Frederick B. White was a prolific yet short-lived architect from New York City. Considering his untimely death at the age of 24, it is remarkable to see the amount of work he completed in the short time after graduating from Princeton University. 381 West End Avenue is a shining example of Flemish Renaissance Revival architecture and is one of few private residences White Completed in the city. Though the exquisite brickwork and roofline are still in tact, the curb appeal and landscaping left much to be desired when I passed by the building this week.
Curbside Catastrophe: 381 West End Avenue
January 9, 2012 by jeffreyerb
One of the biggest influences on perceived value of a home is the level of maintenance. Cosmetics may seem skin deep, but when a potential buyer (renter or otherwise) sees cracks on the surface of a wall, they always wonder what’s going on beneath the surface. This building was originally constructed and completed in 1886 for Henry H. Hewett (supposedly a dry goods clerk), and now stands in a state of disrepair. Buckets, garbage and construction debris filled the fenced area around the front entrance. Overgrown shrubs and lackluster English Ivy provide some greenery, but the overall effect is unkempt.
I can’t help but imagine the front of this building with more attractive landscaping. An arched gate could mimic the top of the front door and lower hedges would help make the space feel more open and inviting. Wisteria climbing up the southern facade would be magnificent in spring. Additional layers of grasses and an ornamental tree could transform the corner of 78th street and West End Avenue into a sidewalk sensation. Read more about properties in the West End Collegiate Historic District here.