Photographs by Dean Kaufman
Back in 2010, Kit and Philipp von Dalwig were poking around for a place to buy in Clinton Hill. “We were looking at this kosher bakery that was for sale,” Kit recalls, “when someone told us, ‘Wait, why don’t you look across the street at the garage? I heard that guy is selling.’ ” And so they did. “We just knocked on the door, met the owner, looked inside, and said, ‘Oh my God, this place is really crazy.’ ” What they saw was raw commercial space crammed with years of accumulated cars and auto parts. But the price was right, and the two embarked on the long process of turning the building into their home. Even for two architects, this was a challenge. First it took a while for the former tenant to move out. Then there was a six-month period to secure permits for the courtyard and the second-story addition, and then another eight months for the renovation. Today, the downstairs sitting room is bathed in sun; a glass-encased, open-roofed, James Turrell–style interior garden separates the guest room from the living area while allowing for natural light and air. They’ve left enough room for an indoor parking space, and since the sidewalk has retained its original curb cut, they have a permanent spot out front, too.