Townhouse tales: Grand Avenue Townhouse, Clinton Hill

The co-founder of Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg food market and Berg’n beer hall, Jonathan Butler is the man behind some of Brooklyn’s most popular food and lifestyle hotspots. Of course, he lives in the heart of it all, in a 1870s brownstone he and his wife, Kira von Eichel, have filled with vintage finds and second-hand treasures.

Photography Steven Brahms

_LOW0347Jonathan: This house has shaped my future. My life has become very Brooklyn-centric and I think that none of that stuff would have happened if we hadn’t bought this house.

Kira: I knew instantly it was the right house for us. When we bought the townhouse in 2004, it was chopped up into about 13 apartments. We spent a year installing a new kitchen, bathrooms, windows, plumbing and electricity, but the biggest challenge was craning a huge porcelain bath we found in a salvage yard through the window into the master bathroom. It was impossible to lift even for five men.


Jonathan: We both have an appreciation of the old and wanted to put our own creative stamp on a house.

Kira: I tend to ascribe a lot of meanings to objects, not in a materialistic way, but more in a sentimental or academic way.

Kira: When we first got together we would always go to flea markets. Buying a house that was falling apart and filling it with treasures from flea markets felt very right for us.

_LOW0952_LOW0612Jonathan: The sunlight-filled music room with its piano and array of guitars is a family hotspot. Bella, our daughter, lives there and is always making up songs. Sevi, our son, plays music only when no-one’s looking. I do play guitar but, on the weekends, you’re more likely to find me in the dining room, cataloguing my record collection on the MilkCrate app. As a kid, I was a huge baseball card collector and this is sort of the grown-up equivalent.

Kira: My favourite room is the white marble kitchen, at the front of the house, with its custom-made banquette inspired by a Bauhaus chair. It’s the centre of the house.

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