A House for Hobbits and Fairytale Characters in New York

by hookedonhouses on June 3, 2013

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn 500Have you seen the so-called “Gingerbread House” in Brooklyn? Some of the readers who sent me the link to the listing described it as “a hobbit house.” Others used words like “storybook” and “fairytale.” Curbed dubbed it “Hansel & Gretel’s Hidey Hole.” The asking price is $11 million–more than hobbits or Hansel could probably afford–but gawking is free…

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (7)

According to the 1988 Landmark Designation Report, “This distinctive residence, an important and rare example of the Arts and Crafts style of architecture in New York City, was designed in 1917 by James Sarsfield Kennedy, a Brooklyn architect, for shipping merchant Howard E. Jones.”

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (6)

The roof, it says, was designed to imitate the thatch roofs of English rural cottages but is actually made from “subdued polychromatic asphalt shingles laid randomly–there are no straight lines.”

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (13)

The Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century emphasized the use of natural materials and craftsmanship. They were often inspired by rural cottages: “The Jones residence was built in rubblework of large, natural rocks and boulders of various colors.”

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (5)

“The varying heights of the house step up to the massive end-wall chimney creating a picturesque profile and calling attention to the importance of the hearth within the structure. The asphalt shingle roof is rendered with an undulating surface and smooth molded edges in imitation of the thatch roofs of early rural cottages.”

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (4)

Jason Sheftell of the NY Daily News dubbed it the “most magnificent residence in all of New York City. Everywhere you look is something pretty.”

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (2)

Homeowners Jerry and Diane Fishman, who bought the house in the 1980s, told him, “It sounds crazy to attribute a house to good luck, but from the day we bought this house, there was life magic.”

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (9)

They have restored and maintained most of the original details.

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (10)

The listing says: “8200 Narrows Avenue is enchanting, inviting, and romantic. This fairy-tale estate has been featured in a Prague Museum as one of the ten most beautiful places in the United States and is considered one of the finest examples of Arts & Crafts architecture in NYC by Landmarks of New York.”

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (16)

Also: “The house features original oak paneled walls, Burmese mahogany floors, coffered ceilings with hand painted canvases, pastoral plaster relief, antique stained glass artwork imported from Europe, handmade tiles, and handcrafted fireplaces.”

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (3)

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (11)

For more photos and information about the Gingerbread House, check the Douglas Elliman listing and articles at NY Daily News and Curbed.

8200 Narrows Avenue Gingerbread House Brooklyn (8)

 Visit my “Cottages” page to see more houses with storybook charm, including…

Fig-Tree-Cottage 325

Fig Tree Cottage


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House Crazy Sarah June 3, 2013 at 8:08 am

Love this house! What a gem – and so nice to see that they have kept the vintage charm!
I can see why this house has brought them good luck and a happy life!

Alie B June 3, 2013 at 8:17 am

This is very pretty! It’s fun to look at a fairy tale place like this, even if living there would not be one’s cup of tea. To me it looks like it belongs in the remote woods somewhere and not in New York City.

jep June 3, 2013 at 8:39 am

What a beautiful house. I could live there happily, it is just my “storybook cottage” ideal style. Reminds me of the “storybook houses” in California that I have seen pictures of on the internet. You made my day Julia, thank you!

Julie June 3, 2013 at 8:52 am

How cute! Tons of charm. My kids would love this since they’re huge “Hobbit” fans.

Cheryl in Wisconsin June 3, 2013 at 9:02 am

Simply stated: perfection.

missgulfsouth June 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

Oh my word. LOVE!!!! Living there would be spectacular, and in NYC to boot! <3

Pedro June 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

Anybody ever read Storybook Style? If there were ever to be an updated version published, this house would fit right in.

jep June 4, 2013 at 7:42 am

I agree, this house would qualify to be in the book. There is a site:
storybookers.com with pictures of some of the CA storybook homes. Fun!

KellyW June 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

I like it, but I doubt it’s one of the ten most beautiful places in the United States.

Wendy June 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

I live in a storybook cottage in California. I wish mine were 1/10 as pretty as that is on the inside. I like the outside even better than the inside. Sigh.

snaggy June 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Sorry… but I think it looks bloody awful from the outside and as for
the ” thatched roof” !!!!!

Jen June 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

There is some nice bits here but something about just no

Christina from Dallas June 3, 2013 at 2:24 pm

It would make an interesting movie set if it already hasn’t been before.

Kim June 3, 2013 at 2:25 pm

This house is very charming. I love the inside and outside.

Liam June 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I grew up admiring this house and always wondered what it looked like inside. This home is admired by people all across Brooklyn so I am so glad you shared this! As someone who use to live and currently attends school in Bay Ridge I think this post is awesome.

Billy June 3, 2013 at 10:49 pm

great house but at $11,000k, a drop for the 2009 $12,000k ask, seems ambitious. That kinda of money will get a double wide (townhouse) off the park.

Kelly - Talk of the House June 4, 2013 at 6:15 am

Very unique home! Not my style but I can certainly see why it would be considered romantic. That living room with the set of 3 triple windows would be my favorite, and what a cool curving staircase!

Luciane at HomeBunch.com June 4, 2013 at 7:49 am

Hello Julia!

How are you doing? I hope everything is great with you! :-)

This place has plenty of charm and interesting details. I don’t think you can get bored in this place. I especially like the dining room. It’s very classy and elegant.

Have a wonderful Tuesday, Julia!

Luciane at HomeBunch.com

Carolyn June 4, 2013 at 7:50 am

Wow! Love. Nice to see the original details so faithfully kept and well maintained. I wondered what happened to the original light fixture in the dining room, though. (And I don’t know why anyone would call it a “Hobbit” house when hobbits lived in holes in the ground! Nice holes, of course.)

Dean June 4, 2013 at 9:48 am

The exterior is really charming in a storybook kind of way, but the interior is not what I expected at all. I thought the rooms would be less formal. Love the stained glass windows.

Chris June 5, 2013 at 7:12 am

Perfect. Why do I not know about this home? I’m originally from Brooklyn. Gorgeous

Nita June 6, 2013 at 8:10 pm

My friend took me to see this house last summer and we took photos. It is not in the city per se, but in a lovely neighborhood. It is more beautiful in person and very shady among the trees. The side yard has a little cottage too.

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