‘House’ proud

The Brooklyn Paper
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Workers from “This Old House” are gutting a Prospect Heights brownstone as part of the long-running home improvement show’s first New York project — but this is not a free ride for homeowners Kevin Costello and Karen Shen.

The couple bought the 4,000-square foot Renaissance Revival townhouse on Sterling Place in June and intended to fix it up themselves. But when they heard that “This Old House” was coming to New York, they applied.

The estimated $600,000 in renovations — for which the family is paying — are expected to last until February.

The series of episodes about the Costello-Shen homestead will begin airing in January, and will chronicle the conversion of the 104-year-old townhouse from an eight-unit bording house into a three-family home.

The garden and top-floor apartments will be rented out, while Costello, Shen and their three young boys will live in the two middle floors.

At a tour this week of the project site, the “This Old House” cast could hardly contain its excitement for the architecture and period pieces from the house.

“It is amazing that all this original woodwork is here — it’s not hacked up or torn up,” said Norm Abram, the show’s master carpenter. “Often, you come into these projects and everything is missing. We are amazed that it’s in this condition.”

Brooklynites are responding to the show in swarms, too, producer Deborah Hood said.

Of the hundreds of applications, over a quarter were from Brooklyn. When the film crew was working on Tuesday, Hood said people kept approaching them and wanted to share their own brownstone renovation stories.

“We’re so excited to be in the brownstone community,” said Hood.

“People just love their old houses, and they are so passionate about their brownstones. It’s the perfect place to be.”

The 10 episodes of “This Old House” will air on PBS, starting on Jan. 22, and in the meantime, devoted fans can check in on the work at

Updated 5:09 pm, July 9, 2018
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