January 30, 2020 The New York Times

They Wanted a Multigenerational Home in Brooklyn. Which Apartment Did They Choose?

With a baby and two grandparents in the mix, a couple look for a place that can accommodate everyone. Here’s where they landed.

In 2014, Julia Cox moved into a two-bedroom rental with a balcony in Brooklyn Heights. The neighborhood reminded her of her native Philadelphia, she said, “with lower-scale buildings and older architecture.”

She thought the apartment — with a rent in the low $4,000s — might feel extravagant for a person living alone, but as it turned out, that wouldn’t be for long. A month later she met Tom Limongello, who was living in a Murray Hill bachelor pad. He joined her in the two-bedroom; the couple married soon after, and she took her husband’s last name.

As they awaited the birth of their daughter, they pondered another kind of arrangement: a multigenerational household, where Mrs. Limongello’s parents could live with them part-time.

The Limongellos began the hunt for a home with room for everyone, but it was hard to find something suitable.

“My favorite pastime is randomly scrolling through StreetEasy and Zillow, and I did that for a whole year,” said Mrs. Limongello, 36, who manages construction for a real estate developer. What she found, though, was “while the exteriors are beautiful, the interiors are often old and dated.”

Their aim was to stay in or near Brooklyn Heights. For three bedrooms and two bathrooms, ideally with private outdoor space and a washer-dryer, their budget started at around $8,000.

Early on, they decided against a duplex in a charming two-family brick row house. “It was super old-school, and you can imagine they had heating and other types of issues,” said Mr. Limongello, 42, a product manager for an advertising technology company.

When their daughter, Livia, started crawling, the two-bedroom began to feel cramped. Her room was “the size of a large walk-in closet in a suburban home,” Mrs. Limongello said. Mr. Limongello worried that he would bump the baby in the tight space.

Mrs. Limongello’s parents, Malcolm and Rosalie Cox, live near their other daughter’s family, outside of Philadelphia, but planned to spend about a third of their time in Brooklyn and contribute about a third of the rent.


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