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Fitting A Family of Four into 750 Square Feet

by Garrett Fleming

Fitting a Family of Four into 750 Square Feet, Design*Sponge

Eleven and a half years ago, publicist Marlene Capron and her husband Todd, a furniture designer, came across this fixer-upper in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The ceiling was poorly patched, the fridge covered up a window, the bathroom was “uninhabitable” and its century-old charms were hidden behind layers of paint. It had potential, though, so the couple struck a deal with the landlord: they’d make the space shine in exchange for a reduction in rent.

Two rooms in particular got the bulk of Marlene and Todd’s attention during their first years in the home: the aforementioned bathroom and kitchen. To get the former back in working order, the couple installed a new bathtub, sink and commode. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the pair began reconfiguring the layout altogether. The stove, sink and fridge originally sat on the same wall and inconveniently blocked the only natural light streaming into the room. To give the space a better flow, Marlene and Todd changed where each was located. They then painted the walls and installed new flooring throughout.

Since this original renovation was completed the couple has had two children, and the apartment seems to be shrinking by the day. Luckily, they’re able to fit their family of four within the home’s 750 square feet thanks to several thoughtful hacks. By far their most clever move, though, has been installing a secret compartment in the dining table Todd designed and constructed. Simply lift the top, and you’ll find an abundance of storage for dishes and linens.

Some renters simply up and move when they outgrow their space, but Marlene and Todd have stayed put not only because of their love for their apartment, but because of the community that envelopes it. Their children’s school sits around the corner, the laundromat is across the street, and a Thai restaurant downstairs even signs for their packages. In New York’s hustle and bustle, these conveniences are worth more than square footage any day. Scroll down to tour the entire space, and enjoy! Garrett

Photography by Briana Devoe

Image above: This Cassina Lady chair – a reissue of a 1950s Marco Zanuso design – is upholstered in fabric by Calvin Klein’s previous creative director, Raf Simons. Marlene was initially concerned it was too luxurious for her family of four but took a chance on it after some convincing.

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“If you’re looking for a stylish and elegant neutral paint color, try Benjamin Moore ‘Pale Oak.’ We painted the entire apartment in ‘Pale Oak’ – except for the dining room – and we’ll repeat this same paint color in any other homes we live in down the line,” Marlene shares.

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Marlene and Todd love their tight-knit Prospect Heights community. The Thai restaurant below them even signs for their packages.

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The living room’s Cassina Lady chair prompted a redesign of the couple’s entire apartment. The family installed new floors, a new backsplash, recovered their sofa and purchased various other pieces.

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“The kitchen renovation took place about a year after moving in. The original layout had the sink, stove and fridge all against one wall. In order to move the fridge away from the window, we reconfigured the layout into an L shape, which works much better,” Marlene explains.

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The dining room’s gallery wall holds a collection of photographs Marlene has taken as well as the work of her friends.

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When Todd designed and constructed this table, he put the top on a hinge so the family could store their dishes inside the piece.

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“The depth is only about 3 1/2 inches – which does not seem like a lot – but… we are able to store my grandparents’ entire china set, linens and other entertaining/serving pieces [inside]. It’s genius!” Marlene explains.

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Marlene and Todd’s bedroom gets fantastic afternoon light. Marlene says, “Every weekend I’m chasing the sun and moving the plants around the room so that they get some quality sun time.”

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The bedroom dresser is filled with sweaters and all of Marlene’s crafting supplies. If she lived in a larger home, she says there would be an entire room dedicated to wrapping gifts.

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To make the kids room feel larger, Todd and Marlene bought them bunk beds and painted the set the same color as the walls. They not only blend in, but they put unused vertical space to work.

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“What I love most about our home is that while it is far from perfect, we did everything with our own hands.” – Marlene Capron

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Wallpaper from Eskayel revamped the quaint bathroom in a snap.

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The sink was a prototype Todd created for W Hotels – one of his clients.

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Todd’s office actually sits off the hallway connecting the couple’s apartment with their neighbor’s.

SOURCE LIST

Living Room
Rug – Eskayel “Kotoubia” rug in Pausa
Sofa pillows – Eskayel
Credenza, bar console, bistro table – West Elm
Chandelier – Patrick Townsend
Sofa – Todd Hass upholstered in Maharam “Pare” fabric
Chair – Cassina
NYC photo – Douglas Levere
Silhouettes – Carter Kustera
Coffee table – vintage
Garland – Kiwi Crate
Ceramic wood stump – Roost
Sunburst metal wall art – C. Jere
Porcelain wood logs – Klein Reid “Still Life” wood set
Lamp – Todd Hase

Kitchen
Floor – Eskayel for clé tile
Cabinets, countertop – IKEA

Dining Room
Table – Todd Capron
Rug – Eskayel “Medina”
Vases – Cubisme XL + L by L’OBJET
Light fixture – “Aneonme” by Robert Abbey
Art – “New York Invasion” print by Faile, “See America” National Parks prints by Print Collection

Marlene & Todd’s Room
Bedding – West Elm
Throw – L’OBJET
Long pillow on bed – Eskayel
Zebra rug, credenza, ceramic lamp, platinum dish, vases – Jonathan Adler
Loro Piana cashmere covered ottoman – Todd Hase
Bed – Crate + Barrel
Painting – Brett Andrus
Light fixture – IKEA

Boys’ Room
Bunk beds – IKEA painted in Benjamin Moore “Pale Oak”
Art – Jen Corce, Wayne Pate
Eames elephant – Herman Miller
Toy cars – Candylab Toys

Bathroom
Wallpaper – Eskayel
Clock – Vitra
Shower curtain – William Sonoma Home
Towels – West Elm

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