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Total Converts

The Storefront
An 800-square-foot antiques store turned home in Greenpoint.

Illustration by Jason Lee  

What’s the history of this building?
Maya Marzolf, owner: I opened my antiques store, Le Grenier, here in 2009. When it was built in the 1880s, there was likely a commercial space on the ground floor, but I haven’t unearthed what it was. It had been purely residential until my friend and I purchased the building in 2007. We had to put in I-beams and rip out the façade; it was a complete gut job.

What gave you the idea to turn the store into an apartment?
2009 was really too soon to open a shop at the far end of Greenpoint Avenue. So I decided to close up and try renting it out as an apartment. But as soon as I converted it last year, all my inventory went into the basement, and then the basement got flooded during Hurricane Sandy. The idea was always that I wanted to have the option to reopen my store after I converted it into an apartment. I’m still hoping I can.

What did you have to do to make it livable?
Create a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and dining area. Most of the stuff that’s in the space now was originally for sale. The glass counter with all the bone china—that was a display cabinet for my store. I did have to bring in the claw-foot tub.

Have you slept here?
Yes. I lived here last December. The great thing is the light that comes in the front; it’s unusual to have a wall of windows.

Any drawbacks to living in a storefront?
Saturday afternoons: People will be strolling down to the park and won’t quite understand that it’s not a store anymore. They’re always trying to open the door.

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