Mott Haven Decorator Show House launches this summer

Samuel Brook’s 442 E. 140th Street historic townhouse will be transformed into the first-ever ‘Mott Haven Decorator Show House’.
Photo courtesy of Samuel Brooks

This summer, a landmark Mott Haven townhouse will become an elegant exhibition preserving the neighborhood’s history.

The Mott Haven Historic Districts Association will launch its inaugural ‘Mott Haven Decorator Show House’ to raise funds supporting projects within the area’s historic districts.

Interior designers will collaborate with local young up-and-coming designers to transform a landmark townhouse into an elegant exhibition of fine furnishings, art and technology.

Working with fiscal sponsor South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, Samuel Brooks, MHHDA president, plans to convert his three-story 442 E. 140th Street home in the Mott Haven East Historic District into a show house.

Brooks will open his home to the public for a $20 admission with a 25% discount for 10454 residents.

All proceeds raised will improve the three historic districts’ streetscapes, historical lampposts, tree guards and historical signage.

These historic districts include the Mott Haven Historic District at East 138th and 141st streets on Alexander Avenue, the Mott Haven East Historic District spanning Brook and Willis avenues on East 139th and 140th streets and the Bertine Block Historic District between Brown Place and Willis Avenue on East 136th Street.

The Mott Haven Historic District was landmarked in 1969 while the Mott Haven East Historic District and the Bertine Block Historic District were landmarked in 1994.

The Mott Haven Historic District was the first historic district to be designated in the Bronx.

The borough is home to 12 historic districts, eight interior landmarks and 93 individual landmarks.

Brooks’ home was constructed in 1889 by local developers William O’Gorman and Hermann Stursberg.

O’Gorman served as architect designing the south side townhouses in a neo-Grec style characterized by uniform Philadelphia brick façades adorned with incised geometric stone ornaments and topped by bracketed metal cornices.

A sneak peek inside the Mott Haven Decorator Show House in all of its neo-Grec glory.
Photo courtesy of Samuel Brooks

Brooks, a 43-year resident, was inspired by the Kips Bay Decorator Show House and Pasadena Showcase House of Design to create MHDSH.

“There are no specific guidelines, we want the designers to come in here with an open mind,” he explained.

Participating designers include Jason Tackmann, Sobro Studios Surface president; Pedro Castillo, PC Interior Renovation president and Stacey Dipersia, a TriBeCa-based interior designer.

Once completed, seven New York School of Interior Design graduate students will create an Airbnb hospitality suite for tourists in the townhouse’s lower level.

Brooks said MHHDA has contacted the school and is awaiting its response.

The house will attract tourists to the historic districts while educating them on the districts’ architectural and historical contributions to the borough.

In addition, MHHDA and Bronx Museum of the Arts will have 50 artists visit Mott Haven to paint whatever the neighborhood inspires them to create on 12-foot by 12-foot canvases.

The artwork will be displayed inside the show house where visitors can bid on their favorite pieces.

All proceeds raised will go to the artists.

Show house volunteers must submit their applications no later than April.

If interested, visit the ‘Contact Us’ section at www.mhhda.org to send an email with the subject heading ‘Show House Committee 2017’.

Samuel Brooks, MHHDA president, plans to convert his 127-year-old neo-Grec townhouse into a ‘decorator’s show house’ for residents and tourists to experience Mott Haven’s rich history.
Photo courtesy of Samuel Brooks

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