Chances are if you have drooled over beautiful pictures of Brooklyn Heights architecture on Instagram, you have spotted this 19th century row house. With its bright facade and always perfectly planted window boxes, it and its neighbors on Columbia Street pop up frequently. It’s appeared on Brownstoner’s own Instagram channel more than a time or two. It also boasts an equally enticing rear facade facing the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with views of the waterfront and the Manhattan skyline.
In addition to its picturesque attractions on the exterior, the house at 212 Columbia Heights offers interior details like marble mantels, wood floors, plasterwork, pocket doors and stained glass along with modern upgrades like a renovated kitchen and a wine cellar. All of that comes with an equally impressive price tag.
Located in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, the Anglo-Italianate brownstone predates the Civil War and its original owners were Coe and Mary Adams, who advertised the house for sale in 1873 as one with “all the modern improvements.” The exterior has lost its original stoop railings (seen in the circa 1940 tax photo) and brown facade — it’s now white — but has the round arched windows and door surround typical of the style.
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The house was owned by two socially active families between the 1870s and the mid 20th century, including Travis and Rosalie Whitney. Rosalie Loew Whitney was admitted to the New York Bar in 1895, practiced law with her husband for several years and was appointed a judge by Major La Guardia in the 1930s.
The Whitneys made some alterations to the interior of the house after they bought it in 1918. Certificate of occupancy records show that in 1956 it was converted to a two-family and in 2008 turned back into a single-family.
There are five floors of living space in the 25-foot-wide house, plus a cellar with a “recreation/guest suite” and egress to the backyard. The slightly sunken garden level has a den and large kitchen with an expanse of white cabinets. Above are double parlors with a smaller side kitchen, and past that, three floors of bedroom and lounge space. Outdoor spaces off three of the upper floors take advantage of the views.
The parlor level has the expected grandly scaled detail with high ceilings, wood floors with an inlaid border, a marble mantel in the front and the dining room at the rear. The dining room has a bay window with a water view and overlooks a porch with cast-iron railings and columns.
There are four full baths and one half bath. The powder room is adorned with Morris & Co. “Pimpernel” wallpaper, first introduced in 1876. One of the upper floors has been turned into a full suite with dressing room, walk-in closet, en suite bath and sitting room with a…