Name: Sophie and Michael
Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York
Size: Full corner brownstone with rental unit
Years lived in: 3 years; Owned
Sophie and Michael live with their two kids in a sprawling Brooklyn brownstone. Rather than fill it with a lot of new stuff, they've scoured auctions and curbsides, bartered with artists, stumbled upon floor samples and discontinued items, adapted family heirlooms, and built their own furniture.
When Sophie and Michael first looked at the house, it was in a sad state indeed. Neighbors avoided the place, deeming it weird and scary. For decades it had served as a rooming house, in which each of the building's 12 units had a peephole and a locked door. By the time they placed their bid, only one boarder remained and the house was in an extreme state of disrepair.
Sophie and Michael, owners of a children's clothing and furniture design company, are very good at looking past obstacles to see their creativity- fueled vision. They were undeterred by the building's past and got the house with a severely under-market bid. Sophie describes their first year in the house as "living amongst rubble." They remained onsite through the kitchen and bathroom renovations. Along the way, they demolished almost all of the main floor's walls to create an open dining/living/cooking arrangement. Their carpenter began to seem like another family member, he was there so often. Eventually, a home started to take shape.