Name: Kelly and family, Patrizia and family
Location: Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York City
Size: 1500 square feet — 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms
Years lived in: 2-5 years
Maybe I am taking the adventure theme a bit too far this week, but getting to these homes was, for me, a thrill. I took the Staten Island ferry on a rare but gorgeous spring day, biked up a hill over to Tompkinsville, and was then shuttled all over the neighborhood in a mini-van. It was all worth it. Staten Island is wonderful. This neighborhood is full of stately Victorian and Queen Elizabeth era homes. The streets are lined with trees and the front yards spill onto the sidewalk with their fragrance and foliage...
Today's tour is part of a series on Staten Island that began with the 19th Century Firehouse and that will continue next week with more great homes. Kelly emigrated to Staten Island from the Upper West Side with her husband in anticipation of raising a child. Patrizia, an artist, emigrated from the edge of Chinatown with her husband and is now also raising a child here. They both knew they wanted to be in walking distance of the ferry and wanted to see how far their budget would take them in terms of quality architecture and space. They both refer to their new environment and friends as if they were part of an ex-pat community. They have quickly met the other recent emigres from around the neighborhood and have formed solid social networks.
They are pioneers in the slow gentrification of Staten Island by outsiders. They have sacrificed the convenience of not living a ferry ride away from the other 4 boroughs, for the incredibly detailed century old homes that offer suburban scaled space on beautiful blocks, within at least visible distance of the rest of New York City.
These homes are works in progress. In the midst of raising children, Kelly and Patrizia are first time home buyers taking stock of how much square footage they have and what they can do with it. For each, the move was a bold choice but the right decision. So, it wasn't just an adventure for me. It's a bit of an adventure for them as well.
Style: Folk Victorian (?) on the outside. Everything from the Arts/Crafts era to the present on the inside.
Inspiration: about 100 World of Interiors issues squirreled away in the attic.
Favorite Element: Having views of greenery on 3 sides.
Biggest Challenge: To go against what seems to be a prevailing trend of Victorian homeowners to strip the moldings down to the natural wood.
What Friends Say: Those in the neighborhood who own mansions say it's "cute".
Biggest Embarrassment: squeaky floors
Proudest DIY: hanging the turn-of-the-century wallpaper from Secondhand Rose, and getting it to turn out despite the rude discovery that some of the 100 year old rolls had faded to a significantly paler shade of peach than the other rolls.
Biggest Indulgence: Putting in a working fireplace.
Best Advice: Paint the woodwork.
Dream Source: Quintessential Ebay store and Koch Antiques on the Upper West Side.
Style: Victorian Townhouse
Inspiration: New Orleans and vintage things
Favorite Element: water closet and daughter's room
Biggest Challenge: doing everything ourselves
What Friends Say: they admire our attention to detail and unique style
Biggest Embarrassment: main bathroom..it's been half demolished for 3.5 years now!
Proudest DIY: water closet
Biggest Indulgence: still to come!!!
Best Advice: Don't stress about getting it ALL done. It will get done….don't ruin your lives over it.
Dream Source: Hmmm…I don't think we have one. We like to find things here and there and never all in one place.
(Images: Jill Slater)
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