Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ethan Hawke Buys More for Less in Brooklyn

BUYER: Ethan Hawke
LOCATION: Brooklyn, NY
PRICE: $3,900,000
SIZE: 4,026 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5 full and 1 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The dutifully diligent celebrity property watchers at The Real Deal a week or two ago reported that often unkempt-looking Oscar-nominated actor/writer Ethan Hawke's 3,500 square foot townhouse in New York City's Chelsea—listed at $6,250,000—was in contract and would soon be sold for an (as yet) undisclosed amount to an (as of now) unknown buyer.

When Your Mama discussed the vibrant-hued boho-style townhouse back in late January (2013) we had no clue or inside intel about where Mister Hawke, his missus Ryan and their quartet of kids—two with each other , two with Mister Hawke's ex-wife Uma Thurman—planned to decamp.

We found out in an unexpected covert communique from a kind canary we'll call Brooke Lynn Scoop who tattled to Your Mama that the Hawke family have joined the decade-plus long great migration of artists, hipsters, young families, rich people and handfuls of famous folk who continue to happily give up the hustle and bustle of Manhattan for a still quite urban but more low-key, village-like and slightly less expensive lifestyle in some of Brooklyn's leafier neighborhoods like, say, Boerum Hill where property records reveal that in late December (2012) the very same trust associated with Mister Hawke's lower Manhattan townhouse forked over $3,900,000 for an Italianate meets Greek Revival style red brick townhouse, circa 1859.

Actress Keri Russell owns a townhouse in Boerum Hill and so does three time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams. British writer Martin Amis owns a townhouse in Cobble Hill—next door to the west of Boerum Hill—and so does Norah JonesSarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick have two, side-by-side townhouse on the border between Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights where Björk and Matthew Barney shack up in a penthouse and zaftig Showbiz phenom Lena Dunham owns a much more modest one bedroom apartment in a large, full-service building. A bit out east in Park Slope are East Coast based Tinseltowners Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard as well as four-time Emmy nominated actor Sir Patrick Stewart and five-time Emmy nominated actor Steve Buscemi. Anyhoo....



Listing details we dug up on the interweb shows the 21-foot wide townhouse, located mid-block on a particularly scenic tree-lined street, stands four floors above ground, measures 4,026 square feet and—at the time of the sale—was divided into two units with a total of six bedrooms and five full and two half bathrooms.

The entire residence was extensively over-hauled and updated in 2003, according to listing information, with all new mechanical systems, new plaster and sheet rocking and brand new kitchens and bathrooms. Lucky for the Hawkes, many of the gloriously flamboyant original architectural embellishments and garnishes were retained, restored and/or painstakingly recreated. There are explosive acanthus leaf corbels that hold up shallow archways, heavy duty ceiling moldings and medallions, extra wide window and door frames, five working fireplaces with marble mantels, multi-tone wide plank wood floors, pocket doors with stained glass and new(er) Landmark approved windows that historically minded preservationists will surely appreciate.

The basement was dug out 18 important inches during the renovation that allowed for a portion of it to be finished and incorporated into the garden level apartment that has a private entrance under the deliciously delectable raised stoop. The layout of the one bedroom apartment itself is a bit unresolved with unclear and awkward entry points, a open-concept yet confoundingly compact living/dining/kitchen and one perfectly ordinary sized bathroom that opens—we regret to inform the olfactorily sensitive—directly into the kitchen. A spiral staircase descends to a flexi-use basement level area marked as a "Recreation Room" on the floor plan.

A careful study of the floor plan shows the semi-private garden level corridor at the rear of the residence has a stacked washer/dryer tucked into a closet and a tiny but windowed half bathroom conveniently accessible to anyone with a full bladder in the backyard.

The aforementioned elevated stoop provides elegant, private access to the five bedroom and 4.5 bathroom upper level triplex unit. A typically townhouse style side foyer and stair hall opens into a nearly 14-foot wide  combination living/dining room that stretches 27-plus feet with two fireplaces and two 10-pane windows that, for all intents and purposes, extend from the floor to the ceiling.

Stained glass pocket doors separate the main living/dining room from the center island eat-in kitchen that's all decked out with Shaker-style eggshell-colored cabinetry with integrated appliances a homey porcelain apron front sink and two huge windows filled with a view of tree leaves and branches. There is a casual dining table for two—or possibly three in a pinch—but it lacks the down home charm of the cute semi-circular built-in breakfast banquette in the kitchen of the Hawkes soon to be former townhouse in Chelsea.

An itty-bitty library—a corridor really—is snugly nestled next to the kitchen at the far end of the 25-foot long entry foyer and offers discreet access to a puny powder pooper and direct access to a steel terrace perfect for a barbecue pit and monitoring the activities of pets and children in the blue stone terraced backyard below.


There are three guest/family bedrooms on the uppermost fourth floor, two reasonably sized one barely bigger than a goddamn storage unit. That is not a bedroom, children. It's a study nook or it's a play room or it's a gift wrapping/crap storage room. Whatever it is its really too small to be a proper bedroom. One of the larger bedrooms has a private bathroom while the other two share a compact three-quarter hall bathroom. The largest of the three bedrooms has a fireplace and there appears in the floor plan to be some sort of sky-lit built-in office space between the two larger bedrooms that might be better suited to use as walk-in closets.

There are two more bedrooms on the third floor. The smaller bedroom at the rear overlooking the backyard gardens of the surrounding townhouses, has a fireplace, a small walk-in closet and a small, private bathroom with a huge window. The larger, street-facing bedroom also has a fireplace and a small walk-in closet plus an alcove but it lacks private access to a bathroom. The master bathroom—or what amounts to the quite tight master bathroom—unfortunately opens into the main stair hall rather that directly into the bedroom. Not good.

Our gal Brooke Lynn Scoop also snitched that Mister and Missus Hawke are having some work done on the house and Your Mama can only hope—we'd pray if we prayed—that the couple (and their team of smart architects and lady and/or nice-gay decorators) have the good sense to remedy this master bathroom issue. Since the two bedrooms already connect through a short corridor, perhaps fixing this madness is as simple as converting the rear bedroom into a deluxe dressing room and combining the two bathrooms into one more appropriately sized for a master bedroom of a nearly four million dollar townhouse in one of Brooklyn's most delectable, desirable and increasingly expensive neighborhoods.

listing photos and floor plan: Corcoran

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is my kind of house! I'd buy it myself in a heartbeat!

nursedeb said...

I like everything about this place!

Desert Donna said...

He should not be allowed to touch a THING here, based on the "decorating" in his prior place. It is full on perfect!

Sandpiper said...


Agree with all of the above. What a place!

My only question: Where does one tinkle in the cellar? Oops. Not literally. (An unintended play on words so leaving it in. I'm usually not that clever.)

Anonymous said...

I love this too -- only I would expand the kitchen into that rather useless "library" (let's face it -- it's a hallway with bookshelves).

Anonymous said...

Echoing everyone else-love this place. I'd take this townhouse over most of the much more expensive properties in Manhatten that mama has critiqued.

suthap klomrod said...
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turesta, said...
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supremebathrefinishing said...
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Patsy Tierney said...

I have heard this saying all the time – Brooklyn is the new Manhattan. Indeed, the prices of real estate is just so different for these two areas, but it seems that Brooklyn might be catching up with Manhattan prices if these known stars continue to migrate to the leafier neighborhood. We had a client at the portable storage Gold Coast facility, who recently moved to Brooklyn from New York. He is currently in the Gold Coast for his business, but he was saying that it seems Brooklyn will soon be following suit Manhattan when it comes to real estate prices.