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This Zen Condo Was Once a Catholic Schoolroom in Brooklyn

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Chris Cooper and Jennifer Hanlin met in graduate school, bought a Cobble Hill condo about a decade ago, had twins, and then undertook a major renovation last year, when the kids were 10, so that each child could have a room to themselves. But now, consider two crucial details: Cooper and Hanlin are both architects. The condo they bought was in 1920s-built Catholic school on Hicks Street, converted to apartments in the 80s and opened to the public during Open House New York weekend. Along with marks in the floor where nails used to bolt desks and chairs to the ground and urinals from the boys' bathroom (unearthed when carpet was removed during the master bedroom's makeover), another facet of the apartment was 13.5-foot ceilings and rough concrete ceilings. The renovation, driven in part by Japanese aesthetics (think plenty of white and wood) and Cooper's experience working on museums, resulted in rooms on multiple levels: first, the full-height living room, with a home office to one side, containing shelving that stretches to the ceiling, and a girl's room with a lofted bed to the other.

Up a short flight of stairs is the mezzanine floor—formerly a crawl space, so watch your head!—that houses a family room lined with books as well as storage. (The kitchen is right underneath.) Making the crawl space livable helped Cooper and Hanlin add 325 square feet to the condo.

The master bedroom and bathroom lie nearby, and up one more flight is the boy's room, with lots of display cases for curios found in Brooklyn markets and Harry Potter paraphernalia. He's even got a small terrace looking east over most of Brooklyn, though he's only allowed to go out there with permission.
· The Elastic Interior [NYT]
· All Open House New York 2014 coverage [Curbed]