Ditmas Park, Brooklyn is full of Victorian homes and the “Bromley House” is one of them. Tucked away on a quiet street, this house is home to 8 renters. Tenets move in and out, but because of the house’s history as a music school and the practice space available in the basement, it has been a magnet for local musicians. My friend Jess Wolfe is a singer in the band Lucius and also a tenet of this amazing space. She has allowed us to have a peek inside.
Jess’s Room includes two window seats, a private sink and a working fireplace! And right outside her door is a very odd bar area…
And then there is the practice/work space in the basement
Here are some shots of other spaces in the house. It seems that each bedroom has its own unique nooks and crannies.
How many people live in the house?
8 of us, 5 being musicians
What do you know about the house’s history?
The house was a music school and recording studio for over 60 years operated by Buster and Fae Bromley. They had a presentation orchestra, music lessons, recording studio, the whole 9 yards. They even left behind many of their instruments. Three pianos (2 uprights from the late 1800s and 1 grand Steinway from 1921) as well as an organ and many manuscripts, orchestra banners, etc…
We were told that even before the Bromleys, the house was a music school when it was first built, but I dont know much of the history there.
How has the house’s history inspired you?
It was such a special find to learn of the house’s rich history, especially because when I first found it (on Craigslist) I knew nothing of it, and only when we were getting ready to sign the lease, were we told some of the Bromley’s history. When we first moved in we were so inspired by the spirit of it all that we wrote many songs and actually dedicated our album to the house “Songs From The Bromley House.” [Editor's note: to check out Lucius and Songs From The Bromley House click here!]
Another cool thing about it was when we moved in, they offered to leave many of the houses original furnishings. We were given desks, rugs, record players, tables, lamps… the desk that was left in my room was pretty filthy. I took some time to clean it, opened the drawers, only to find a typed letter from 1933. It is stuff like that that makes everything so precious and meaningful to us.
I’ve heard stories that the house is haunted. Have you experienced anything weird?
I dont want to offend anyone who may end up reading this article, but we have definitely had some interesting experiences. One of my roommates saw a man, described him specifically and two weeks later, a house guest of ours (who had never met that roommate or heard the story of the man) saw the same man and described his features verbatim. There are other stories like that, but that was probably the most odd. We also have 2 doorbells, that go off at different times, and lately the chime has been playing a completely different melody (jingle bell to be exact). We have no idea how it changed or if it is even coming from one of those doorbells.
What’s your favorite thing about your living space?
The stories that come with the space, the high ceilings, the original and ornate detailing (yellow glass doors with small circular detailing, candelabras, floral wallpapers, wood walls and special window detailing).
What’s the best “inherited” piece of furniture in your space (referring to things that came with the house).
I think id have to say the 1921 grand Steinway. Its in near-perfect condition, and come on – a musician’s dream!
The acoustics of the house also help :)
If you could change one thing about your space what would it be?
7 roommates and heat bills!