On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved work at 281 Cumberland Street, in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Historic District, that will allow the structure to convert from four residential units to single-family use.
The three-story, plus basement, Italiante style rowhouse is located between Lafayette and Green avenues and was built somewhere between 1853 and 1855. It fell under the LPC’s jurisdiction in 1978, when the district was designated.
Architect David Cunningham is responsible for the design of the modifications. On the front façade, grills will be removed from the first floor windows, a new wood door will be installed, and aluminum windows will be replaced with wood ones. The areaway will also be excavated, allowing for an easier entry to the basement level. Cunningham said there are about 30 other examples of lowered front yards in the area. In addition, the existing sidewalk will be replaced with two-foot-by-four-foot bluestone pavers.
On the rear, an illegal one-story extension will be removed and replaced with a 1.5-story extension. The new extension will allow an extra tall sunken living room, which will sit just off the kitchen and above the laundry room. The laundry room will sit in space created by excavation of a portion of the rear yard. The addition will have a terrace atop it, accessible from the master bedroom floor. Plans show two bedrooms, and new HVAC equipment will be added to the roof.
Brooklyn Community Board 2 approved the proposal and there was no pubic testimony.
LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called the proposed rear addition “very modest.” The proposal received the unanimous approval of the commissioners. Commissioner Michael Goldblum did point out that the bluestone was proposed for a location where there is no evidence of bluestone having been before. So, the applicant will work with LPC staff to ensure the right thickness and setting.