary and sent Juan Matiz of Matiz Architecture & Design to LPC headquarters to ask commissioners to approve her house-renovation plans. The actress’s name was never mentioned during the hearing, by the architect or the commissioners.

The most notable element of her house restoration will be the removal of asphalt siding from the stunning house and its replacement with cedar clapboard to match remaining historic clapboard that was found underneath the siding. Some portions of the second floor will be clad with cedar shingles, painted a slightly different shade of white than the clapboard.

The other noteworthy tweak to 1440 Albemarle’s exterior is the enlargement of a porch on the back of the house. Commissioners told Matiz that double columns on the existing porch should be retained, which was not what he had proposed.

After the vote, Matiz told the Brooklyn Eagle that renovation work should start very soon.

“The neighborhood will see activity fairly quickly,” he said. “The neighborhood is welcoming the restoration. The house has been in disarray for a long time.”

Is his client easy to work with? the Eagle asked.

“They’re great,” he replied. “They’re busy people, but they really care about what’s happening to their future home.”

The soul of discretion, Matiz didn’t call Williams by name, or acknowledge that the house belongs to her, as has been widely reported.

Williams’ stately home was designed in 1905 by architects Robert Bryson and Charles Pratt.

It’s in a section of Victorian Flatbush where the houses are especially large and have spacious lawns — as well as driveways and garages, which are coveted by Brooklynites and in scarce supply in many of the borough’s neighborhoods.

Before buying the mansion, she owned a Boerum Hill townhouse that she had purchased with the late Heath Ledger. She sold the house at 126 Hoyt St. for $8.8 million in 2014, Finance Department records indicate.


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