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Contemporary Renovation Of A Classic Brooklyn Rowhouse

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Soon after archtiect Brendan Coburn and Bertina Ceccarelli wed, they purchased, for $575,000, a classic Carroll Gardens rowhouse in need of a gut renovation. The problem? They desired a loft-like, contemporary design, while still maintaining the character of the building. After $550,000 and a lot of hard work, the couple, and their son, John, had a perfect mix of the two ideals. Here's how: Mr. Coburn had an idea: he wanted to "make the house into a light box." And how, you ask, did he manage to achieve a "light-filled" atmosphere in a townhouse? Actually, with just two simple elements: "a switchback staircase in the middle of the house, punctuated with landings made of slabs of glass and topped by a skylight that lets sunlight flood the room" and "huge windows facing the rear garden." And that's what they did.

While some "marriages have teetered over the choice of doorknobs," when this couple was asked if they differed in opinion over his design ideas, they simply stated, "no." Wow, they get along pretty well!

So to sum it up, this family created a remarkable, 1,800-square-foot (not including the basement apartment) Brooklyn pad with tons of natural light for about a $1M and had no arguments whatsoever during the renovation--a great story to liven up your otherwise boring Thursday afternoon.

· The Reconstituted Row House [The New York Times]