My home city of Chicago is an architecture fan’s dream city. There are so many different styles of buildings all crammed together, that five years into living here I still find myself walking to work with my neck craned upward. I can’t even imagine all the striking stories these buildings could tell. I am sure my apartment building — a 100-year-old walkup — can tell its fair share of stories, but I haven’t discovered much beyond finding out it’s been home to three generations of my landlord’s family. So when I heard that New York-based prop-stylist Kira and her photographer partner Scott found out their rent-controlled Crown Heights, Brooklyn apartment was actually part of an old converted hospital, I was excited to hear more about their building’s history.
Both Kira and Scott hail from small, New England towns that are a far cry from the buzzing, 24-hour marathon that New York can be. The hustle and bustle of the city is something the couple truly loves, but when they were on the hunt for their home, they wanted to ensure that their new space provided a calming refuge from the city. The old hospital conversion that they stumbled upon was not only convenient to public transportation, but to famers’ markets, the Brooklyn Museum, the public library and much more. “There was a lot to do within walking distance and there are tons of great restaurants, bars and coffee shops,” Kira says. The one-bedroom’s abundance of light was a huge selling point for the couple, as well as its ability to be changed to suit their lives. “After a few years this apartment definitely feels like home, especially since we have customized it so much to meet our needs. We’ve done things gradually, but it’s a process that never really feels finished,” Kira says. “We could go on tweaking and improving forever.” Being renters, it was important that the couple’s tweaks be minimally invasive so the changes were, “mostly just painting and making the occasional hole in the wall for a shelf or painting.” When planning, Kira and Scott’s aim was, “to create a space that felt like us, our colors and mood, but we also paid a lot of attention to having multiple functioning spaces in one.” Click through to see what a wonderful job they’ve done creating a space that’s unique to them while cleverly tackling their home’s challenges. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography by Alice Gao