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PHOTOS: 'Crooklyn' Brownstone Debuts as Bed and Breakfast After Restoration

By Camille Bautista | September 22, 2015 6:19pm
 A new bed and breakfast at 7 Arlington Place will take reservations starting Sept. 26.
A new bed and breakfast at 7 Arlington Place will take reservations starting Sept. 26.
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Emily Gilbert Photography

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The Brooklyn brownstone best known as the setting for Spike Lee’s 1994 film, “Crooklyn,” has a whole new look.

The home at 7 Arlington Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant makes its debut this week as a fully restored and renovated bed and breakfast.

Arlington Place Bed-Stuy & Breakfast, located on a small block between Macon and Halsey streets, aims to showcase the historic architecture and culture of the neighborhood, according to owner Liz Mandarano.

Complete with the original stained glass windows and woodwork, the brownstone’s restored interior highlights the home’s earliest elements with a touch of modern flair, she said.

“The detail and grandeur of the house is pretty incredible. It feels like history when you walk into it,” Mandarano added.

“With the bed and breakfast, the right thing to do is to bring people to the place. People native to Bed-Stuy and members of the community know how beautiful the architecture is, but a lot of people around the city aren’t aware.”

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The five-story brownstone features a renovated kitchen, backyard, rooftop garden, den, library, and a parlor for quiet sitting. Photo credit: Emily Gilbert Photography

After purchasing the home in 2013 with an investor for $1.3 million, Mandarano undertook a two-year renovation, she said.

“Everything was a surprise as we uncovered stuff and it just ended up being the best-case scenario possible,” she added.

The five-story building features seven fireplaces with tiling from the late 1800s and 14-foot high ceilings with walnut recessed paneling on the parlor floor. There are three bedrooms for guests, six bathrooms and Mandarano and a co-innkeeper live on site.

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Each of the three guest rooms has an assigned bathroom and fireplace. Photo credit: Emily Gilbert Photography

The brownstone’s cellar doubles as an event space with a dance floor, and stairs lead to a backyard garden and den. Guests can also drink from the bar out back on the garden level.

During the restoration work, Mandarano said intricate woodwork and detail was rediscovered in the home’s fireplaces and doorknobs.

While the work of original architect George P. Chappell remains apparent, Arlington Place’s décor gives a nod to a changing Brooklyn with what the owner calls a “liberated Victorian” style.

Paintings along the walls at first glance seem to be typical Flemish-style portraits, but upon further inspection, have details like the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.

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The parlor floor features 14-foot ceilings with restored stained glass windows. Photo credit: Emily Gilbert Photography

Visitors taking a closer look might also notice the wallpaper in the dining room depicts bikers and skateboarders.

“You have that respected history of the house, but also show the evolution of Brooklyn with some shout-outs to modern Brooklyn aesthetics,” said Mandarano, whose family’s history in the borough dates back to her great grandparents.

Certain rooms' color schemes and a movie poster in the building’s cellar serves as subtle nods to Spike Lee’s “Crooklyn” she added. The film follows a young girl and her family through their triumphs and struggles in the 1970s.

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The cellar, with original brick arches and wood planks, features farm tables and benches that fold to create a dance floor. Photo credit: Emily Gilbert Photography

“What’s more important about the movie is the sense of community it shows in Bed-Stuy,” Mandarano said. “It’s a very easy place to feel comfortable talking to your neighbors and getting to know them. That was the intention of the bed and breakfast. 

“I want to be a part of the community’s continued growth and economic stability, it’s very important to me to keep those great elements. The last thing I would want to take away is the stoop culture and neighborhood warmth.”

Arlington Place uses Brooklyn-based vendors and caterers for in-house events, and meals made on-site by the innkeepers utilize organic ingredients as well as fresh herbs and vegetables from the brownstone’s rooftop garden, the owner added.

Reservations are open to the public starting Saturday, Sept. 26.

For more information on room rates and reservations, visit the bed and breakfast’s website here. Viewings and tours are also available. For details, email innkeeper@arlingtonplacebnb.com.