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Maggie Smith's Delancey Street Mansion Keeps a Low Profile

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This grand six-bedroom home, built in 1862 at 20th and Delancey, is on the market for the first time in 40 years. We're sure it has a fascinating history but when we asked a member of the family to elaborate, he said that his mother, who lives there, prefers to keep a low profile when it comes to the family properties. We now imagine Maggie Smith at the head of the table there—amidst the sound of clinking dishes—imperiously fixing her gaze on curious real estate bloggers who chew with their mouths open. Perhaps we need a a break from PBS miniseries.

The floor-to-ceiling French-door windows in the dining room and living room let in a lot of light, but on stormy days there are several antique crystal chandeliers in the house, one of them from the 18th century. In keeping with the Upstairs Downstairs feel, there's a serving kitchen with a dumbwaiter that goes down to a basement kitchen. The listing also mentions a "hidden workroom"—where the circumspect can practice games of whist.

Size: 6 beds, 5 baths, 4,410 square feet
Parking: Enclosed
Extras: Stairlift; fireplaces
Modernity intrudes: Central air
Price: $2.9 million
· Listing: 2041 Delancey St. [Coldwell Banker]