Built in 1886, this historic Brooklyn mansion has been
owned for forty-five years by Everett and Evelyn Ortner, known as “The Couple
Who Saved Park Slope” (NYT 4-25-04).
They were noted preservation activists and Evelyn was an interior
designer specializing in period interiors.
This couple devoted their lives to brownstone preservation and brownstone
living. They moved into Park Slope when its
brownstones were unfashionable and preservation was unpopular. Through their efforts, the neighborhood has
become one of the most desirable in Brooklyn and painstaking brownstone
preservation has become de rigueur in
Practicing what they preach, they have preserved and
restored their own townhouse so that much of it is unchanged from its original
state. Original mahogany woodwork and
gleaming original parquetry ornament almost every room. The entire parlour floor is museum quality, and
preserves souvenirs of the past such as original lincrusta wallcoverings,
speaking tubes, and knickknack niches above the mantelpiece. Original gas fixtures have been converted or
saved, and the house is still heated by its original heating system. They have preserved the historic inclinator
for handicapped accessibility. The
inclinators in this house are possibly the oldest in the United States, dating
from the first ever produced in the 1920s.