Actors Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka have put their beautifully renovated Harlem brownstone on the market. As first reported by the New York Times, the 20-foot-wide, 8,000 square foot brownstone is listed for $7.3 million with Vickey Barron at Compass. Built in 1907 and purchased by the couple in 2013 for $3.6 million, the townhouse was formerly a bed and breakfast, so required about a year of renovations before the family — Neil, David, and twins Harper and Gideon — could move in.
The five-story home boasts 18 rooms in all, including four bedrooms, a library/den that could be converted to a bedroom, as well as four full bathrooms and two half baths. The interiors are bursting with charm, wit, and good taste, plus gorgeously restored woodwork.
The ground floor includes a lounge with gas fireplace and a vintage bar from a Connecticut hotel, now updated with all new plumbing and appliances. A special feature of the room is the chandelier, designed by Carolina Fontoura Alzaga, using bicycle chains instead of crystal ropes. Another notable feature are the taxidermy bears, taxidermy being a prominent decorative element found throughout the house. The music room includes a Yamaha player piano with wifi capability that plays whatever songs are streamed.
The next level includes a large, serene living room, dining, and a kitchen that can be closed off via pocket doors. Chef Burtka oversaw the kitchen renovations to his own standards; he was trained at Le Cordon Bleu and worked at Mario Batali’s Babbo restaurant. Off the kitchen is a small deck with built-in barbecue. The third floor contains a library/den and a master bedroom with a spa-like bath, the aforementioned balcony and outdoor hot tub. The top floor features three more bedrooms and two bathrooms, a laundry room and Harris’ office.
Harris is an aficionado of magic and has performed extensively as a magician — he’s a former board member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood — and his top-floor office is concealed behind a trick door that opens when the eye of a magician on a vintage poster is pressed. Inside are more magic posters and props, including from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Down on the garden level of the house is a large office used for Harris and Burtka’s production company, along with a red-walled home theater. (Besides the Harlem-themed images, of special note for vintage movie and poster lovers is a poster for the 1965 cult classic “Dr Terror’s House of Horrors,” a personal favorite.) The basement boasts a rec room, a wine cellar, a gym and lots of storage.
Harris and Burtka made the most of the nearly 2,000 square feet of outdoor space available, as well. In addition to a terraced rear garden, there’s a third-floor deck, an outdoor hot tub off the master bedroom — it’s shielded from the prying eyes of neighbors by high fencing, and a roof deck complete with a barbecue and wisteria-covered pergola.
How can the family bear to leave? Apparently they’re spending most of their time nowadays at their home in the Hamptons. The couple purchased the 13.5-acre East Hampton, N.Y., estate, with a 5,250-square-foot, 4-bedroom house, for $5.5 million in 2017. Though we’re sure the family have erased all the bad juju with their magic tricks and wholesome, cute-kid antics, the property is known locally as the “Orgy House.” On the extensive grounds are a swimming pool and cabana, a rooftop hot tub, a tennis court with viewing pavilion, a lily pond, and a tea house.