A nearly 150-year-old residential structure in Brooklyn will soon get a facelift. The Landmarks Preservation Commission recently approved the restoration of 218 Guernsey Street, located at the corner of Oak Street in the Greenpoint Historic District.
The two-story home, now the Treciokas/Fox residence, was built around 1870, but has been altered more than once since. A historic tax photo looking directly at the structure was lost, but a photo of its neighbor, 137 Oak Street, shows its condition prior to the most recent alteration. It’s quite clear that it was once much nicer. It didn’t fall under LPC jurisdiction until the historic district was designated in 1982.
So, the plan is to restore some of that glory and handling that restoration is architect Joseph Vance of Williamsburg-based Joseph Vance Architects. They have probed the structure to find evidence of its past glory and plan new cement board cladding with wood door and window elements, plus the restoration of the cornice, in wood.
LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called the proposal “very positive” and “great.”
Commissioner Frederick Bland noted that the property owners could have tried to go with a more contemporary renovation of the structure, but decided not to. He said the commission might have been able to find its way to approving a more contemporary design, but that this historic approach was good.
Commissioner Adi Shamir-Baron said she appreciated the approach, which she called “not quaint or historicist.”
Commissioner Michael Goldblum had no problem with any of the design, but wanted the applicant to be aware of the possibility of wood rot behind the new façade.
Brooklyn Community Board 1 recommended approval, as did the Historic Districts Council. “This house is proof that with sensitive stewardship, even the most altered historic fabric can be reconfigured into a work of art. HDC would like to commend this applicant for conducting a probe, finding historic fabric and making a case to replace it in kind, as opposed to using decay as justification for a non-sympathetic intervention,” testified HDC’s Kelly Carroll. “Landmark designation in this district will ensure that over time, one by one, these less fortunate wooden houses will be restored. This property definitely sets an idyllic example.”
The restoration was approved unanimously in June.
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