Rare Mid-Century Modern House in Brooklyn Lists for $12 Million

Rare Mid-Century Modern House in Brooklyn Lists for $12 Million

Tucked away among the traditional brownstones of New York City’s Brooklyn Heights neighborhood is an unexpected and rare Mid-Century Modern house, and it’s just hit the market for $12 million. 

Fortress-like from the outside, but warm and light-filled on the inside, the home is known as the “Merz House” after the late local husband-and-wife architects Joseph and Mary Merz. The Merzes built three modernist-style townhouses on the block, but this one, constructed in 1965 on a corner lot, was designed to be their personal residence, according to Corcoran’s Deborah Rieders, who brought the home to the market last week. 

Authentic Mid-Century Modern architecture is a wildly unique offering in Brooklyn, according to Rieders. 

“While not prevalent in Brooklyn by any stretch of the imagination, many people do [Mid-Century Modern] style on the interior of their brownstones,” she said. This offers the rare opportunity “to have it inside and out.” 

The 5,500-square-foot property was “really cleverly designed,” in a way that “maximizes the light, but also the privacy inside the home,” Rieders explained.

The street facing windows, for example, only offer nosy passersby a peek into hallways and corridors, while the main rooms all look out over the property’s sizable and private backyard.

One of the things that made that possible was the lot size, which at 37 feet wide is like a traditional brownstone “turned on its side,” Rieders said. “They just flipped the model and put everything [facing] toward the garden.” 

The backyard, designed by the same team behind the Brooklyn Bridge Park, has stone paths, underground cedar hot and cold plunge pools, a fire pit, a raised pergola and a black pine tar cedar fence. 

“It’s very private, it almost feels like a little compound,” Rieders said. 

The house remained the Merzes’ home until 2020, at which point Rieders handled its sale. The current owners, listed in records as a limited liability company, paid $5.8 million for the place in early 2021, according to PropertyShark. 

The sellers completely restored the home, but in a way that kept it true to its roots and “really honored the original integrity,” Rieders said. 

The heart of the four-story home is its open-plan main floor, where there’s kitchen, dining and living areas, as well as a large fireplace, a wall of built-in storage and two sets of glass doors leading to the garden. 

The house also boasts a mudroom, a walk-in pantry and a breakfast nook. The finished windowed basement includes a guest suite, a media room, a kitchenette, and a gym. Plus there’s a large indoor garage with an electric vehicle charger.  

On the upper levels, the owners made some layout changes, including on the top floor, where they transformed what had been the Merz’s architecture studio into a primary suite with a home office. 

“They kept the really open sunny feel of the original space,” by creating a very large primary bedroom with a headboard that divides the sleeping space from the dressing room, according to Rieders. 

It was also important to the owners to feature natural materials throughout the home, and redwood, maple, stone and glass are repeated throughout.

“They really wanted a place that had a really strong interaction with nature, [and] wanted to feel like they weren’t in an urban environment,” Rieders said.


Originally published in Mansion Global
Text by Liz Lucking



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