French-born decorative painter Pierre Finkelstein is a graduate of the lofty-sounding Van Der Kellen Painting Institute, in Brussels, and the 1990 recipient of the title “best craftsman in France,” according to his website. (We’re not really sure how official any of these rankings are.) His skill? Painting modest surfaces to resemble more exalted ones—like marble or wood.
But from the looks of the Park Slope co-op at 378 Fourth Street that he’s acquired for just over $1 million ($33,750 more) according to city records, he won’t have to ply his trade in his new home.
“Views! Views! Views!” announces the sales listing—carried out under the auspices of Tom Titone at Corcoran—a not-so-subtle allusion to the three-bedroom’s 11 windows and “sweetly planted” roof deck. All of the above take in vistas of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spiked in the foreground with the tops of the neighborhood’s abundant trees and brownstones. The deck, to which the other three units in the building are entitled practically only in the event of fire, Mr. Titone told The Observer, represents a particularly attractive and—for a unit of this type and price—unusual commodity.
“Private deeded roof space is hard to find in buildings like these,” the broker said. “Most of the time it’s going to be shared space. It’s really pretty wonderful.” (And it will remain that way, we imagine, when it comes time for the painter to sell the apartment himself.) Mr. Finkelstein also specializes in trompe l’oeil, a technique that creates optical illusions, often meant to give the appearance of extended space or distance. But in this light-drenched unit, he will be in no danger of claustrophobia. Bedrooms, living and dining rooms sport yards of classic molding done in white, upon which Mr. Finkelstein would be foolhardy to attempt improvement. (The kitchen, on the other hand, has a bit of an institutional vibe, and would likely benefit from his flourishes.)
The unit’s previous owner, Edison Warner Dick, the son of a Chicago industrialist, bought the property in 2005 for $742,500, and has made out rather nicely in the deal. And should his new home need a little classing up, he need look no further than the new occupant of his old place. But if Mr. Dick is on a budget, or if—like so many of the younger Brooklyn set—he is a do-it-yourself type, he can simply pick up Mr. Finkelstein’s book: The Art of Faux.