The 19th century Brooklyn Heights house featured in the 1987 film “Moonstruck” has hit the real estate market — giving buyers the chance to scoop up an iconic piece of movie lore for a whopping $12.85 million.
The romantic comedy — starring Cher, Nicholas Cage, and Olypmia Dukakis — prominently featured the exterior of the residence on the corner of Cranberry and Willow streets, along with its surrounding areas, although the interior scenes were filmed elsewhere.
In real life, it’s a grand single-family home filled with pristine-looking details, such as pocket doors, moldings, mantels and ceiling medallions. The 26-foot-wide brick house was under wraps for a couple of years during a restoration project that included work on the mansard roof, the brownstone stoop and the ironwork fence. That mansard roof, complete with cresting, is a later 19th century addition to the circa 1830s house, bringing a Second Empire touch to the original Federal style house.
The history of the ‘Moonstruck’ home
While the fictional Castorini family from “Moonstruck” may be the public’s main association with the property, some of the residents who lived in the building throughout its 180-plus-year history have some equally dramatic stories.
The most extreme might be the 1880s scandal and lawsuit over the house’s ownership after Dr. Herman Richardt was accused of having “complete control and mastery” over the mind of owner Catharine A. Valentine, which her family claimed caused Valentine to give him the building’s deed. The case was followed extensively in the press as the dueling parties fought over the property and the guardianship of Valentine’s son, who was removed from her care over claims of an “illicit relationship.”
In 1961, the house was purchased by Edward and Francesca Rullman. An architect, Edward Rullman was chairman of the Brooklyn Heights Association’s Design Advisory Council and was active in the movement to designate Brooklyn Heights a historic district. His decision to sell the house in 2008 after years of restoring it and more than 50 other homes in the neighborhood was detailed the New York Times, with Mr. Rullman telling the paper, “We got 100 times what we paid for it back in 1961.”
Back on the market
It’s now on the market for the first time, and its price has soared. The interior was part of the recent renovation project, and the listing notes the house has a new steel infrastructure, a gym and wine cellar in a newly excavated cellar, and recently restored original details.
On the parlor level there are pocket doors framed with Ionic pilasters between the double parlors, crown moldings and two dark marble mantels with fireplaces now in working order.
Downstairs, the kitchen has been given a warm, aged look with vintage wood cabinets salvaged from an Ohio mansion to go along with exposed beams, a wood-burning stove, wide-planked floorboards and a banquette. There’s also a garden-facing wood-lined library with built-in bookshelves and a wood-burning stove.
Above the parlor floor is a bedroom suite with study, dressing room, and impressive bath. The latter continues the vintage look with marble floors, a freestanding glass shower, and separate soaking tub. Three more bedrooms and another full bath — this one covered in penny tile and with a walk-in shower and marble corner sink — make up the top floor. The house also has a laundry room and central air, according to the listing.
There is a driveway on the Willow Street side entrance to the property, and the floor plan shows a car parking space takes up less than a third of the backyard. The listing photo of the garden shows a terrace off the rear parlor, a brick-lined patio, and a concrete pad with a parked Vespa.
This story first appeared on Brownstoner.