Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka Record Their Brownstone

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka List Their Brownstone

Neil Patrick Harris and husband David Burtka are selling their Harlem home, a renovated 1908 sandstone house that they filled with quirky collectibles and furnishings, from a robotic parrot to the bar on the TV sitcom How I Met Your Mother in which both actors played. There is even a “secret” room hidden on the top floor.

"We envision Willy Wonka meeting the Magic Castle," Harris said jokingly in an email about the eclectic facility.

The two are sad to leave the brownstone on 2036 Fifth Avenue between 125th and 126th Streets, but their primary residence is now in East Hampton. (They bought a 13.5 acre property there four years ago.)

"The Harlem Brownstone holds some of our dearest and fondest memories," said Mr. Harris. “Our children have spent most of their lives there. It is a very special place, and rightly so. "

Mr Burtka saw it similarly with the house: "There will always be a weakness in my heart."

The price for the home is $ 7.325 million with $ 19,712 in annual property taxes, according to Vickey Barron, a Compass realtor who lists the brownstone with colleague and daughter Pacey Barron.

Mr. Harris and Mr. Burtka bought the five-story Italian-style building near Marcus Garvey Park in 2013, a year before their marriage, for around $ 3.6 million, at what was then a high price for the neighborhood Central Harlem. Over the next 14 months, with the help of the architect Jeffery Povero and the interior designer Trace Lehnhoff, they converted it from a bed and breakfast to a single-family home. In its earlier days, the building is also said to have served as a whispering pub for Irish mill workers and as a schoolhouse for girls.

The couple have carefully restored and preserved much of the original architecture, such as the carved moldings and numerous fixtures, oak floors, pewter ceilings, and the ornate oak, sycamore, and ash staircase, while also adding some modern conveniences and antique pieces. "We both wanted to respect the history of the space and the area while still keeping it contemporary, creative, and accessible," said Harris.

The 20 foot wide brownstone is approximately 8,000 square feet with four bedrooms plus a library / den that could be converted into a fifth bedroom, along with four full bathrooms and two half baths. There's also a home theater, laundry room, and full basement gym, wine cellar, and game room for their 10-year-old twin brothers Gideon and Harper.

The outdoor space measures nearly 2,000 square feet and includes a terraced rear garden, a third floor terrace, an outdoor hot tub adjacent to the master bedroom suite, and a massive, irrigated roof terrace with a BBQ and wisteria-covered pergola.

"The rooftop is like a backyard in the sky," said Ms. Barron, adding that "the whole house is great for entertaining."

Mr. Harris and Mr. Burtka, who is also a chef, have hosted numerous parties and dinners there over the years. “There are just so many places to talk,” remarked Mr. Burtka. Guests often gathered on the rooftop or around a pretty wood and glass bar salvaged from a Connecticut hotel. And before they left, they were invited to choose one of the many drawers of a bespoke apothecary cabinet on the first floor, each filled with a playful parting gift. Some of these meetings were described in Mr. Burtka's book, Life Is a Party, a collection of recipes and entertainment tips published in 2019.

Across the house is the couple's contemporary art collection from artists like Tom LaDuke and Kehinde Wiley, along with a selection of taxidermy and magic and sideshow memorabilia, like the robotic parrot, and there's a player's piano. Mr. Harris – who has appeared in numerous films, television shows, and theater productions, including the comedy drama "Doogie Howser, M.D." earlier in his career – is a magician, just like his character in How I Met Your Mother. He performed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California and was once its president.

The main entrance to the house is through a large front door on a classic veranda. A foyer leads to two rooms. The front part contains the stairwell (there is no elevator), a music room, a guest toilet and a walk-in closet. The back saloon has the bar and gas fireplace, one of three in the house. Nearby there is a prep kitchen and doors to the terraced garden.

The garden level below houses the home cinema, formerly a conference room, as well as office and storage space. "It has a separate entrance," said Ms. Barron, which may appeal to some buyers. "If you have an office at home and you have people coming and going every day, they can come in without disturbing your private home, which is tremendous value."

On the third floor there is a living room with a fireplace, formal dining area and large kitchen with pantry, custom cabinetry and Caesarstone countertops with marble backs. Behind the kitchen is a patio with a built in gas grill.

The bedrooms are on the top two floors. The master suite is on the fourth level and has a spa-like marble bathroom with another fireplace and hot tub. Opposite the bedroom is a tin-ceilinged library.

Mr. Harris hides an office behind a trick door on the fifth floor. It opens by pressing a magician's eyeball on a vintage poster, according to a 2015 profile of Architectural Digest's Brownstone, and contains original art from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, other magical posters, and props.

However, Mr. Harris did not reveal too much about the secret room in his email. "It's a, uh, secret," he said, "hence the, uh, name of the room."

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