Recently we had a chance to visit the Brooklyn home that is the first New York City project to be featured on This Old House. The Prospect Heights house, built in 1904 and "designed in the Renaissance Revival style by architect Axel Hedman," has its own project page on the TOH website, and before homeowners Karen Shen and Kevin Costello purchased it, the 4,000 square foot structure was a rundown boarding house. This Old House producer Deborah Hood explained why the show picked the Shen/Costello home:
At This Old House, we probably considered about a dozen properties in Brooklyn, and scouted a few in places like Boerum Hill (where I got flea bites from touring an abandoned rowhouse) and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens (where we found charming, small rowhouses protected by single-family zoning). But, ultimately, we were drawn to the neighborhood of Prospect Heights, because unlike neighboring Park Slope where most houses have already been renovated, our area still has lots of properties that need attention and preservation...
The second big attraction, of course, was the house. Although it had been chopped up as a rooming house, and later sat vacant until Karen and Kevin purchased it, surprisingly, much of the period detail remained intact. So there is a lot to work with, and that's what the homeowners were drawn to as well.
You can read more about the home's detail here. It is now being transformed into a three-family home: A duplex for the family (connected by a spiral staircase they bought on Brownstoner!) on the middle two floors, plus two rental units on the garden and top levels. Besides the This Old House team which comes to Brooklyn every week or two, the project is being overseen by Brooklyn contractor Michael R. Streaman, whose own team includes plumbing contractor Erik Gitli from Aladdin Plumbing and Vincent Verderosa, from Super-Charged Electric. There's a crew of almost 30 people working to get the house finished by late February, and the episodes for the Brooklyn project will start airing around on January 22 (check your local listings). In the meantime, you can keep track of the brownstone's progress by checking up on posts at Old House, My House as well as the webcams.