The Renovation: St. Marks Avenue

A dilapidated two-family brownstone in historic Crown Heights is restored to its former glory as a luxurious single-family residence with abundant original detail and beautiful outdoor spaces.

The turn of the 20th century was a boom time for Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, the first elevated railway line began service in 1888, and a year later, Brooklyn became a borough of the city of New York. The Grant Square area of Crown Heights, in particular, was one of the wealthiest parts of town, lined with glorious mansions and stately row houses.

Built in 1931, St. Mark's Avenue met a booming population's growing demand for multi-family homes as a lively rooming house, counting among its first residents a mechanic from Poland, an Irish dock worker and a garage hand from England. By the time Dixon acquired the property 82 years later, it had fallen into severe disrepair with a crumbling façade and rundown interior.

Priority No. 1 for the Dixon team was to save what remained of the original period details — elegant staircases, gorgeous moldings and ornate stone fireplace surrounds — while fully gut renovating and upgrading the building.

Today, the home's design scheme sits comfortably between upscale modern and classic traditional, incorporating transitional elements like brass and marble throughout. Perhaps nowhere is this harmonious interplay illustrated more beautifully than in the large parlor level kitchen where a meticulously restored, original fireplace mantel stands confidently next to a thoroughly modern chef's kitchen.

An elegant arched pocket door leads the way from the kitchen to the parlor floor's main living/dining space featuring a second stone fireplace mantel highlighted by sky-high ceilings and lovingly restored original herringbone floors with inlaid borders.

The home's grand staircase, a work of art wrought in intricately carved newel posts and balusters, was meticulously restored and rebuilt from the garden level up, creating a showpiece that runs through each floor.

Ascend the beautiful staircase to the second level where the entire floor, formerly a mish-mash of studio bed-sits, has been transformed into a dream master suite.

The roomy, sunlit suite includes two entries, plus massive his and hers walk-in closets. The spa-like Carrara marble master bathroom spans the width of the building, showcasing three windows that pour natural light into the space.

The bathroom is outfitted with two separate matching vanities, an oversized glass shower, whirlpool bathtub, private toilet room and a linen closet.

On the third floor, previously another level of dilapidated, cramped private quarters, has been reconfigured with two thoughtfully laid out bedroom suites, each with two large closets and spacious, well-appointed en suite baths.

Another priority at St. Mark's was to maximize and beautify the home's outdoor spaces. This led to a Dixon first — a rooftop penthouse — an accomplishment that has sparked the addition of rooftop spaces across a number of other properties in the Dixon portfolio. Accessible via a newly added staircase, the penthouse includes a wet bar with sink, beverage center, wine cooler and a convenient powder room.

The penthouse opens onto a new IPE wood deck spanning the entire roof, creating the perfect spot for entertaining guests and taking in great Brooklyn city views.

At the ground level, what was an expanse of chipped concrete and crumbling brick has been transformed into a tranquil, green oasis.

The new backyard space features concrete pavers and flowerbeds surrounding lush turf, while a staircase leads to a new large deck with French doors that open out from the kitchen. Below the deck another set of French doors opens to the fully finished basement level.

The renovated basement level includes a private bedroom suite, a large open recreation space — perfectly suited for use as a spacious TV room with backyard views— plus a laundry area and powder room.

Modern amenities and upgrades have been incorporated throughout the home including double-glazed efficient windows, all new plumbing and electrical, brand-new heating and cooling forced air system, an ADT security system with touch screen pad and front door cameras plus full exterior brownstone restoration.

Formerly a multi-family home neglected over decades, this luxurious residence now takes its rightful place among the historic homes of Crown Heights.

View the floor plans for St. Marks Avenue