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She lived mostly in a succession of shared Brooklyn rentals until she took the one-bedroom, paying $1,140 a month.
Though her Brooklyn apartment was charming and homey, “I was kind of fooling myself about how great the neighborhood was,” she said. She lived on a main drag, Washington Avenue, which was “loud and dirty, and there is not a lot in the way of restaurants and shops.”
“I didn’t realize how much I would hole up in my apartment because there was nothing really to pull me out of it,” she said.
The two met at work, though it took them a while to realize how much they liked each other. (Ms. Reimer is currently doing freelance writing while hunting for an editorial job.)
Mr. Basner spent most weekends at her place, feeling marooned and unsettled. It was “too far away from everything for me,” he said. “Courtney likes hitting the snooze button” before coffee and the newspaper, whereas “the second the alarm rings, I am up and ready to go. I got anxious and antsy and wouldn’t want to rush her.”
He hoped to pay $2,800 or less for a one-bedroom in Chelsea, a neighborhood he knew and liked, while she wished to pay no more than $2,500 somewhere in Brooklyn.
He was diligent about arranging to see open houses. It fell to Ms. Reimer to make the case for Brooklyn, but she dragged her feet about hunting there. “He had more criteria that needed to be met,” she said. “I would go along with almost anything.” When she did find an interesting Brooklyn listing, she asked his opinion, but “he vetoed everything.”
Last winter they saw a Chelsea duplex, on the corner of 23rd Street and 10th Avenue, with a low-ceilinged loft area, for around $2,300. They liked it enough to talk about it, but not to actually do anything.
At the Milan condominium on West 23rd Street, a one-bedroom rented for around $2,500, but they both had problems with it. Ms. Reimer preferred a prewar building. Mr. Basner felt the Milan lacked character. “We didn’t need a doorman; we didn’t need stunning brand-new appliances,” he said.
Nearby, in a walk-up brownstone, a top-floor duplex for $2,600 was nice, but the spiral staircase was frightening. “I thought of myself in the middle of the night,” Mr. Basner said.
On Sundays, he liked to return early to his home to get organized, shop for groceries and call friends. One Sunday in March, Ms. Reimer’s plans for the afternoon fell through, and they had a spat about his departure time. “She got really upset that I didn’t want to hang out with her,” Mr. Basner said. “I explained that when her home was my home, it would be different.”
That was their catalyst. They became serious about actually finding a place. Feeling Chelsea had few viable possibilities, Mr. Basner turned to Brooklyn.
They noticed a Brooklyn Heights listing that mentioned a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to live in a mansion. In a picture of a bedroom, scaffolding was on the window. They arranged to visit, knowing the place was on the corner of Pierrepont and Henry Streets.
Finding the intersection on Google Street View, Mr. Basner saw scaffolding on a midrise brick building — the wrong building, it turned out, and not a mansion at all. But, on the opposite corner, there it was in full glory, photographed before any scaffolding had gone up. The building is the Herman Behr Mansion, circa 1889. It now has around two dozen rental apartments.
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Over the telephone, they together navigated the neighborhood via Google Street View. It seemed wonderfully livable to both.
Ms. Reimer fell in love with the lending library in the lobby. Despite the scaffolding, the top-floor one-bedroom was sunny, with “a view that rivals that of some high-rises,” Mr. Basner said.
The departing couple, who had paid $2,400, were downsizing because of a job loss. Mr. Basner asked about the noise situation and was told it wasn’t bad.
Another interested apartment hunter was planning to return the next day with her husband. Mr. Basner and Ms. Reimer, afraid to wait, rented the apartment for $2,200 a month.
Ms. Reimer moved in in mid-April, a few days before Mr. Basner. After her first night, she told him that it wasn’t so quiet. “That made my heart sink,” he said.
Even though “it is a quiet neighborhood in that you don’t hear people driving by with booming bass in their car,” Ms. Reimer said, street noise seems to travel. Neighbors hold rooftop parties, so there’s talk and laughter at night. Chilly weather meant clanging pipes at 6 a.m. A white-noise machine and earplugs are necessary. But Ms. Reimer, who works from home, tolerates rooftop construction during the day.
The mansion’s beauty is currently hidden, though they know what they’ve seen in pictures. “I take it on faith it looks like that,” Ms. Reimer said.
The two have no more spats, and they can now keep their own schedules. Ms. Reimer is decorating. As far as “things like where the table should go, I really don’t care about any of that,” Mr. Basner said. “I just care about the application. I just want something to hold my food. Courtney is hemming and hawing about what to hang up, and I just want something to cover the wall. It works out great.”
The best part, he said, is that “I get to come home to her rather than having to wait a few days to see her.”
A version of this article appears in print on , on Page RE6 of the New York edition with the headline: A Place They Both Call Home. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe
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