Buying the Perfect Brownstone

With all that was going on last week I neglected to write a posting on here about last week being the 7 year anniversary of our buying the limestone home we live in. Limestone and Brownstone are terms that are used depending on when the house was built and what the outer layer is; ours happens to be mostly limestone, but its easier to refer to it as a brownstone since most people know what brownstones are. So, seven years over owner ship has been really really fun and enjoyable. I will never forget the day of the closing, I was such a mess. For some background I am from Boston and moved to Manhattan after graduating college. I lived there about 17 years, much of the time with Michael, my partner then, husband now. When we first decided to buy a place we were looking in Manhattan for a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apt. Those are in high demand in Manhattan. We saw a few we liked but nothing blew us away.  One day Michael said to me would I ever consider living in Brooklyn in a house; I had only been to Brooklyn once but I said sure I’d look. That first day of looking was horrible; we saw a beautiful limestone home built in the mid to late 1800s with fabulous original details; but it need an entire new kitchen and bathrooms which we werent willing to do at that time. Also the neighborhood wasnt that safe. Then we walked to another open house and saw a Victorian home, it had nice original details also, but was 3 floors, 6 bedrooms. A little more than we needed or wanted. We spent about 2 years looking for just the right home. One that had original details like stained glass, pocket doors, unpainted wood. Then one day we walked into this house; we had seen a few houses on this block but they all had been duds. This house spoke to us. It had an original gas lamp outside, it had all the details in perfect condition. Stained glass skylights, windows, unpainted wood, pocket doors, a fantastic white oak dining room, 12 foot ceilings. We loved it at first sight. The day of the open house was my fathers birthday, I thought that was a good sign. We made a bid, got the house. Lots of back and forth with the sellers. They postponed the closing date; I was kind of freaked out since our mortgage rate was guaranteed for 60 days. Btw, I knew at the time what we could afford, I knew the only kind of mortgage was a fixed 30 year mortgage, no ARMS. We finally set a date for the closing.

We went to an attorney’s office on Park Avenue and I remember being completely freaked out, what if they postponed again, we had a great mortgage rate, what would happen then. We had given notice at our apartment so we only had a few weeks left. Anyway the closing went fine, signed tons of papers and there we were sitting on a bench on Park Avenue with a bunch of keys and a title to this home. After living in small spaces in Manhattan this was more than a dream come true. So many things I learned on the fly. We had to redo the electricity in the  house since it hadnt been properly done ever. We had saved a lot of money since we had been looking for 2 years so we were able to furnish the house beautifully without waiting. The first weekend we were there the water heater broke. I had never heard of a water heater. Michael’s father called and said to get a nice one and send him the bill. We’ve done so many fun projects, landscaping the front garden and backyard, installing new wood windows, buying all new appliances; choosing paint colors, having the floors redone, redoing the upstairs bath. And not fun projects like new roof, furnace, skylights.

Overall I love it here, this has been a great 7 years and I look forward to many more here. You never know what the future will bring but I am very happy here, we have the City life, short subway ride to Manhattan and our neighborhood is lovely. Lots of nice restaurants, our neighbors are great. Its been a really fun ride and I am looking forward to our future here.