Green Grows in Brooklyn: Part II

Beneath this rough exterior, the Natural Home Show House in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, is taking shape.

| March/April 2007

  • This artist's rendering shows how the building will look when it's complete.
    Stephen Ang

Construction of the first-ever Natural Home show house—a remodel of a 1920s Brooklyn brownstone once slated for demolition—is well under way. The building is being rebuilt internally to accommodate two three-bedroom townhomes that will feature next-generation green technologies, including solar electric, solar hot water and low-VOC finishes. The house is slated to be New York’s first American Lung Association Health House, meeting rigid certification standards that address moisture and humidity control, energy efficiency, air filtration and ventilation, and materials emissions.

Progress to date: The fly-ash concrete foundation has been laid, and interior framing, including the first installation of structural steel, is under way. The construction crew is framing out the new parts of the home, working quickly to get a roof on the building, which is currently open to the sky.

Clean-up complete: “We’ve finished the building clean-up, and we’ve built a superstructure to support it,” says developer Rolf Grimsted of R&E Brooklyn. “Right now, because the roof’s not on yet, we’re being very careful about moisture prevention because we’re concerned about mold.”

Preserving the facade: Grimsted and Emily Fisher, also of R&E Brooklyn, are making a conscious effort to preserve the building’s original brick shell, allowing it to sit more comfortably in the Brooklyn brownstone neighborhood. “We had to scrape away layers of toxins from a fire, from the Laundromat that was here before, and from the plaster and lead paint,” Grimsted explains. “We’ll coat the bricks with the same type of sealer we would use for lead-based paint—even though there’s no lead paint left on the bricks.”

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