Although it’s located a block from the Sara D. Roosevelt Park and the M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden, this four-bedroom carriage house on Eldridge Street has plenty of nature within its own four walls thanks to a plant-filled, custom-designed waterfall, which cascades from the third floor to the first floor under a large skylight. Now on the market for $7,995,000, the 6,000-square-foot brick townhouse was first constructed in the late 1870s and served as an office of the sausage-casing distributor Sigmund Oppenheimer. (The faded words “S. Oppenheimer” across an exterior metal beam of one of the loading bays are the oldest painted signage in New York City.)
The building was then used as a carriage house and included a large platform elevator that hauled horses and carriages up and down. When the current sellers — restaurateurs Dany and Georges Forgeois of Jules Bistro, Le Singe, and Bar Tabac — purchased the property in 1995, they undertook a two-and-a-half-year renovation, transforming the flatbed elevator shaft into a stairway with the custom waterfall as backdrop. “I remember thinking that this large, big house might be a bit dry and the waterfall could act as a humidifier,” says Dany Forgeois. “I also wanted the soothing effect of running water.”
Made from gray stone and reclaimed wood sourced from a barn in upstate New York, the wall features pipes crafted to look like tree branches that guide the water across the stones and down shelves lined with ferns and trumpet vines. The rustic wooden planks at the top of the wall are a nod to the old elevator, parts of which — including the wooden beams and exposed pulley system — still remain. The waterfall ends in a first-floor basin lined with Moroccan tiles (left over from the 1995 kitchen renovation) in orange, teal, and navy.
The waterfall is currently disconnected while the home is on the market; Forgeois reports that the lining of the basin is in need of repair. The rest of the wall, however, is in good condition.